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EPA awards $200,000 for job-training program at Fort Lyon campus in Bent County, Colo.

Grant among $5.1 million to help transform communities across the nation

10/24/2019
Contact Information: 
Richard Mylott (mylott.richard@epa.gov)
303-312-6654

DENVER –The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) will receive a $200,000 grant to deliver an environmental job-training program at the Fort Lyon campus in Bent County, Colorado.

DOLA is among 26 grantees receiving more than $5.1 million in grants funded through the agency’s Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) program to create a skilled workforce in communities where EPA brownfields assessment and cleanup activities are taking place. Organizations will each receive up to $200,000 to support programs to help individuals develop specific skills and certifications needed to secure employment in the environmental field. These grants help prepare people for green jobs that improve the environment and provide more sustainable futures for the communities most affected by solid and hazardous waste contamination.

DOLA will use the EPA funds to develop a job-training program at Fort Lyon, a state-owned campus located in Bent County which hosts the Fort Lyon Supportive Residential Community (SRC). The SRC is a recovery-oriented transitional housing program designed at helping those who are experiencing or at-risk of homelessness and struggling with substance use disorder achieve stability through peer-driven programming and vocational/educational training.

The Fort Lyon job-training program will develop various environmental skills and certifications, including the areas of asbestos handling, wastewater management, and hazardous waste transportation, for up to 70 participants who will look to secure full-time environmental employment.

“EPA’s Job Training Program has helped to transform communities that need it the most. By investing in a local workforce to conduct environmental cleanup activities, we can help revitalize traditionally low-income neighborhoods,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Seventy five percent of those trained under our program have gone on to find full time jobs with good wages. I am proud to announce that EPA is building on these successes by providing additional grants to help lift communities out of poverty, employ returning veterans, and build a skilled environmental workforce for the future.”

“EPA’s Brownfields programs are making long-term investments in the health of local economies and the environment,” said EPA Regional Administrator Gregory Sopkin. “This grant will build upon previous EPA support for cleanup and property reuse at the Fort Lyon campus by providing dozens of residents with opportunities to earn employment in the environmental field. We look forward to seeing these future graduates thrive and contribute to the health and vitality of communities in Bent County and throughout the state.” 

Today’s EPA job-training grant builds upon previous EPA Brownfields grants that have led to the cleanup and reuse of several buildings at the Fort Lyon campus. In 2016, Targeted Brownfields Assessments (TBAs) resulted in 25 phase II environmental site assessments and cleanup plans. In 2016 and 2017 DOLA received EPA cleanup grants totaling close to $400,000 to abate asbestos in eight of their campus buildings. Additionally, EPA is currently working with DOLA on additional TBAs for campus buildings still needing assessment and future cleanup.

Background

EPA’s Job Training Program awards competitive grants to nonprofit organizations and other eligible entities to recruit, train, and place unemployed and underemployed individuals. Individuals completing these training programs have often overcome a variety of barriers to employment. Many are from low-income neighborhoods. The training programs also serves minorities, tribal members, transitioning veterans, dislocated workers who have lost their jobs as a result of manufacturing plant closures, and other individuals who may face barriers to employment.

Of the programs selected for funding this year, 31% plan to serve residents of communities experiencing persistent poverty and nearly 70% plan to serve veterans. All 26 selected programs plan to serve communities with census tracts designated as federal Opportunity Zones – an economically-distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.

Since this program began in 1998, more than 288 grants have been awarded. More than 18,000 individuals have completed training, and of those, more than 13,679 individuals have been placed in full-time employment earning an average starting wage of over $14 an hour. Rather than filling local jobs with contractors from distant cities, EPA created its environmental job training program to 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. 

For more information on the job training grantees, including past grantees, please visit: https://cfpub.epa.gov/bf_factsheets/index.cfm?grant_type_id=1003&grant_announcement_year=2018

For more information on this, and other types of Brownfields grants, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding