Contact Us


All News Releases By Date


EPA Announces Job Training Grant to Groundwork Providence, RI

Release Date: 03/31/04
Contact Information: Contact: Alice Kaufman, EPA Community Involvement Office, (617) 918-1064

For Immediate Release: March 31, 2004; Release # 04-03-10

PAWTUCKET, RI - Groundwork Providence is one of three New England organizations that was awarded an EPA Brownfields Job Training grant today. EPA Deputy Regional Administrator Ira Leighton announced the $150,000 grant for the Providence-based nonprofit group while visiting Pawtucket, where 75 Pawtucket residents will be trained on environmental cleanup skills such as lead and asbestos abatement.

Pawtucket is one of 16 communities across the country that will receive grants ranging from $40,000 to $200,000. Groundwork Providence received a similar $200,000 grant from EPA in April 2002 that was used to train 90 Providence residents environmental remediation skills. Two-thirds of the students who graduated from the program are currently employed.

"These grants train people for real jobs, jobs that help restore neighborhoods, protect public health and build strong communities," Leighton said, speaking at the Woodlawn Community Center in Pawtucket.

"The Brownfields Job Training Program is a great economic development tool for Rhode Island''s urban areas," said Sally Turner, executive director of Groundwork Providence. It's given Providence residents and Pawtucket residents the opportunity to improve their own lives while improving the conditions of the land and buildings around them."

Groundwork Providence will teach environmental-cleanup job skills to 75 participants and assist in finding professional placement for its graduates. The 154-hour training program will consist of hazardous waste and safety training, lead and asbestos abatement, confined space entry, and environmental chemistry. Students will be recruited from the four Enterprise Communities in the city of Pawtucket. Placement in environmental jobs will be facilitated by Groundwork Providence's existing links with placement companies and environmental employers.

Leighton also congratulated Groundwork Providence for being selected to receive the President's Environmental Youth Award for their e-Team program. Through the e-Team, high school students in Providence learn to be stewards of their community by teaching neighbors about local environmental issues and being role models for elementary and middle school aged children and youth. Two participating students will go to Washington DC on Earth Day with Groundwork's Board President Peter Walsh to receive the award.

Nationally, the Brownfields Job Training Grants will train 1,080 individuals living in low-income areas near Brownfields sites in 16 communities. To date, more than 60 percent of people completing Brownfields training programs have obtained employment in the environmental field with an average hourly wage of $12.84.

A total of $2.4 million will be awarded to 16 communities in 13 states (Wisconsin, Washington, Illinois, Alabama, Ohio, Alaska, Hawaii, Rhode Island, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Missouri), to provide environmental job training at Brownfields sites.

Today's announcement brings to 82 the number of grants awarded since the job training program started in 1998. Sixty-six pilots totaling $13.6 million are underway or complete; more than 1,800 participants have completed training; and more than 1,100 people have obtained employment in the environmental field. Applicants for the job training program must be located in or near a community that currently receives, or has received, financial assistance from EPA for Brownfields-related activities.

In January 2002, President Bush signed into law the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, which authorizes up to $250 million per year for Brownfields grants, including up to $50 million for the assessment and cleanup of low-risk petroleum contaminated sites. This legislation allows EPA to provide training to expedite assessment, cleanup and preparation of Brownfields sites.

Brownfields are properties, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Brownfields revitalization provides communities with the tools to reduce environmental and health risks, reuse abandoned properties, take advantage of existing infrastructure, create a stronger local tax base, attract new businesses and jobs, create new recreational areas, and reduce the pressure to develop open spaces.

Since 1994, EPA New England has provided more than $75 million in all types of Brownfields grants to states, local governments and non-profit organizations under the Brownfields law. Rhode Island alone has received nearly $9 million of Brownfields funding from EPA, including today's award. The Brownfields Program has also leveraged more than $5 billion in funds from less than $800 million in increased value from redeveloped property. Every acre of reclaimed Brownfields saves 4.5 acres of greenspace such as park and recreation areas.

More information on New England's Brownfields programs, please visit the following website

Related Information:
Job Training Grant Program
Brownfields in New England