EPA Announces $3.8 Million in Grants to Train Environmental Workers for Jobs Created by Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding, including One Grant Benefitting Puerto Rico Communities
EPA selects 19 organizations to receive Brownfields Job Training Grants to boost workforce training in underserved, overburdened communities
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the selection of 19 organizations to receive a total of $3,797,102 in grants for job training programs across the country, including one New York-based organization that will train students in Puerto Rico. Job training and workforce development are an important part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance economic opportunities and deliver environmental justice to underserved communities to build a better America. Each selected grantee will be receiving approximately $200,000.
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a better America and that means new, good-paying jobs. The Brownfields Job Training grants announced today will prepare over 1,000 individuals for new environmental jobs like those,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “This program will directly impact people’s lives, boosting the environmental workforce while helping to transform communities that need it the most.”
Funded through the Agency’s Brownfields Job Training Program, these grants provide funding to organizations that are working to create a skilled workforce in communities where assessment, cleanup, and preparation of brownfield sites for reuse activities are taking place. Individuals completing a job training program funded by EPA often overcome a variety of barriers to employment. Many of these individuals are from historically underserved neighborhoods and reside in the areas affected by environmental justice issues.
The PathStone Corporation of Rochester, N.Y. plans to train 60 students in Puerto Rico and place at least 41 in environmental jobs. The training program includes 214 hours of instruction, including federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration courses, pesticide worker safety protection training, and asbestos, lead and mold abatement programs. PathStone Corporation is targeting unemployed and underemployed students throughout nine rural municipalities in Puerto Rico. Key partners include Corporacion del Proyecto ENLACE del Caño Martin Peña, Center for Creative Land Recycling, VACU-TOUR, Mercado Familiar, SHRM PR Chapter, Citizen Services Fair, Comité de Patronos, Junta Local Desarrollo, Toledo Engineering LLC, BLDM LLC, WRN Construction Inc., Industrial Central Services, Senadora Distrito de Arecibo, Oficina del Alcalde, Ciudad Autónoma Toa Alta, Junta Local de Desarrollo Laboral, Departamento de Desarrollo Económico y Comercio, Municipality of Cataño, The Área Local Desarrollo Laboral Manatí Dorado/American Job Center, the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies, and New Robles Driving School.
PathStone Program Administrator Mileidy Soto said: “PathStone is pleased to have been given the opportunity to continue serving residents in environmental justice communities obtain employment. With this new opportunity we will impact the municipalities of Morovis, Vega Baja, Vega Alta, Toa Baja, Toa Alta, Dorado, Cataño, Bayamón, and Naranjito with training and employment services guiding them towards environmental careers.”
Rather than filling local jobs with contractors from distant cities, these organizations provide training and offer residents of communities historically affected by environmental pollution, economic disinvestment, and brownfields an opportunity to gain the skills and certifications needed to secure local environmental work in their communities. Individuals typically graduate with a variety of certifications that improve their marketability and help ensure that employment opportunities are not just temporary contractual work, but long-term 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.
President Biden’s leadership and bipartisan congressional action have delivered the single-largest investment in national brownfields infrastructure ever. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) invests more than $1.5 billion through EPA’s brownfields program. Of that investment, $30 million will be invested into future Brownfields Job Training grants. During the next five years, communities, states, and tribes will have the opportunity to apply for larger grants to include and enhance the environmental curriculum in existing job training programs. This investment will help trained individuals access jobs created through brownfields revitalization activities within their communities. EPA anticipates awarding as many as 50 additional grants to job training entities with BIL funding, beginning in fiscal year 2023. Application guidelines will be available in Spring/Summer 2022.
EPA is also planning a listening session to receive feedback from current and potential grant applicants regarding the BIL and the future of the Brownfields Job Training Grant Program. The listening session is scheduled for February 9, 2022, 12:30-2pm EST. https://usepa.zoomgov.com/j/1604678094
Since this program began in 1998, the Brownfields Job Training Program has awarded more than 352 grants. More than 19,456 individuals have completed training, and of those, more than 14,560 individuals have been placed in full-time employment in careers related to remediation and environmental health and safety. The average starting wage for these individuals is over $14 an hour.
For more information on the selected Brownfields Job Training grant recipients, including past grantees, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy22-brownfields-job-training-grants
For more information on this, and other types of Brownfields grants, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-job-training-jt-grants