The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected 26 organizations to receive a total of $5.1 million in grants for environmental job training programs across the country. Funded through the agency’s Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Program, these grants help to create a skilled workforce in communities where EPA brownfields assessment and cleanup activities are taking place.
Of the programs selected for funding this year, 31% plan to serve residents of communities experiencing persistent poverty and nearly 70% plan to serve veterans. All 26 selected programs plan to serve communities with census tracts designated as federal Opportunity Zones – an economically-distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.
“EPA’s Job Training Program has helped to transform communities that need it the most. By investing in a local workforce to conduct environmental cleanup activities, we can help revitalize traditionally low-income neighborhoods,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Seventy five percent of those trained under our program have gone on to find full time jobs with good wages. I am proud to announce that EPA is building on these successes by providing additional grants to help lift communities out of poverty, employ returning veterans, and build a skilled environmental workforce for the future.”
Since the program began in 1998, more than 288 grants have been awarded. More than 18,000 individuals have completed training, and of those, more than 13,679 individuals have been placed in full-time employment earning an average starting wage of over $14 an hour. Rather than filling local jobs with contractors from distant cities, EPA created its environmental job training program to offer residents of communities historically affected by environmental pollution, economic disinvestment, and brownfields an opportunity to gain the skills and certifications needed to secure local environmental work in their communities.
This year’s grantees are:
- Alaska Forum Inc. (Anchorage, AK)
- Auberle (McKeesport, PA)
- City of New Bedford (New Bedford, MA)
- City of Pittsburg (Pittsburg, CA)
- City of Richmond (Richmond, CA)
- City of Rochester (Rochester, NY)
- City of Springfield (Springfield, MO)
- Civic Works Inc. (Baltimore, MA)
- Colorado Department of Local Affairs (Denver, CO)
- Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa Inc. (Tampa, FL)
- Cypress Mandela Training Center Inc. (Oakland, CA)
- Earth Conservancy (Ashley, PA)
- El Centro (Kansas City, KS)
- Full Employment Council (Kansas City, MO)
- Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps. (Milwaukee, WI)
- Hunters Point Family (San Francisco, CA)
- Lorain County Board of Commissioners (Elyria, OH)
- Lost Angeles Conservations Corps (Los Angeles, CA)
- OAI Inc. (Chicago, IL)
- PathStone Corporation (Rochester, NY)
- Southern University at Shreveport (Shreveport, LA)
- St. Louis Community College (Bridgeton, MI)
- The Fortune Society Inc. (Long Island City, NY)
- Training to Work an Industry Niche (Charlotte, NC)
- Workforce Inc. dba RecycleForce (Indianapolis, IN)
- Zender Environmental Health and Research Group (Anchorage, AK)
EPA’s Job Training Program awards competitive grants to nonprofit organizations and other eligible entities to recruit, train, and place unemployed and underemployed individuals. Individuals completing these training programs have often overcome a variety of barriers to employment. Many are from low-income neighborhoods. The training programs also serves minorities, tribal members, transitioning veterans, dislocated workers who have lost their jobs as a result of manufacturing plant closures, and other individuals who may face barriers to employment.
More information on the job training grantees, including past grantees, is available here.
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