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News Releases from Region 08

EPA Superfund Job Training Initiative provides skills and opportunities for Pueblo-area graduates

09/28/2018
Contact Information: 
Lisa McClain-Vanderpool (mcclain-vanderpool.lisa@epa.gov)
303-312-6077

DENVER – Yesterday evening, 15 Pueblo-area residents graduated from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund Job Training Initiative (SuperJTI) program.  Graduates of the program now have the necessary skills to be considered for future jobs with the environmental contractors cleaning up lead and arsenic contamination at the Colorado Smelter Superfund site in Pueblo, Colorado.

SuperJTI is a national program that provides unemployed and underemployed individuals with the technical skills and specialized training needed to work on cleanup projects at Superfund sites, on other environmental remediation, and in a broad range of construction projects. Each Pueblo graduate earned certificates in:

  • OSHA-10
  • CPR/First Aid
  • 40-hr Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response

"EPA’s job training initiative invests in people living in communities affected by Superfund sites and who want to be active participants in the cleanup.  I congratulate these graduates for their hard work and look forward to learning about their contributions to the economic and environmental well-being of the community,” said Doug Benevento, EPA Region 8 Administrator.

The Board of County Commissioners will also be recognizing the graduates of this program during their October 2nd working session. “These students have demonstrated hard work and dedication to improving their skills for our community’s employment needs. The County appreciates this opportunity provided by the EPA to advance local career development opportunities,” said Terry Hart, County Commissioner and member of the Colorado Smelter Advisory Group and Revitalization Project.

EPA worked in partnership with NeighborWorks Southern Colorado to recruit students for the program and conduct the training over a two-week period, which consisted of both classroom instruction as well as hands-on exercises. To be accepted into the program, recruits participated in half-day tryout activities where they were evaluated by panelists comprised of community members, Pueblo Workforce, Pueblo Community College, CSU Pueblo and agencies working on the Colorado Smelter project.  Approximately 40 people tried out, 17 were selected, and 15 graduated from the program with the certifications that prepare them for work in the environmental remediation field.

EPA anticipates selecting the contractor who will lead the long-term phase of the Colorado Smelter cleanup in October.  This work will include the completion of indoor and outdoor remediation of homes within the site boundary. EPA has sampled over 40 percent of the study area. To date, 47 yards and 43 indoor cleanups have already been completed under initial rapid response work.

For more SuperJTI information: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-job-training-initiative

Colorado Smelter Superfund site: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/colorado-smelter

Superfund Task Force. In May 2017 EPA established a task force to restore the Superfund program to its rightful place at the center of the Agency's core mission to protect health and the environment. epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force.