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3 New England Projects Share $600K for Brownfields Environmental Job Training

Release Date: 01/15/2009
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Jan. 15, 2009) –Two communities in Connecticut and one in Massachusetts will share $600,000 in EPA Brownfiellds job training grants geared toward cleaning up contaminated properties and turning them into productive community assets.

The three New England recipients that will be awarded $200,000 EPA Brownfields job training grants are New Bedford, Mass., Workplace Inc. of Southwest Connecticut (located in Bridgeport, Conn.), and the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board, located in Waterbury, Conn. The EPA grants will help teach environmental assessment and cleanup job skills to individuals living in areas near brownfields sites.

“EPA’s Brownfields Program has been a powerful economic engine helping revitalize and restore neighborhoods across New England and nationwide,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “These grants take that success a step further, by training community members with lasting skills to convert contaminated areas back into productive uses in their communities.”

The Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board (NRWIB) in Waterbury plans to train 60 students and has a goal of placing 50 graduates in environmental jobs. The training program will include environmental, health, safety and industrial training; lead and asbestos abatement training; and remediation technologies training. The NRWIB will work with the Waterbury Development Corporation, trade unions, environmental organizations and private sector remediation specialists to place graduates in environmental jobs.

The Workplace Inc. (Southwestern Connecticut's Regional Workforce Investment Board), is a nonprofit organization that provides employment and training services for a 20-town region in Fairfield County. Recent assessments have identified 26 brownfield sites within the target area. The Workplace plans to train 60 students from five towns, including Norwalk, Ansonia, Derby, Seymour and Shelton, with a goal of placing 48 in environmental jobs. The training program will include lead and asbestos abatement, 40-hour “Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard” (HAZWOPER), and environmental technician. Trainees who go beyond the basic course requirements may become certified in a number of other environmental areas with a potential for earning up to 13 college credits. Students will be recruited primarily from among the residents of the five towns targeted by this program. The Workplace, Inc., will institute an environmental jobs hotline, establish a job club, and work with members of the advisory board who are in the environmental sector to place program graduates.

The City of New Bedford, Mass., has clusters of underused or abandoned textile mills, electronic manufacturing facilities and other industrial sites, many of which are located adjacent to densely populated, low-income neighborhoods. Brownfield cleanups are underway or planned for several mill, electronics, and tool sites. Students will be recruited from among the city's unemployed and underemployed residents in brownfields-impacted neighborhoods. New Bedford plans to train a total of 60 students in two tracks, and place at least 33 graduates in environmental jobs. The environmental competency track includes 344 hours of coursework and certifications in HAZWOPER; asbestos, lead, and mold abatement; hazardous substance transportation; vapor intrusion; and alternative technologies. The higher-education track consists of 465 hours of training in site evaluation and GIS, incident management, hazardous waste management, and general chemistry. Trainees who complete the higher-education track will receive up to 25 college credit hours. The primary trainer will be Bristol Community College. New Bedford will work with the Greater New Bedford Career Center to place graduates in environmental jobs.

The three New England projects competed successfully in a national grant process. They were among only thirteen communities in 12 states selected to share $2.6 million in job training grants.

Since 1998, EPA has awarded more than $25 million in brownfields job training funds, and more than 4,000 people have completed training programs nationwide. More than 3,000 of these graduates have since gotten good paying jobs in the environmental field. These programs are designed to ensure that economic benefits derived from brownfields redevelopment remain in the affected communities.

EPA’s brownfields program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. Since the beginning of the program, EPA has awarded more than 1,400 assessment grants totaling approximately $337 million, 240 revolving loan fund grants totaling more than $233 million, and 530 cleanup grants totaling approximately $99 million. EPA’s brownfields assistance has attracted more than $12.7 billion in private investment and helped create more than 53,000 jobs.

More information:

- January 2009 EPA Brownfields
job training grant recipients (epa.gov/brownfields/09jtgrants/index.htm)

-
EPA Brownfields program in New England (epa.gov/region1/brownfields)

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