EPA Announces St. Louis Community College Selected for Brownfields Job Training Grant
LENEXA, KAN. (FEB. 2, 2022) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing that St. Louis Community College (STLCC) in St. Louis 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.”
STLCC plans to train 48 students and place at least 35 in environmental jobs. The training program includes 178 hours of instruction in 40-hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER); Introduction to Environmental Technology (including waste management); OSHA Construction Safety; OSHA 7300 Permit Required Confined Space; DoT HAZMAT; and CDL-B Driver Training. Students who complete the training will earn up to two state and four federal certifications.
“With 178 hours of instructions, the St. Louis Community College’s graduates will be well-prepared to obtain high-paying hazardous waste cleanup jobs,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meghan A. McCollister. “They are helping to build a brighter future both for the graduates and for the greater St. Louis area.”
“St. Louis Community College is excited to be awarded the EPA Brownfields Job Training grant,” said Rene Dulle, STLCC senior program manager, environmental and transportation programs. “STLCC will provide 48 eligible students with an opportunity to earn industry-recognized certifications through OSHA, as well as a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL-B). These certifications lead to jobs clearing sites known as brownfields, having the potential presence of a hazardous contaminant or pollution associated with them. Not only do these jobs pay sustainable wages and have opportunities for advancement, but they can be the spark for other benefits to the St. Louis community, including healthier places to live and increased economic development.”
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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