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Agency Provides $2 M for Brownfields Job Training
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is awarding more than $2 million in job training grants for environmental cleanups in 10 states across the country, according to an April 10 press release.
The Brownfields Job Training Program helps train people for jobs in the assessment, cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields properties, including abandoned gas stations, old textile mills, closed smelters, and other abandoned industrial and commercial properties. These investments target under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods – places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed. The grants will train residents living near brownfields sites in California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Washington.
“By recruiting, training and employing local residents to clean up the community, we get the best of both worlds: new jobs and a cleaner community,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. “Transforming abandoned and contaminated sites sets the stage for bustling business centers, new parks and other developments. It shows that the right thing to do for the environment is the right thing to do for the economy.”
Twelve governmental entities and non-profit organizations are receiving up to $200,000 each to train people in the cleanup of these abandoned and possibly polluted properties, while also providing training in other environmental skills, such as green building design, energy efficiency, weatherization, solar installation, green construction, and native plant revegetation. In New Orleans, Jackson presented the award to Limitless Vistas, Inc., a training program that teaches inner-city youth job skills in environmental assessment and improvement, as well as the value of community service. Graduates are placed in environmental work-related jobs and their success is tracked for one year.
As of February 2010, more than 5,300 individuals have been trained through the program, and 3,400 have been placed in full-time employment in the environmental field with an average starting hourly wage of $14.65.
As part of Administrator Jackson’s commitment to this program, the 2011 proposed budget includes an increase of $215 million for brownfields with increases for planning, cleanup, job training and redevelopment.
To read some brownfields success stories, visit www.epa.gov/brownfields/success/index.htm.