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EPA Gives $200,000 Brownfields Grant to Boston for Job Training

Release Date: 12/22/2000
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office (617-918-1008)

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it is awarding Boston Connects People to Economic Opportunity (BCI) a $200,000 grant to train inner-city Boston residents in skills and techniques for environmental cleanup jobs.

Boston was one of two recipients in New England and nine chosen nationally to receive a total of more than $1.8 million nationally to train residents in site cleanups for future jobs in the environmental field.

The grant is provided by EPA's Brownfields Program, which helps redevelop brownfields sites – sites that are abandoned or underused because of environmental contamination. The Brownfields Job Training and Development Demonstration Pilot program, which is providing today's grant, is designed to ensure that residents of communities affected by brownfields also share in the benefits of their restoration and redevelopment.

"Residents of Boston's neighborhoods have for too long had to bear the burden of abandoned and contaminated sites in their neighborhoods." said Mindy S. Lubber, regional administrator for EPA's New England Office. "This job training program gives them another way to share in the benefits of restoring and redeveloping these contaminated sites, and that's good news for them, their families, and the future of this city."

"This is great news for Boston," added Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. "This grant awarded by the EPA will not only help to train and employ residents in vitally important environmental jobs, but it will help Boston to further its initiative of turning yesterday's wastelands into tomorrow's productive Empowerment Zones. These steps lay the groundwork for new and exciting opportunities for Boston residents."

"I am very pleased that EPA has come forward with $200,000 for Boston to fund environmental scientist positions that are so critically needed for the future economic health of the city by making Brownfield sites economically productive again," added U.S. Congressman Joseph J. Moakley.

The grant will be used by BCI to train residents of Boston's federally designated Empowerment Zone. In the 12-week session, participants will be trained as environmental technicians who can work on site assessments, cleanups and other environmental activities. BCI will also support participants with career placement services for two years after training, and expects an 85 percent placement rate.

BCI's training efforts will be supported by organizations such as the Boston Public Health Commission, Boston Redevelopment Authority, New England Consortium, Suffolk County House of Correction, Roxbury Community College, STRIVE-Boston Employment Service, and Women in the Building Trades. Local developers and remediation firms that are actively involved in major brownfields redevelopment projects have committed to hiring graduates.

Boston's inner-city neighborhoods have been hard hit by industrial flight and abandoned properties. The state of Massachusetts has identified 455 brownfields within the city's Enterprise Zone. Three-quarters of the diverse Empowerment Zone population are minorities (African American, Hispanic, and Asian). The poverty rate in the Empowerment Zone is nearly 36 percent and the unemployment rate exceeds 16 percent.

Boston has previously received over $1.1 million in EPA brownfields funding.