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New England Shares in $2 Million of EPA Brownfields Job Training Grants

Release Date: 12/22/2005
Contact Information: David Deegan, 617-918-1017

(Boston, MA) - Two organizations working in Connecticut and Massachusetts are among only 12 groups nationwide selected to share a highly competitive $2 million EPA grant that will promote Brownfields job training.

The two groups - JFY NetWorks in Mass. and the WorkPlace in Conn., have proven track records of training individuals for the challenges of a new career in environmental work. Each organization will receive $141,764 to further job training related to brownfields work in each state. The Brownfields Job Training Program is designed to provide residents in brownfields-affected communities an opportunity to obtain employment in the environmental field, ensuring that the economic benefits derived from brownfields redevelopment remain in the affected communities.

"EPA's Brownfields program does more than improve local environments and economies, it puts both people and property back to work," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England regional office. "By training people for real jobs, these grants focus on achieving results that help protect public health, revitalize problem property, and build stronger communities."

The Brownfields Job Training Grants are available to non-profit organizations, educational institutions, community colleges, tribes, and state and local governments to teach environmental-cleanup job skills to individuals living near Brownfields sites.

In Massachusetts, JFYNetWorks will train up to 60 individuals, many of whom will be placed in environmental jobs. JFYNetWorks, in partnership with Suffolk University and Umass-Lowell, will conduct the training at JFYNetWorks’ facility in Boston’s Empowerment Zone. The training will include classroom and field work covering instruction on handling and removing hazardous substances, sampling, analysis, site remediation and emergency and disaster response. Graduates will be certified for state-approved work, including for emergency/disaster response. Students will be recruited from among unemployed or underemployed residents of Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, and Somerville.

In Connecticut, The Workplace, Inc. plans to train 54 students, most of whom will be placed in environmental jobs. Trainees will achieve environmental, health, and safety skills through classroom and field experience in lead and asbestos abatement, and will be certified. Additional certifications will be offered to those who go beyond the basic course level. Candidates selected for training must currently be unemployed and have a family income that is less than 50 percent of the federal poverty level, unemployed and certified as a dislocated worker, or considered to be most in need. The Workplace will use a competitive bidding process to select the organizations to provide candidate screening, training, and job placement services.

In addition to Conn. and Mass., the other states selected for these grants were Delaware, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Washington, and West Virginia.

Since 1998, EPA has awarded approximately $17.3 million in brownfields job training funds. More than 2600 people have completed training, and over 1,600 have obtained employment in the environmental field, earning an average wage of $13 per hour.

EPA’s Brownfields Program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. Since the beginning of the Brownfields Program, EPA has awarded over 850 assessment grants totaling approximately $220 million, over 200 revolving loan fund grants totaling over $183 million and over 230 cleanup grants totaling approximately $42 million. EPA’s Brownfields assistance has leveraged more than $7.2 billion in private investment and helped attract more than 34,000 jobs.

The Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act of 2002 authorizes up to $250 million in funds annually for brownfields grants. Under the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act of 2001, EPA is authorized to fund training programs that facilitate assessment, cleanup or preparation of brownfield sites throughout the United States. Applicants for a job training program grant must be located in or near a community that currently receives, or has received, financial assistance from EPA for Brownfields-related activities.

More information on all of the grant recipients is available at: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/jt1205/jt1205.htm .

Information on EPA’s Brownfields program in New England is available at: http://www.epa.gov/ne/brownfields/index.html .

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