On May 12, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the selection of 18 grantees for approximately $3.5 million in Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) grants.
Each grantee will receive funds to operate environmental job training programs that advance environmental justice by providing opportunities for residents living in areas impacted by contaminated lands. Trainees gain experience for jobs related to cleanup activities in their own communities.
“EWDJT grants transform lives by providing individuals the opportunity to gain meaningful long-term employment and a livable wage in the growing environmental field,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management. “Individuals completing training have often overcome a variety of barriers to employment.”
Assistant Administrator Stanislaus announced the selection of the grant recipients at the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response training session for the Los Angeles Conservation Corps (LACC), one of the organizations chosen to receive funding this fiscal year. As of today, the LACC has graduated more than 460 students from its EWDJT program and has placed more than 80 percent of graduates in jobs in the environmental field.
The training programs serve unemployed persons, dislocated workers who have lost their jobs as a result of manufacturing plant closures, minorities, tribal residents, veterans, former gang members, ex-offenders, and other individuals who may face barriers to employment.
The programs benefit local residents impacted by brownfield sites in their communities by helping to provide opportunities to secure work and build careers cleaning up these sites. Grantees work in areas historically affected by unemployment, blight, economic disinvestment, and solid and hazardous waste sites. The EWDJT program provides communities the flexibility to deliver training that meets specific labor market demands in in fields such as: brownfields assessment and cleanup, waste treatment and stormwater management, emergency response, electronics recycling, solar installation and green remediation.
EWDJT grants are awarded to a broad range of communities with multiple indicators of need, including communities affected by natural disasters or the closure of manufacturing facilities, Economic Development Administration “Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership” designated communities (http://www.eda.gov/challenges/imcp), and Housing and Urban Development/Department of Transportation/EPA “Partnership for Sustainable Communities” designated communities (http://www.sustainablecommunities.gov). Past graduates of the EWDJT program have worked on response and cleanup activities associated with the 2010 BP oil spill along the Gulf Coast, the World Trade Center, and Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Sandy.
Graduates develop a broad set of skills that improves their ability to secure meaningful full-time employment. Since the inception of the EWDJT grant program in 1998, more than 256 grants have been awarded exceeding $54 million. Approximately 14,700 individuals have completed training, and of those, more than 10,600 individuals have been placed in full-time employment with an average starting hourly wage of $14.34. This equates to a cumulative job placement rate of nearly 72 percent of graduates.
Today’s grantees include:
• Civic Works, Inc., Baltimore, Md.
• City of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y.
• Limitless Vistas, Inc., New Orleans, La.
• Energy Coordinating Agency, Philadelphia, Pa.
• Cypress Mandela Training Center, Inc., Oakland, Calif.
• Nye County, Tonopah, Nev.
• Redevelopment Authority of Cumberland County, Carlisle, Pa.
• Auberle, McKeesport, Pa.
• Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board, Waterbury, Conn.
• City of Tacoma, Tacoma, Wash.
• City of Pittsburg, Pittsburg, Calif.
• Hunters Point Family, San Francisco, Calif.
• Los Angeles Conservation Corps, Los Angeles, Calif.
• City of Glens Falls, Glens Falls, N.Y.
• City of Springfield, Springfield, Mo.
• Lawson State Community College, Birmingham, Ala.
• Alaska Forum, Inc., Anchorage, Alaska
• Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, Kingston, Wash.