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EPA Awards Delaware Second Brownfields Job Training Grant

Release Date: 03/10/2006
Contact Information: Terri White 215-814-5523

PHILADELPHIA - EPA mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Donald S. Welsh today announced federal funding awarded to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) to recruit and train Wilmington residents for environmental clean-up jobs.

Welsh joined Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner today in a ceremony in Wilmington highlighting efforts underway to redevelop brownfields sites in Wilmington, and to award a $141,764 jobs training grant to DNREC. This is the second job training grant that has been awarded to Delaware to teach environmental cleanup skills to residents in Wilmington whose neighborhoods have been affected by brownfields. Brownfields are abandoned, industrial properties where environmental contamination has been a barrier to redevelopment.

“My administration has a strong commitment to the redevelopment of brownfields and working with our federal partners, municipalities, community organizations and the private sector to spur revitalization in affected communities,” said Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner. “Redeveloping historic industrial and manufacturing sites improves the environment while bringing new jobs and growth to targeted areas.”

“EPA’s brownfields initiative has energized communities by breathing new life into abandoned properties, rebuilding tax bases, and providing valuable employment opportunities for local residents,” said Welsh. “We’re committed to building partnerships that ensure people in the local communities reap the benefits of brownfields redevelopment.”

With the award, Delaware will receive $141,764 over the next two years to teach environmental job skills to individuals living in low-income areas in the vicinity of brownfields. Training will focus mainly on safely assessing and handling hazardous wastes, innovative cleanup technologies, lead-abatement, asbestos cleanup and occupational safety and health.

Students will be recruited from Wilmington’s Southbridge and East Wilmington communities, where unemployment is significantly higher than the city-wide rate. Wilmington’s
recent EPA brownfields assessment grant has shown that the majority of the nearly 200 brownfields already identified across the city impact these two communities.

Training and career placement efforts will be supported by the Delaware Technical Community College, Delaware Department of Labor, and various community development and environmental consultants, including the New Millennium Community Development Corporation (CDC) and the Bethel Temple CDC. The Delaware Congressional Delegation has also supported this program.

Today’s grant brings EPA’s total competitive grant funding in Delaware to nearly $750,000 to continue to assess, clean up and revitalize brownfields sites.

According to an independent study conducted by the Council for Urban Economic Development, brownfields revitalization has created more than 22,000 permanent jobs and leveraged $2.48 in private investment for every $1 spent by federal, state, or local governments.

Delaware is one of 12 grantees nationwide to receive EPA’s 2006 competitive job training grant to continue revitalizing neighborhoods. A total of 84 job training grants are now active throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Since 1993, EPA has awarded more than $465 million in brownfields grants to cities, counties, tribes, states, non-profits and educational institutions nationwide. For more information on EPA’s job training grants and brownfields program, go to www.epa.gov/brownfields .