EPA Awards Brownfields Job Training Grants to organizations in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Wilmington
PHILADELPHIA (March 18, 2021) – As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advancing economic opportunities and environmental justice in underserved communities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) Grants to three organizations in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
The Energy Coordinating Agency of Philadelphia, the Pittsburgh Conservation Corps (Landforce) and the West End Neighborhood House of Wilmington, Delaware, will receive federal funding to provide residents of communities affected by pollution, disinvestment, and brownfields, the necessary skills and certifications to find employment in the green economy.
“The Brownfields Job Training program advances environmental justice by providing an opportunity for residents historically impacted by brownfield sites to gain training and employment,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Acting Regional Administrator Diana Esher. “Instead of hiring professionals from outside areas, these grants provide opportunities for local, unemployed and underemployed residents to gain sustainable careers that make a visible impact in cleaning up their communities.”
Individuals completing a job training program funded by EPA 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
Since 1998, the agency’s EWDJT program has awarded more than 335 grants. With these grants, more than 18,500 individuals have been trained and almost 14,000 have been placed in careers related to land remediation and environmental health and safety, with an average hourly wage of more than $14.
The three organizations receiving EWDJT grants in the Mid-Atlantic Region are:
Energy Coordinating Agency, Philadelphia, PA
Estimated Award: $182,900
Anticipated Trained/Graduated: 54
Founded in 1984, the Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA) creates lasting solutions to the energy problems of low-income Philadelphians. ECA coordinates low income energy services, and administers high quality conservation, education, heating and home repair services to reduce households’ energy costs and stabilize families in their communities. ECA has established a resilient network of what is now 15 Neighborhood Energy Centers, each of which serves as a one-stop-shop for low-income energy services, including weatherization, heating system repair and replacement, home repair, bill payment assistance, budget counseling and energy education.
ECA’s training facility has been renovated to the LEED Gold standard, embodying many of the energy efficiency and sustainability technologies that are taught there. ECA’s Knight Green Jobs Training Center provides professional training that leads to stackable, portable credentials in a wide variety of subjects. In the past nine years, ECA has trained over 5,000 entry level students, returning citizens and professional contractors in building science, safety and energy efficiency. Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA) was previously awarded EPA EWDJT grants in 2014 and 2016, during which 100 participants completed training.
Landforce (Pittsburgh Conservation Corps) Pittsburgh, PA
Estimated Award: $199,642
Anticipated Trained/Graduated: 38
Landforce was established in 2015 in response to an analysis that highlighted deep inequity in employment, income and environmental conditions throughout Pittsburgh and its immediate neighbors. Landforce is an organization built out of a collaborative effort on behalf of 6 nonprofits to address local workforce readiness and environmental stewardship needs.
Landforce will hire and train people with barriers to employment, using a rigorously designed curriculum which covers both hard and soft skills, combined with actual employment, stewarding Pittsburgh's degraded lands Courses include: Tools and Safety, First Aid/CPR, 40-hour HAZWOPER, Chain Saw, Environmental Stewardship, Tree Tender and Green Stormwater Infrastructure.
Estimated Award: $200,000
Anticipated Trained/Graduated: 58
West End Neighborhood House, Inc. was selected for Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training grants in 2015 and 2018. With their most recent grant, West End Neighborhood House, Inc. has trained 55 students and placed at least 45 graduates in environmental jobs.
The core training program includes 123 hours of instruction. This includes a 40-hour HAZWOPER, OSHA general industry and forklift operator training; and training in EPA lead renovation, repair, and paint, as well as instruction in asbestos work, mold and microbial work, OSHA confined space entry and soil sampling.
Participants who completed the training earned five federal certifications and two state certifications. West End Neighborhood House, Inc. is targeting residents of communities that have historically been affected by pollution, disinvestment, and solid or hazardous waste in Wilmington, Delaware.
West End also provides the surrounding community with a food pantry, financial counseling, youth programs, and much more. Each year thousands of Delaware residents benefit from the various assistance West End offers.
For more information about EPA’s Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) Grants https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/environmental-workforce-development-and-job-training-ewdjt-grants
EPA Mid-Atlantic Region’s mission is to protect human health and the environment for Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and seven federally recognized tribes. Meeting the diverse environmental challenges of a Region with the nation’s largest estuary, rural expanses and major cities and agricultural centers, EPA Mid-Atlantic’s successes are shouldered by the dedication and talents of its employees and the strong relationships it has fostered with partners in its states and communities.