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EPA selects Zender Environmental Health and Research Group and the Alaska Forum, Inc. for $400,000 in Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants

Agency: Brownfields Job Training Grants Provide Skilled Workers for Alaska Communities

10/24/2019
Contact Information: 
Mark Macintyre (macintyre.mark@epa.gov)
206-553-7302

(Anchorage, AK)  - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the selection of Zender Environmental Health and Research Group and the Alaska Forum on the Environment, Inc. to receive a $200,000 Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training grant. The grants are two of 26 that are being awarded nationally for $5.1 million.

“Brownfields job training programs offer a big boost, especially for rural communities impacted by hazardous waste sites,” said Chris Hladick, EPA Regional Administrator in Seattle. “Trainees learn important marketable skills that also help protect our environment.”

Of the programs selected nationally 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.

Zender Environmental Health and Research Group Grant

According to Lynn Zender, Executive Director:

This is great news for all of rural Alaska”, said Zender. “Our Rural Alaska Community Environmental Job Training (RACEJT) Program produces skilled technicians that help rural communities safely manage wastes and respond to environmental emergencies in uniquely challenging circumstances and remote locations. This grant will help us offer more opportunities for trainees interested in working hard and building a career in environmental and community public health service.”

Program graduates can earn college credits and an Occupational Endorsement  through the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and up to 16 state or federal certifications including HAZWOPER, OSHA 10 Construction Safety, Confined Space Entry, Forklift Operations, and Certified Erosion and Sediment Control Lead, National Incident Command System, DOT Hazmat, Water and soil sampling, and CPR/First Aid.

In addition to receiving previous EPA grant funding and technical assistance, Zender Environmental Health and Research Group works in partnership with a wide variety of entities including Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Bristol Bay Native Association, Municipality of Anchorage, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Native Village of Port Heiden, Native Village of Hooper Bay, Kuna Engineering, Copper River Native Association, University of Washington Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, Organized Village of Kwethluk, Akiachak Native Community, Integrity Environmental, Kawerak, Inc.

 Alaska Forum, Inc. Grant

According to Kurt Eilo, Executive Director:

 “The EPA Brownfields Job Training Program provides vital training to help people across Alaska,” said Eilo.  “Trainees develop critical work skills, helping  their communities be better prepared to support environmental emergency response and cleanup locally. The Alaska Forum is pleased to be able to extend our Environmental Training and Apprenticeship program to help Alaska businesses seek local hires for environmental emergency response and cleanup jobs.”

Alaska Forum, Inc. plans to train 60 students and place at least 39 graduates in environmental jobs. The core training program includes 422 hours of instruction in: 40-hour HAZWOPER, OSHA 10-hour construction, confined space/entry, first aid/CPR/survival, GPS/GIS in environmental field work, lead awareness, asbestos awareness, hazardous materials awareness, Freon removal and handling, asbestos handler and worker, OSHA 2015 hazardous materials, MSHA awareness, wilderness first aid, Alaska certified erosion and sediment control lead, OSHA disaster site worker, shipping and transportation DOT/IATA, trenching and excavating, incident command system 100 and 200, NIMS IS700/706, HAZWOPER refresher, OSHA 7107 evacuation and emergency planning, and hazardous communication.

Program participants who complete the course will earn 23 federal certifications and five state certifications. Alaska Forum, Inc. is targeting unemployed and underemployed, low-income residents in rural areas throughout Alaska. Key partners include: Kodiak Island Borough, Jacobs, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Cook Inlet Tribal Council, University of Washington Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety, Kawerak Inc., NRC Alaska LLC., Knik Tribal Council, and UMIAQ Environmental.

EPA’s Brownfields Program empowers states, communities and other stakeholders to work together to prevent, assess, and safely clean up and sustainably reuse brownfields.  A brownfield site is real property, where reuse may be complicated by the presence of contaminants. 

For more information on EWDJT grantees, including past EWDJT grantees, please visit:  https://go.usa.gov/xpxPM

 For more information on EPA’s EWDJT program, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding

More information on Zender’s Rural Alaska Community Environmental Job Training Program: http://www.zendergroup.org/racejt.html.

For more about the Alaska Forum on the Environment’s ETAP training program: http://www.akforum.org/apprenticeship/about-etap/

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