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Job Training Grant Will Help Develop Green Workforce Skills in Merrimack Valley

Release Date: 08/19/2011
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Aug. 19, 2011) – EPA was joined by Congresswoman Niki Tsongas to announce a $300,000 grant to the Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board.  The funding, from EPA’s Brownfields program, is part of an ongoing EPA effort to help create good-paying, skilled green jobs in New England.

EPA’s Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grant Program helps train skilled workers in local communities who can provide ongoing benefits to their cities and towns by creating businesses and protecting human health and the environment. 

“In these economic times, job creation is a top priority across the country.  Promoting green job creation is an important strategy for a growing economy,” said Ira Leighton, deputy regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.  “EPA’s Brownfield Job Training grants are beneficial to communities here in the Merrimack Valley and throughout all of New England.”

The EPA grant will help the Merrimack Valley Work Investment Board to train 39 students and place 28 graduates into local environmental jobs. The group has a track record of success training local workers, typically recruiting students from unemployed and underemployed residents of Lawrence, Haverhill and Methuen. After training, the Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board helps to place graduates in environmental jobs and tracks graduates for one year.

Congresswoman Niki Tsongas said, "These federal funds will help create a local partnership in the Lawrence area that will provide workers with the critical skills and the training required to compete in the growing green jobs market, while benefiting our environment."

The training program will consist of three 300-hour training cycles. Courses will include 40-hour HAZWOPER, underground storage tank leak prevention awareness, solid waste management and cleanup, innovative and alternative treatment technologies, and groundwater, soil, and water testing. The Workforce Investment Board has met with local environmental employers who have expressed their intention to interview program graduates about job placement and also have committed to participate on an employers' advisory board.

Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training grant funds are provided to nonprofit organizations and other eligible entities to recruit, train, and place predominantly low-income and minority, unemployed and under-employed residents from solid and hazardous waste-impacted communities.

Trainees learn the skills needed to secure full-time, sustainable employment in the environmental field, including a focus on assessment and cleanup activities. These grants help to create green jobs that reduce environmental contamination and promote sustainability in communities throughout the nation. EPA awarded its first Brownfields Job Training Grants in 1998. To date, more than 5,000 people have obtained environmental employment in the environmental field with an average starting hourly wage of $14.65.

More information: EPA Brownfield Job Training grants in New England (http://www.epa.gov/region1/brownfields/programs/jobtrain/index.html)

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