U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck announced that the EPA has selected a leading nonprofit organization, PathStone Corporation, to receive $192,300 to provide green job training in Puerto Rico.
PathStone provides services to low-income families and economically distressed communities throughout Puerto Rico, as well as in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia and Vermont. The organization will use the funds to give unemployed or under employed people the skills they need to enter the environmental job market.
“Cleaning up the environment creates jobs,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “EPA is happy to provide needed funding to ensure that people are properly trained while doing environmental cleanup work in Puerto Rico.”
PathStone will use EPA funding to train 55 people and place at least 40 people in environmental jobs. The core training program includes 40-hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response training that is required to work on assessing and cleaning up contaminated sites. In addition, people will learn how to properly abate asbestos and lead, and how to operate certain heavy machinery often used in environmental cleanups.
Participants who complete the core training will earn six Puerto Rico or federal certifications. PathStone will focus on people from the municipalities of Guayanilla, Penuelas, and Ponce, Puerto Rico. The organization will work with a number of key partners, including DISUR, Ponce and Suroeste Consortiums, University of Puerto Rico, Occupational Safety Training Corp., ALTOL Training Center, and several other environmental and community-based organizations.
The Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act was adopted in 2002, establishing a Brownfields Program that provides funding for brownfields assessments, cleanups, revolving loans and green job training. The program encourages redevelopment of an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites and promotes job creation. A total of 19 communities in 17 states and territories received approximately $3.6 million in Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training grants through the EPA Brownfields program this year.