Springfield, Missouri, Selected for $200,000 EPA Job Training Grant
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Lenexa, Kan., Oct. 24, 2019) - The city of Springfield, Missouri, has been selected to receive a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help recruit, train and place local unemployed and under-employed individuals in full-time, sustainable environmental jobs.
Funded through the Agency’s successful Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Program (EWDJT), these grants help to create a skilled workforce in communities where EPA brownfields assessment and cleanup activities are taking place. The city of Springfield is one of 26 organizations selected nationwide to receive a total of $5.1 million in grants for environmental job training programs.
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.”
Funding for the city of Springfield will support the enrollment of 56 trainees in the program, with a goal of placing at least 35 graduates into the local job market in specialized environmental positions, where they can contribute to cleanup efforts in the northwest quadrant of the city.
Participants will receive certification in hazardous waste operations and emergency response; lead renovation, repair and painting; lead, asbestos and mold abatement; bloodborne pathogens; trenching and excavation; and forklift operation.
“It’s a pleasure to announce the city of Springfield’s third EPA Brownfields Job Training Grant,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “With a 90% placement rate, Springfield continues to provide under-employed and unemployed residents a pathway to securing well-paying jobs in the environmental field that help reclaim and revitalize brownfield sites throughout the community.”
“We congratulate the city of Springfield for their continued success in EPA’s Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Program and look forward to their next graduating class of environmental specialists,” Gulliford said.
Since the EWDJT program began in 1998, over 288 grants have been awarded. More than 18,000 individuals have completed training, and of those, over 13,679 individuals have been placed in full-time employment, earning an average starting wage of over $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.
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 program 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.
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