Biden-Harris Administration Announces $1.5M from EPA’s Brownfields Grants to Train Missouri Environmental Workers
EPA selects three Missouri organizations to receive first Brownfields Job Training grants funded by Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, boosting workforce training in underserved, overburdened communities
LENEXA, KAN. (DEC. 14, 2022) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a total of $1.5 million in grants funded through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for environmental job training programs in Missouri.
These grants through EPA’s Brownfields Job Training Program will recruit, train, and place workers for community revitalization and cleanup projects at brownfield sites. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, total funding for the program has more than tripled for fiscal year 2023, ensuring stronger environmental benefits and more economic opportunities in overburdened and underserved areas.
“President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is supercharging EPA’s Brownfields Program, which is transforming blighted sites, protecting public health, and creating economic opportunities in more overburdened communities than ever before,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe. “The investments announced today will not only support the cleanup of some of our nation’s most polluted areas, but they will also equip a new generation of workers to take on the significant environmental challenges that plague overburdened neighborhoods, and jump-start sustainable, long-term careers in the communities that need these jobs the most.”
“With these Brownfields Job Training grants, three Missouri organizations plan to train a total of 260 students and place over 170 deserving individuals in environmental jobs,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “Missourians across the state will feel the economic and community benefits of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law through the opportunities this funding will create.”
The selected Missouri organizations are: Full Employment Council Inc. of Kansas City, Missouri; City of Springfield, Missouri; and St. Louis Community College, which serves the area that includes St. Louis city, St. Louis County, and portions of East St. Louis, Illinois. Each organization was selected to receive a $500,000 job training grant.
These grants will be used to provide environmental health and safety training and certification to hundreds of students, including underemployed and unemployed community members, veterans, and people with justice system involvement. In total, the organizations plan to place at least 171 individuals in environmental jobs after training completion.
“We are incredibly grateful to receive this $500,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to continue and expand our Green for Greene environmental job training program,” said Maurice Jones, deputy city manager of the City of Springfield, Missouri. “Nationally as well as regionally, demand for a skilled workforce has risen. This program provides participants the opportunity to become a part of the growing supply of skilled workers, a supply that has not grown fast enough in recent years to keep pace with labor market demand. We are excited about our continued partnership with the EPA and look forward to working together to build a skilled workforce for our region.”
“The Full Employment Council is extremely pleased to receive this $500,000 grant award from the Environmental Protection Agency,” said Clyde McQueen, president and CEO of the Full Employment Council Inc. in Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO). “This success results from a long-term, system-based partnership with the Kansas City Brownfields Initiative, City of KCMO Public Works Department, and numerous environmental contractors within the KCMO region. Further, this effort will improve urban core neighborhoods negatively impacted by contamination, blight, and pollution from decades of environmental abuse.”
“We are thrilled to expand our long-standing partnership with the EPA through the Brownfields Job Training Grant,” said Phyllis Ellison, associate vice chancellor, St. Louis Community College Workforce Solutions Group. “We are proud to provide such critical environmental education, training, and job placement opportunities for area residents, while also supporting the EPA’s mission of protecting the overall health of the community and the environment.”
President Biden’s leadership and bipartisan Congressional action have delivered the single largest investment in U.S. brownfields infrastructure ever through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which invests more than $1.5 billion over five years through EPA’s highly successful Brownfields Program. This historic investment enables EPA to fund more communities, states, and tribes, and provides the opportunity for grantees to build and enhance the environmental curriculum in job training programs that support job creation and community revitalization.
The Brownfields Jobs Training Program also advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40% of the benefits of certain government programs to disadvantaged communities. Based on data from the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool, approximately 97% of the communities selected to receive funding as part of today’s announcement have proposed projects in historically underserved areas.
Individuals completing a job training program funded by EPA often overcome a variety of barriers to employment. Many trainees are from historically underserved neighborhoods or reside in areas that are overburdened by pollution.
Graduates of Brownfields Job Training programs learn valuable, sought-after skills and have the opportunity to earn a variety of certifications, ensuring that employment opportunities result not just in temporary contractual work, but in long-term environmental careers. This includes certifications in:
- Lead and asbestos abatement
- Hazardous waste operations and emergency response
- Mold remediation
- Environmental sampling and analysis
- Other environmental health and safety training
Brownfields Job Training (JT) grants allow nonprofits, local governments, and other organizations to recruit, train, and place unemployed and underemployed residents of areas affected by the presence of brownfield sites. Through the JT Program, graduates develop the skills needed to secure full-time, sustainable employment in various aspects of hazardous and solid waste management and within the larger environmental field, including sustainable cleanup and reuse, and chemical safety. These green jobs reduce environmental contamination and build more sustainable futures for communities.
Since 1998, EPA has awarded 371 Brownfields Job Training grants. With these grants, over 20,341 individuals have completed trainings and over 15,168 individuals have been placed in careers related to land remediation and environmental health and safety.
For more information on the selected Brownfields Job Training grant recipients, including past grant recipients, please visit the Brownfields Grant Fact Sheet Search page.
For more information on this and other types of Brownfields Program grants, please visit the Brownfields Job Training Grants page.
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