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U.S. EPA Selects East Bay Group for Environmental Job Training Grant

Contact Information: 
Michele Huitric (

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that RichmondBuild, in Richmond, Calif., will receive a $200,000 Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) grant to help low-income residents learn the skills needed to secure employment in the environmental field. In total, 14 organizations were selected nationally to receive approximately $2.7 million in funding.

“Brownfields job training programs are a win-win for communities impacted by hazardous waste sites,” said U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “These job training programs can touch and change lives by providing valuable and marketable skills that also help protect our environment.”

EWDJT grants help prepare people for green jobs that reduce environmental contamination and provide more sustainable futures for the communities most affected by solid and hazardous waste contamination. RichmondBuild has received $1.2 million in EPA job training assistance since EPA’s program began in 1998.

With this year’s funds, the City of Richmond plans to train 51 students and place at least 45 graduates in environmental jobs. The core training program includes 286 hours of instruction in topics such as hazardous waste operations, emergency response, asbestos and lead abatement, construction and refinery safety, and solar technology. Employment opportunities for program graduates will include solar installation on a former brownfield site, lead abatement on local residences, and cleanup of the former Navy fuel depot at Point Molate.

“We are thrilled and honored to continue our very productive and impactful partnership with EPA’s Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training program,” said Sal Vaca, director of Richmond’s Employment and Training Department. “This grant will allow us to expand our work in developing a skilled and prepared workforce and to ensure that industry employers have access to the talent they need to compete and thrive.”

For over two decades, EPA’s EWDJT program has helped put people to work by building a skilled workforce across the country. The program awards competitive grants to nonprofit organizations and other eligible entities to recruit, train and place unemployed and underemployed individuals.  Individuals completing the training have often overcome a variety of barriers to employment. Many are from low-income neighborhoods. The training programs also serve dislocated workers who have lost their jobs as a result of manufacturing plant closures, minorities, tribal members, transitioning veterans, ex-offenders and other individuals who may have faced barriers to employment. 

Since 1998, when the EWDJT grant program started, more than 274 grants have been awarded exceeding $57 million. Approximately 16,300 individuals have completed training, and of those, more than 11,900 individuals have been placed in full-time employment earning an average starting wage of over $14 an hour. This equates to a cumulative job placement rate of 73 percent of graduates. 

There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites in America. Since the beginning of EPA’s Brownfields Program, investments have leveraged more than $22 billion from a variety of public and private sources for cleanup and redevelopment activities. This has resulted in approximately 117,525 jobs nationwide. On average, $16.11 was leveraged for each EPA Brownfields dollar and 8.5 jobs leveraged per $100,000 of EPA brownfields funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements. When brownfields are addressed, nearby property values within a one-mile radius can increase 5 to 15.2% percent according to an independent study.

For more information on EWDJT grantees, including past EWDJT grantees, please visit:    

For more information on EPA’s EWDJT program, please visit: