Biden-Harris Administration Announces $500,000 for Job Training in Puerto Rico
PathStone Corporation among 29 nationwide to receive first Brownfields Job Training grants funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
San Juan, Puerto Rico - PathStone Corporation is one of among 29 organizations receiving $14.3 million across the country through EPA’s Brownfields Job Training Program to recruit, train and place workers for community revitalization and cleanup projects at brownfield sites. The organizations will get a $500,000 grant for job training funded through President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This funding triples the amount normally granted by EPA for Brownfields job training, 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 jumpstart sustainable, long-term careers in the communities that need these jobs the most.”
“With this unprecedented amount of funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we can provide people the tools and skills they need to find long-term employment,” said EPA Region 2 Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “This funding will provide under- and unemployed people in Puerto Rico critical training so they can reimagine and revitalize their neighborhoods and bring environmental justice to their communities, which have been so often overlooked.”
PathStone Corporation, a Rochester, New York-based organization, will use the funding to train up to 120 students in Puerto Rico and place at least 80 in environmental jobs. The program will target students from the rural municipalities of Caguas, Guaynabo, Humacao, Juncos, and Las Piedras and the City of San Juan. The training program includes 334 hours of instruction in 40-Hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) training, Pesticide Safety Worker Protection Standard, AED and CPR Training, among many others. Students who complete the training will earn up to nine state and one federal certification. This is PathStone Corporation’s fifth grant under the EPA Brownfields Job Program, totaling over $1.2 million in funding.
"The mission of building family and self-sufficiency can only be achieved by empowering individuals to make a change in their lives,” said Brenda Lee Soto Colón, senior vice president of Direct Services at PathStone Corporation. “Having the opportunity to continue our partnership with EPA in order to provide training and employment opportunities in the environmental industry is key to the change we want to see in the lives of those we serve. Our goal is to assist participants with improving their education and employability skills. We are appreciative of this new opportunity."
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 Job Training Program also advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40 percent of the benefits of certain government programs to disadvantaged communities. Based on data from the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool, approximately 97 percent 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 the 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 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, and
- 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 under-employed 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, the EPA has awarded 371 Brownfields Job Training grants. With these grants, more than 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
For more information on this, and other types of Brownfields Program grants, please visit the Brownfields Job Training Grants webpage.
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