First St. Louis Community College Brownfields Class Graduates

St. Louis Community College has planned a graduation ceremony for Brownfields job training graduates recently at St. Louis University. This will be the first of four classes at the college to graduate under funding provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

St. Louis Community College was one of only two schools in the four states of EPA's Region 7 to receive $500,000 under ARRA to provide technical training in lead abatement, site remediation, and weatherization to unemployed and underemployed residents. Through the program, the college has targeted residents in the St. Louis metropolitan area, with a focus on the Regional Empowerment Zone where the unemployment rate is over 24 percent.

St. Louis Community College has three remaining Brownfields job training classes in 2010. The next is scheduled to begin Feb. 15, and the remaining two in March and April. The college expects to train 120 students over the course of three years, with an expectation of 40 graduates each year.

The training will help participants to apply for state licensing in Missouri and Illinois as lead and asbestos abatement workers. Course work in weatherization and ecosystem restoration is also included to ensure participants are able to tap into the emerging "green jobs" market.

The primary goal of the Brownfields Job Training program is to develop and implement a certified training program in hazardous materials handling, lead-based paint and asbestos remediation, and weatherization techniques. This training is done in conjunction with worker safety training that ensures the health and well-being of program participants. Course work was chosen to meet the needs of employers in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

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