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EPA Awards Limitless Vistas’ Youth Job Program

Release Date: 04/10/2010
Contact Information: Dave Bary at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

(Dallas, Texas – April 10, 2010) The Environmental Protection Agency today announced Limitless Vistas, Inc. has been selected to receive a $200,000 Brownfields job training grant. Limitless Vistas, Inc. training program 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. Limitless Vistas, Inc. job training program is one of twelve awards nationwide and ranked highest in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

“By recruiting, training and employing local residents to clean up the community, we get the best of both worlds: new jobs and a cleaner community. Here in New Orleans these grants will help the local nonprofit Limitless Vistas train young people in environmental cleanups -- a perfect example of how we create new opportunities today and prepare this community for the future,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Transforming abandoned and contaminated sites sets the stage for bustling business centers, new parks and other developments. It shows that the right thing to do for the environment is the right thing to do for the economy.”

Limitless Vistas, located in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans, targets youth from both the Gert Town and Central City neighborhoods, who then provide their services to those in need throughout the city. Today, New Orleans offers many job opportunities for workers with environmental-related and weather-proofing job training. Recovery and construction work is expected to require thousands of workers, creating a continuing demand for program graduates.

Limitless Vistas plans to train 40 students, place 80% or more in environmental jobs and track their progress over the next year. The program consists of three 15-week training cycles on the topics of hazardous waste, weatherization, construction safety, asbestos abatement, in addition to lead and mold abatement awareness. Primary trainers are provided by Limitless Vistas staff, with additional training from environmental contractors. Limitless Vistas partners help to place graduates in permanent environmental jobs in the area.

“This award is great news for Limitless Vistas, the young people who will be trained and the homeowners who will benefit. This also helps to advance our goals of creating a more green New Orleans as we recover,” said Mayor C. Ray Nagin. “The Obama administration has been unwavering in its support for New Orleans and this is another example of that commitment.”

“New Orleans offers a laboratory for democracy - where many federal initiatives, such as the EPA’s Brownfields job training program, can be applied," said Mayor-elect Mitch Landrieu. “We have the opportunity to do many great things, and that involves cultivating a highly-trained and educated workforce. This program and its partnership with Limitless Vistas will help greatly in that effort and have a lasting impact on many people’s lives.”

“It is imperative that business leaders at every level incorporate mentorship and job training initiatives into the fabric of their organizations,” said Patrick Barnes, Limitless Vistas, Inc. Founder. “Why wouldn’t you want to take a personal interest in seeing to it that young people are prepared to enter your profession? We believe that the EPA Brownfields job training program is the logical best practice to be used as an effective guide on how to engage young people in quickly obtaining meaningful job skills and credentials across a wide array of environmental related job sectors.”

This job program is part of the EPA’s highly successful Brownfields Program. The EPA Brownfields program helps take old and abandoned properties and makes them ready for redevelopment and reuse. The tremendous needs in Brownfields communities represent an equally tremendous opportunity for community leaders, scientists and entrepreneurs to do good for the individuals most at risk in those very communities. The EPA Brownfields job training program helps train local workers and gives them first-hand experience in environment-related jobs. Coupled together, these programs improve community sustainability by training local workers to work towards redevelopment goals within their own neighborhoods.

Further information on EPA’s Brownfields program is available at http://www.epa.gov/brownfields

More about activities in EPA Region 6: http://www.epa.gov/region6

EPA audio file is available at http://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/podcast/apr2010.html

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