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Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Remarks on Green Jobs in Atlanta, As Prepared

07/12/2011
As prepared for delivery.

Thank you for that warm welcome. As you all know here in Atlanta, as President Obama has said many times and repeated just yesterday, as anyone in any community in America will tell you – the top priority of this administration is to spark the creation of good jobs for American workers.

An important part of that effort is creating good, green jobs. Now, people often ask what we mean when we say “Green Jobs.” When we say “green job” we’re talking about any job that protects people’s health from pollution in the air we breathe, in the water we drink, or in the lands where we build our communities. We are talking about any job that leaves a neighborhood cleaner and healthier. We are talking about any job that makes our communities better places to raise a family free from health risks, or to start a business knowing that problems in the environment aren’t going to turn away customers or make workers call in sick. In other words, we are talking about any job that proves what we all know is true: that we don’t have to choose between clean air and water or creating jobs. We can do both at the same time.

EPA’s Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Program is a critical part of this effort. This program capitalizes on the important, front-line role community organizations play in training our workers. We are counting on the people who know these areas best to find the places where good jobs and environmental protection are going to do the most good for the most people.
I am proud today to recognize one local community organization that is playing that vital role in this city: the Center for Working Families. For their hard work and the great results we see from this Center, we are proud to award them – for the first time – a $300,000 Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training grant. That is one of many job training grants we are awarding today across the country. A total of $6.2 million for 21 organizations will be used to train local residents and place them into good, green jobs. With this funding, grantees will give workers the knowledge and technical skills they need to find jobs revitalizing their communities.

We are confident in the job creating possibilities of this program because of the long history of success in EPA’s brownfields program. Every day, the brownfields program puts local workers on the job cleaning up the places they call home. In its lifespan, the public and private partnerships fostered through this program have helped to create more than 70,000 new jobs in the United States. As of June 1, 2011, the brownfields job training program itself has trained and placed almost 5,400 people in full-time, sustainable jobs.

Over the years, the scope of those jobs has expanded as well. In addition to brownfields restoration, we are training future employees in hazardous waste assessment and cleanup, solid waste management fields like recycling and electronics recycling, underground storage tank removal, green remediation, green construction, and solar installation. Their work not only cleans up contaminated lands and protects the health of people living here – it also transforms these areas into healthier, stronger places to raise a family and grow a business, boosting the economy and sparking more jobs in areas most in need of help.

You’ve witnessed this success in Atlanta already. At the northwest edge of the city is the Atlantic Station, the former steel site that went through a major environmental cleanup and redevelopment in the mid-90's with the help of the brownfields program. With green planning in mind, the Atlantic Station buildings were designed to be energy efficient and Green Building Certified. Today the area is one of Atlanta’s thriving districts.

That is the kind of success we want to keep driving, and keep supporting, especially through community groups like the Center for Working Families. That is how we can not only fulfill this administration’s top priority of creating jobs today, but also protect our health and strengthen our communities for sustainable economic growth well into the future.

I’m proud to be with you today. Thank you very much.