EPA Selects Auberle to receive $199,327 in Brownfields Job Training Grants to Build Skilled Environmental Workforce
PHILADELPHIA (Feb. 8, 2020) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is announcing the selection of Auberle of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, as one of 19 organizations to receive approximately $200,000 in grants for job training programs across the country. Job training and workforce development are an important part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance economic opportunities and address environmental justice issues in 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 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.”
Auberle has had two previous Job Training grants (FY16 and FY20) from which, 62 participants complete training and 52 of those participants placed in employment. With this new grant, Auberle’s goals are to enroll 50 students have 45 graduates, and place 37 in employment, with three graduates expected to pursue further education.
This training will assure individuals are job-ready by providing field trips, access to over 40 supportive services, career counseling, case management, and educational support. The program will continue to restore brownfield and Superfund sites in Allegheny County by increasing the number of skilled workers to address issues and meet expected job growth demand in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Auberle’s program will provide graduates with the tools and techniques to be assets to companies to not only restore brownfields, but also prevent further contamination from existing industry in Pennsylvania.
“The Brownfields Job Training program advances EPA’s focus on environmental justice efforts by providing funding for curriculum development to train local unemployed and under-employed people,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “These Brownfields job training opportunities enable companies like Auberle to take advantage of the jobs created by the assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites in their own communities, by filling local environmental jobs with local people.”
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 under-served neighborhoods and reside in the areas affected by environmental justice issues.
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:
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 February 9, 2022, 12:30-2pm EST. https://usepa.zoomgov.com/j/1604678094
Since this program began in 1998, the Brownfields Job Training Program has awarded more than 352 grants. More than 19,456 individuals have completed training, and of those, more than 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: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy22-brownfields-job-training-grants
For more information on this, and other types of Brownfields grants, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-job-training-jt-grants