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EPA AWARDS BROWNFIELDS JOB TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT GRANT TO WINSTON-SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA

Release Date: 12/22/2000
Contact Information: Dawn Harris, EPA Media Relations, 404-562-8421
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that Winston-Salem, North Carolina is one of nine cities/communities that has been awarded a total of $1.8 million in grants to provide environmental job training at brownfields sites. Since the job training program was started in 1998, more than 540 local workers have been trained in 20 states and Puerto Rico. Today's announcement marks another step in the EPA's longstanding efforts to promote economic vitality, while protecting our nation's environment and safeguarding public health.

The job training grants, totaling $200,000 each, are used to implement environmental training programs for the creation of workforce development programs to teach job skills in the field of environmental cleanup to individuals living in low income areas in the vicinity of brownfields sites. The majority of participants who successfully complete the training program go on to pursue careers with environmental firms and organizations.

With its $200,000 Brownfields Job Training and Development grant, the City of Winston-Salem plans to train 40 residents of the Piedmont Park and Cleveland Avenue Homes communities within the Liberty Street Corridor. The decline of tobacco and clothing manufacturing facilities in the Corridor have contributed to the economic distress of residents, who suffer from an unemployment rate of 12%. The Brownfields Assessment Pilot has spurred the development of an Airport Business Park near the two target communities. This development will involve the clearance of 200 properties, many of which have been contaminated by past industrial activities. The training program will provide local residents with the skills required to access the environmental jobs created by this and other redevelopment projects in the city. Courses will include health and safety, sampling, field measurement techniques, hazardous waste management, and innovative technologies. Classes will be offered during the day, evening, and on weekends, as necessary.

With the selection of recipients in Massachusetts, Maryland, Illinois, Louisiana, North Dakota, New York, Iowa, North Carolina, and Connecticut, brownfields job training program efforts are now active in 23 states and Puerto Rico.

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

Brownfields are abandoned, lightly contaminated properties often found in economically distressed areas, that are returned to economically thriving, community hubs. Since 1993, the EPA has taken significant steps to clean up brownfields and return them to productive use, awarding over $157 million in grants to cities, counties, tribes, states, non-profits and educational institutions nationwide. For more information go to: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/