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EPA selects five California organizations to receive $1 million in Environmental Workforce and Job Training Grants

Funds helping to transform economically disadvantaged communities

11/07/2019
Contact Information: 
Margot Perez-Sullivan (perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov)
415-947-4149

SAN FRANCISCO - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the selection of five organizations in California to receive a total of $1 million in grants for environmental job training programs in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. Funded through the agency’s successful Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Program, these grants help to create a skilled workforce in communities where EPA brownfields assessment and cleanup activities are taking place.

The announcement was made today as representatives from EPA, California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), corporate real estate / environmental leaders and stakeholders gathered in San Francisco for the Surplus Property Roundtable (SPR) to discuss the cleanup and redevelopment of surplus properties nationwide including California.  SPR has been engaged as a stakeholder in EPA's public participation efforts to better understand best practices for the cleanup and redevelopment of surplus properties. SPR is 25+ mostly Fortune 100 industrial manufacturing companies (as well as RACER Trust) in automotive, aerospace, petrochemical, utilities, mining, railroads, and oil and gas industries. 

“Bringing together stakeholders to tackle historic contamination and help revitalize properties in urban and rural communities is a fundamental part of the Brownfields program,” said Mike Stoker, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This job training will provide 360 Californians with an additional skill set to make them more marketable employees.”

“We’re excited about these grants, and we congratulate the five communities on their successful applications,” said Meredith Williams, DTSC’s acting director. “These grants will help people who live in areas with multiple pollution burdens gain the skills needed to obtain environmental jobs. There’s a need for a trained workforce that can help California successfully restore and clean up contaminated lands. DTSC looks forward to continued collaboration with U.S. EPA as we work together toward restoration of brownfields to productive use. Environmental cleanup not only protects human health, restores the environment, and alleviates the effects of climate change, it provides economic opportunity to those who need these jobs the most.”

“The Surplus Property Roundtable is the premier forum for senior corporate decision makers responsible for the management and disposition of surplus industrial properties,” said Jay Gardner, SPR executive director. “Our mission is to provide educational opportunities and resources to promote responsible ownership, management, remediation, re-purposing, and disposition of real estate with legacy environmental issues including the goal of re-establishing the properties’ productive use in cooperation with all stakeholders.”

Nationwide, 26 organizations received $5.1 million in funding. 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.

“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.”

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. Recognizing the common phenomenon of local jobs being filled with contractors from distant cities, EPA created its environmental job training program to instead 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. 

California’s selectees will each receive $200,000 and use the funds to train 360 local underemployed adults in environmental management skills. The winners are:

  • City of Pittsburg (Pittsburg, California)
  • City of Richmond (Richmond, California)
  • Cypress Mandela Training Center Inc. (Oakland, California)
  • Hunters Point Family (San Francisco, California)
  • Los Angeles Conservation Corps (Los Angeles, California)

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 serve 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 the job training grantees, including past grantees, please visit: https://cfpub.epa.gov/bf_factsheets/

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

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