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EPA selects Earth Conservancy for $200,000 grant to support more environmental job training in Ashley, Pa.

Designates total of $5.1 million for job training nationwide

10/28/2019
Contact Information: 

PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 28, 2019) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $200,000 Brownfields grant on Oct. 24, to the non-profit organization Earth Conservancy in Ashley, Pennsylvania.

The Earth Conservancy is one of 26 organizations nationwide to receive a total of $5.1 million in grants for environmental job training programs. Funded through the agency’s successful Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Program, these grants will help to create a skilled workforce in communities where EPA brownfields assessment and cleanup activities are taking place.

In coordination with Penn State University Wilkes-Barre, Earth Conservancy plans to train and place at least 33 of 50 participants in environmental jobs. This training will build on the successful program they developed under its first EPA jobs training grant that was recognized with Pennsylvania Governor’s 2019 Award for Environmental Excellence.

“EPA is proud to support Earth Conservancy’s environmental job training program where formerly unemployed, or underemployed residents can gain new and valuable skills to work on brownfields projects,” said Cosmo Servidio, EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator. “Earth Conservancy has already reclaimed thousands of acres of mine-scarred lands. Additional environmental cleanup is underway and program graduates will have the skills that local companies need.”

The job training program has provided economic and environmental benefits in Luzerne County.  It has also raised awareness of the challenges related to abandoned mine lands.

EPA has also previously awarded the Earth Conservancy eight EPA Brownfields cleanup grants totaling $3.9 million to cleanup more than 15,000 acres of mine scarred land.  This summer in Scranton, Regional Administrator Servidio announced an EPA Brownfields Cleanup grant for $500,000.  Earth Conservancy’s job training grantees learn skills to perform Brownfields cleanup work for the site.

Since the program began in 1998, EPA has awarded 288 Environmental Workforce and Job Training grants to disadvantaged communities. 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 more than $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. 

All 26 selected programs awarded today 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.

For more information on all 26 job training grantees awarded today, please visit:

https://cfpub.epa.gov/bf_factsheets/index.cfm?grant_type_id=1003&grant_announcement_year=2018

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.

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