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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

EPA Awards $2 Million In Brownfields Job Training Funds

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is awarding more than $2 million in job training grants for environmental cleanups in communities across the country. The agency’s 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.

Twelve governmental entities and non-profit organizations in 10 states 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, Administrator Jackson presented the award to 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.

The brownfields job training grants will help recruit, train, and employ residents living near brownfields sites in California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Washington.

In 2002, the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act was passed. The brownfields law expanded the definition of what is considered a brownfield, so communities may now focus on mine-scarred lands, sites contaminated by petroleum, or sites contaminated as a result of the manufacturing and distribution of illegal drugs (e.g. meth labs). EPA’s Brownfields Program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites.

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. Since 1998, EPA has awarded more than $33 million in brownfields job training funds. The program prepares workers for employment in the new green economy, and ensures that the economic benefits derived from brownfields redevelopment remain in the affected communities. As of February 2010, more than 5,300 individuals have been trained through the Brownfields Job Training Grant Program, and 3,400 have been placed in full-time employment in the environmental field with an average starting hourly wage of $14.65.

More information on brownfields job training grants

More information on EPA’s Brownfields Program

Brownfields success stories

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