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EPA Awards $200,000 for Environmental Job Training Grant in Hartford, Conn.

Release Date: 07/02/2012
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – July 2, 2012) – A $200,000 EPA grant will assist North Star Center for Human Development, Inc. in Connecticut to train 60 students, and place at least 54 graduates in environmental jobs. The grant is available through EPA’s Brownfields “Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training” program.

North Star will use the EPA funding to recruit, train and place local unemployed and underemployed residents from Hartford’s historically disadvantaged North End in environmental jobs. These neighborhoods have been plagued with high unemployment, high poverty, and low per-capita income rates. Hartford is one of the poorest cities in Connecticut with per capita income of less than $17,000.

The training program will offer courses in green and renewable energy, brownfields remediation technology, OSHA HAZWOPER, wastewater and storm water treatment technology and sustainable urban agriculture.  The comprehensive program will train 60 students, and place at least 54 graduates in environmental jobs.  The program will also track graduates for two years to ensure program efficacy.

“EPA’s Brownfield Job Training grants can be a real catalyst helping to change peoples’ lives for the better,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Our investments to provide people with the skills to earn a good living are also helping to protect the health of the local community by targeting historically disadvantaged neighborhoods where environmental cleanups and jobs are often most needed.”

North Star will target displaced workers, veterans, ex-offenders, and other disadvantaged residents for this job training program.  Participants who complete the core training will earn eight federal worker certifications. North Star was the past recipient of a 2007 Brownfields Job Training Grant and a 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Job Training Grant.  North Star has developed a system that delivers introductory level environmental remediation and green technology job training to students and has effectively placed participants in green jobs that benefit both the students and their community.

“North Star is extremely excited by this opportunity to continue to offer environmental remediation and green technology training to the residents of the City of Hartford, especially those residing in its North End neighborhoods. Presently, we have trained and graduated a total 192 trainees, and we have an 80 percent placement rate in industries including hazardous waste management, spill response, and lead and asbestos abatement contractors,” said Jewel Brown, Executive Director, North Star Center for Human Development, Inc.

Since 1998, EPA has awarded more than $42 million nationally under the Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training program. As of June 2012, approximately 10,300 individuals had completed training and approximately 7,300 obtained employment in the environmental field, with an average starting hourly wage of $14.12. The development of this green workforce will allow the trainees to develop skills that will make them competitive in the construction and redevelopment fields.

Graduates of the program are equipped with skills and certifications in various environmental fields including lead and asbestos abatement, environmental site sampling, construction and demolition debris recycling, underground storage tank removal, ecological restoration, and green building techniques. Graduates use these skills to improve the environment and people’s health while supporting economic development in their communities.

More information: EPA environmental workforce development and job training grants: (http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/pilot_grants.htm)

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