EPA Announces City of Springfield, Missouri, Selected for Brownfields Job Training Grant
LENEXA, KAN. (FEB. 2, 2022) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing that the city of Springfield, Missouri, has been selected to receive a grant for a Brownfields job training program, one of 19 organizations across the country to be chosen.
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.
“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.”
The city of Springfield plans to train 56 students and place at least 35 in environmental jobs. The training program includes 160 hours of instruction in 40-hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER); OSHA 10; Trenching/Excavation; Confined Space Entry; Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting; Lead Abatement Worker Certification; Asbestos Worker/Handler; Mold Abatement; Flagger; Bloodborne Pathogens; Forklift Driver; First Aid/CPR; and Silica.
“EPA and the city of Springfield are investing in people and that always pays off,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meghan A. McCollister. “The graduates of the Springfield job training program will be prepared for high-paying, hazardous waste cleanup jobs, like lead-based paint in houses, asbestos and others.”
“We are incredibly honored and grateful to accept this fourth round of grant funding from the EPA to continue our Green for Greene environmental job training program,” said Sally Payne, Springfield director of workforce development. “We know this training is life-changing for the graduates of this program, as it allows them a way to acquire skills and obtain gainful employment. Many thanks to the EPA for selecting the city of Springfield Department of Workforce Development as the recipient of this grant.”
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.
Each selected grantee will be receiving approximately $200,000.
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
- 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 Feb. 9, 2022, 12:30 to 2 p.m. EST. Go to this Zoom link.
Since it began in 1998, the Brownfields Job Training Program has awarded over 352 grants. More than 19,456 individuals have completed training, and of those, over 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 EPA’s website.
Learn more about this and other types of Brownfields grants.
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