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EPA Selects Two New York Communities for Brownfields Grants

Release Date: 12/22/2005
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(#05153) NEW YORK -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that two communities in New York have been selected to receive brownfields job training grants of $141,764. The Center for Integrated Waste Management at the State University of New York in Buffalo (SUNY-Buffalo) and the St. Nicholas Neighborhood Preservation Corporation in Brooklyn will use the grants to
provide environmental job training to increase employment opportunities for local residents, and to meet the market demand for skilled environmental technicians. Buffalo and Brooklyn join ten other communities nationwide, where job training grants of up to $200,000 each will go to non-profit organizations, educational institutions, community colleges, tribes, and state and local governments.

"We've had a lot of success in our region with the Brownfields Job Training Program," said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. "In New York and New Jersey, more than 200 people have obtained jobs as a result of these programs. It's a great program for the residents, and it benefits the communities in which they live."

The goals of the Job Training Program are to prepare trainees for future employment in the environmental field and facilitate cleanup of brownfield sites contaminated by hazardous substances or petroleum. EPA previously awarded the Center for Integrated Waste Management at SUNY-Buffalo a job training grant of $200,000. The program was successful in recruiting and enrolling sixty-five students into the program, and
graduating fifty-two individuals. Of the fifty-two graduates, thirty-eight entered employment in the environmental or related fields upon graduation. The average starting wage was $13.00 per hour. With this new grant, the Center for Integrated Waste Management plans to train 70 individuals, place a minimum of 63 graduates in environmental jobs, and track students for at least one year. The training program will include 300 hours of in-class and on-site instruction in a variety of skill areas needed for employment in the environmental field, and offer certifications for positions as hazardous waste site worker, asbestos handler, and OSHA safety construction.

The St. Nicholas Neighborhood Preservation Corporation, which is a neighborhood organization in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, previously received two EPA Brownfields Job Training grants totaling $400,000. Through these grants, 191 unemployed and underemployed persons completed training and 112 were placed in the environmental field, earning an average wage above $13.00 per hour. Through the organization's workforce development arm, Williamsburg Works, St. Nicholas now anticipates that it will train 80 people and place a minimum of 48 by the end of their two-year project. OSHA Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response, construction health and safety, confined space entry, and disaster site worker certifications will be offered to all trainees. Additional courses in lead and asbestos abatement, air monitoring and
sampling, radon and vapor intrusion, and microbial remediation will also be available to trainees.

The brownfields program enables EPA to provide communities the tools they need to reclaim and restore thousands of brownfields sites that present relatively low risks to people's health. Four competitive grant programs provide funding to eligible applicants for brownfields assessments, cleanups, revolving loan funds, and job training. 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.

For further information, please visit the EPA Brownfields web site at: www.epa.gov/brownfields.