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EPA Announces Major Job Training Grant

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

For Immediate Release: March 31, 2004; Release # 04-03-11

BOSTON - The Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board is one of three New England organizations that was awarded an EPA Brownfields Job Training grant today. Susan Studlien, EPA's Director of the Office of Site Remediation and Restoration announced the $197,035 grant while visiting Lawrence, where 40 residents will be trained on environmental cleanup skills such as lead and asbestos abatement, and hazardous waste health and safety training.

Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board is one of 16 grantees across the country that will receive grants ranging from $40,000 to $200,000. Students will complete a 168-hour training program. Ten students will be eligible for additional training in environmental sampling. Students will be recruited from the Renewal Community of Lawrence. Valleyworks Career Center and an employer advisory committee will help place graduates in environmental jobs.

"Graduates of this program will have employment opportunities in careers that help restore neighborhoods, protect public health and build strong communities," said Studlien.
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. Massachusetts has received a total of $31 million in Brownfields funding to date. The Brownfields program has leveraged more than $5 billion in public and private investment resulting from EPA's investment of less than $800 million. 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