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EPA’s Brownfields Job Training Program Transforms Lives and Land Across the Country

05/16/2017
Contact Information: 
Christie St. Clair (stclair.christie@epa.gov)
(202) 564-2880

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the selection of 14 organizations to receive funding to operate environmental job training programs for local residents. Funded through the agency’s Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) Program, the organizations will receive a total of approximately $2.7 million to help residents learn the skills needed to secure employment in the environmental field. These grants help prepare people for green jobs that reduce environmental contamination and provide more sustainable futures for the communities most affected by solid and hazardous waste contamination.

“Brownfields job training programs are a win-win for communities impacted by hazardous waste sites,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “These job training programs can touch and change lives by teaching valuable and marketable skills that also help protect our environment.”

“Massachusetts has a proud history of environmental protection, and this workforce development and job training grant will help meet the demands of employers and job candidates,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We appreciate the EPA’s support for the Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board and will continue pursuing steps at the state level to bolster educational training opportunities that are consistent with Massachusetts’ commitment to a diverse, skilled workforce.”

“I’m glad to see the EPA recognize the great work that St. Louis Community College is doing to recruit and train students for good-paying jobs,” said U.S. Senator Roy Blunt. “STLCC has a strong record of placing program graduates in high-demand fields, and these additional resources will give more students the skills they need to secure their future and improve their communities.”

“Job training programs are important to growing good-paying Montana jobs that maintain our pristine environment,” stated U.S. Senator Steve Daines.

"This grant will allow residents of the 11th District [of Pennsylvania], including our veterans, to obtain the skills necessary to fill good-paying jobs," U.S. Representative Lou Barletta said. "What better way to prepare our workers than to train them to reclaim abandoned mine lands, improve our environment, and strengthen our local economy.”

U.S. Representative John Rutherford said, “Through the Brownfield program, dozens of Northeast Florida residents will have the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to reinvent these sites while gaining real-world work experience. These program transformations will positively impact the Jacksonville community, and will increase investments in our city.”

Today’s selectees are:

  • The Fortune Society, Inc., New York City, New York

  • Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc., Portland, Oregon

  • Santa Fe Community College, Santa Fe, New Mexico

  • Florida State College at Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Florida

  • People United for Sustainable Housing, Inc., Buffalo, New York

  • PathStone Corporation, Arecibo, Barceloneta and Manati, Puerto Rico

  • Zender Environmental Health and Research Group, Anchorage, Alaska

  • Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps., Racine, Wisconsin

  • OAI, Inc., Chicago, Illinois

  • Salish Kootenai College, Inc., Flathead Indian Reservation, Montana

  • Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board, Lawrence, Massachusetts

  • St. Louis Community College, St. Louis County, Missouri

  • City of Richmond, Richmond, California

  • Earth Conservancy, Ashley, Pennsylvania

For over two decades, EPA’s EWDJT program has helped put people to work by building a skilled workforce across the country. The program awards competitive grants to nonprofit organizations and other eligible entities to recruit, train and place unemployed and underemployed individuals.  Individuals completing the training have often overcome a variety of barriers to employment. Many are from low-income neighborhoods. The training programs also serve dislocated workers who have lost their jobs as a result of manufacturing plant closures, minorities, tribal members, transitioning veterans, ex-offenders and other individuals who may have faced barriers to employment.

Since 1998, when the EWDJT grant program started, more than 274 grants have been awarded. Approximately 16,300 individuals have completed training, and of those, more than 11,900 individuals have been placed in full-time employment earning an average starting wage of over $14 an hour. This equates to a cumulative job placement rate of 73 percent of graduates.

There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites in America. When brownfields are addressed, nearby property values within a one-mile radius can increase 5-15.2% percent according to an independent study.

For more information on EWDJT grantees, including past EWDJT grantees, please visit: https://cfpub.epa.gov/bf_factsheets/ 

For more information on EPA’s EWDJT program, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/environmental-workforce-development-and-job-training-grants

For a success story from Tacoma, Washington, visit: https://blog.epa.gov/blog/2017/05/environmental-workforce-development-and-job-training-success-stories-tacoma-washington

For a success story from Richmond, California, visit: https://blog.epa.gov/blog/2017/05/environmental-workforce-development-and-job-training-success-stories-richmond-california

For EPA's blog post on the Brownfields Job Training program, visit: https://blog.epa.gov/blog/2017/05/brownfields-job-training-is-a-win-win-for-job-creation-and-environmental-protection