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Springfield, Mo., Selected for $200,000 EPA Grant to Recruit, Train and Place Workers in Green Environmental Jobs

05/07/2018
Contact Information: 
Ashley Murdie (murdie.ashley@epa.gov)
913-551-7785

Environmental News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

EPA seal(Lenexa, Kan., May 7, 2018) – 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 residents in full-time sustainable green jobs.

As part of EPA’s Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) program, this grant will 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.

Announcement of the grant was made today by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt as part of a $3.3 million grant package being distributed to 17 organizations nationwide.

“Through these Brownfields job training programs, we’re investing in getting Americans back to work and improving local economies and the environment,” said Pruitt. “Graduates will acquire the skill set necessary to gain full-time employment in the environmental field and help revitalize their communities.”

Overall, funding from EPA’s grant will support the enrollment of approximately 50 trainees in the Springfield program, with a goal of placing at least 35 graduates into the local job market in specialized environmental positions, such as Superfund site cleanup, ecological restoration, and lead and asbestos abatement at brownfields remediation projects.

Participants in the program will receive certifications in hazardous waste operations and emergency response; construction safety; trenching and excavation; mold abatement; first aid/CPR; forklift operation; lead abatement; and asbestos abatement. Graduates of the program will earn three state and 10 federal certifications, along with two state licenses, to perform environmental work.

“We congratulate the city of Springfield for their continued success in our Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training program and look forward to the next graduating class of Springfield environmental specialists,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “Through job training grants, we're able to provide underemployed and unemployed residents a pathway to secure well-paying jobs in the environmental field, and in return, they're able to help transform brownfields into vital, sustainable projects for their community."

As part of Springfield’s Department of Workforce Development, the Missouri Career Center at 2900 East Sunshine Street will manage the training program. The center will target unemployed and underemployed veterans, and ex-offender residents of Springfield for participation in this program.

Key partners in the Missouri Career Center’s implementation of the grant include the Community Partnership for the Ozarks; Drew Lewis Foundation; Springfield’s Neighborhood Advisory Council; Bryan University; Region Think; Carpenters Training Center; Environmental Works, Inc.; Gerken Environmental; Heavy Construction Laborers; Preferred Family Healthcare; Sun Solar; Sunbelt Environmental Services; Southwest Missouri Safety Company; and Ozark Region Workforce Development Board.

“This EPA Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grant will be a key component to continue to aid local unemployed and underemployed residents of the Ozark Region,” said Isaac Weber, Missouri Job Center Senior Workforce Development Specialist. “This program is a win-win for all involved. Not only do our graduates receive training to make them a qualified employee for employers, but the jobs they receive help restore and revitalize the community that they live in.

“Our previous graduates are a testament that this training can change their lives by providing a short five-week course of in-demand certifications and licenses to lead to sustainable wage jobs. In partnership with community agencies and employers, the Job Center is excited to continue the work started with the EPA from the first EWDJT grant received in 2016.”

Since the EWDJT program began in 1998, more than 288 grants have been awarded. Over 17,100 individuals have completed training, and of those, more than 12,500 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.

Background

The EWDJT program helps to build 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 these training programs 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, and other individuals who may have faced barriers to employment.

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Learn more about EWDJT grantees, including past EWDJT grantees

Learn more about EPA’s EWDJT program

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