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EPA Awards Earth Conservancy in Ashley, Pa Environmental Workforce and Development Job Training Funding

05/16/2017
Contact Information: 
Joan Schafer (schafer.joan@epa.gov)
215-814-5143

PHILADELPHIA (May 16, 2017) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that Earth Conservancy, a non-profit organization located in the Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, and Hazleton metro areas, will receive funding to implement an environmental job training program for local unemployed residents. 

The $200,000 grant is funded through the EPA’s Environmental Workforce and Development Job Training (EWDJT) program, which assists local unemployed individuals to get the appropriate training needed to seek green jobs in areas historically impacted by hazardous waste.

In particular, Earth Conservancy plans to graduate 40 students and place 35 in environmentally related surveying jobs. The curriculum will consist of 218 hours of training in areas such as terrestrial land scanning, construction safety, and land surveying techniques.  Earth Conservancy will focus on training veterans in these green jobs.

“Brownfields job training programs are a win-win for communities impacted by hazardous waste sites,” said U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.  “These job training programs can touch and change lives by providing them sustainable careers with livable wages and opportunities for economic advancement.”

"This grant will allow residents of the 11th District [of Pennsylvania], including our veterans, to obtain the skills necessary to fill good-paying jobs," U.S. Representative Lou Barletta said. "What better way to prepare our workers than to train them to reclaim abandoned mine lands, improve our environment, and strengthen our local economy.”

Earth Conservancy will work with the following key partners in its job training effort: Pennsylvania State University–Wilkes‐Barre, Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce Investment Board, Lackawanna County and Pocono County Workforce Development Boards, Northern Tier Regional Planning Development Commission, Employment Opportunity Training Center, Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, and Penn Eastern Engineers LLC.

“We believe by equipping students with the skills and technical knowledge required to address these brownfields, they will become attractive applicants to employers not only to those looking to redevelop former mine sites or vacant properties in town, but also to those in many other environmental and construction-oriented fields,” stated Mike Dziak, President/CEO of Earth Conservancy.  “It’s a great opportunity, all around.  For displaced workers, especially veterans, it offers a new pathway to help secure meaningful employment.  For Earth Conservancy, it’s a new way for us to support revitalization in the region, one with extremely positive environmental and economic effects.

Earth Conservancy was one of 14 organizations to receive $2.7 million of EPA EWDJT funding.  The EWDJT program was started in 1998, providing more than 274 grants totaling $57 million, and training more than 16,300 people. Over 73 percent of graduates find jobs after completing the program and earn a wage of over $14 an hour.

For over two decades, EPA’s EWDJT program has helped put people to work by building a skilled workforce across the country.  The program awards competitive grants to nonprofit organizations and other eligible entities to recruit, train and place unemployed and underemployed individuals.  Individuals completing the training have often overcome a variety of barriers to employment.  Many are from low-income neighborhoods.  The training programs also serve dislocated workers who have lost their jobs as a result of manufacturing plant closures, minorities, tribal members, transitioning veterans, ex-offenders and other individuals who may have faced barriers to employment. 

For more information on EWDJT grantees, including past EWDJT grantees, please visit: https://cfpub.epa.gov/bf_factsheets/.

For more information on EPA’s EWDJT program, please visit:  https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/environmental-workforce-development-and-job-training-grants.