U.S. EPA awards nearly $200,000 to Kern County for job training tied to revitalization work
SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding the Kern County Builders Exchange (KCBEX) in Bakersfield, California nearly $200,000 for an Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) grant. Nationally, 18 organizations received $3.3 million through this program, which is part of EPA’s Brownfields efforts aimed at environmental cleanup and community revitalization. EPA’s Brownfields program supports the identification, assessment, cleanup, and planning for the safe redevelopment of potentially contaminated properties, also known as brownfields.
“This grant award is excellent news for the Kern County Builders Exchange, an organization that has empowered our local construction industry for nearly a century,” said Congressman Kevin McCarthy. “I was proud to support its grant application last year and am confident that KCBEX will use these funds to continue its work of fostering and facilitating collaboration among various sectors of the construction industry.”
KCBEX will use this grant to train approximately 60 low-income, under- and un-employed adults in environmental technician skills over the next two years. EPA’s EWDJT program offers residents of communities affected by long-term environmental and economic challenges an opportunity to gain the skills and certifications needed to secure professional environmental management work.
“EPA is proud to support Kern County’s development of a skilled workforce to fill the demand for local jobs in environmental management and cleanup,” said U.S. EPA Pacific Southwest Acting Regional Administrator Deborah Jordan. “The training delivered by KCBEX goes hand-in-hand with Kern County’s economic development and revitalization efforts.”
“One of our main goals at the Kern County Builders Exchange is to keep as many jobs local as possible,” said KCBEX Executive Director Mikin Plummer. “This opportunity will support the unmet need for trained employees to perform various brownfields and hazardous materials management and cleanup jobs in the construction, energy, and defense-related sectors of Kern’s economy. Rather than importing a workforce, this award will allow for KCBEX to provide environmental labor training to local workers, with a focus on rural areas across Kern County. Investing in our local labor force is key to Kern’s economic development and sustainability.”
Since 1998, EPA EWDJT Program has awarded more than 335 grants. With these grants, 18,541 individuals have been trained and 13,751 have been placed in careers related to land remediation and environmental health and safety, with an average hourly wage of over $14.
To find more information on the FY2021 EWDJT Grants, visit: https://www.epa.gov/grants/fy2021-environmental-workforce-development-and-job-training-ewdjt-grants
Learn more about the Kern County Builders Exchange.