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EPA Awards Delaware Extra $200,000 for Brownfields Job Training

Release Date: 12/21/2001
Contact Information: David Sternberg, (215) 814-5548

David Sternberg, (215) 814-5548

PHILADELPHIA Administrator Christie Whitman today announced that EPA will award a $200,000 brownfields environmental job training grant to Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

Today’s announcement in Silver Spring, Md. unveiled $2 million in new pilot projects across nine states and the District of Columbia to train environmental cleanup skills to people living in low-income areas. Brownfields are abandoned, industrial properties where environmental contamination has been a barrier to redevelopment.

“EPA’s brownfields initiative has energized communities throughout the mid-Atlantic states by breathing new life into abandoned properties, rebuilding tax bases and, in the case of today’s job training grants, providing valuable employment opportunities for local residents,” said Donald S. Welsh, EPA’s regional administrator. “This is a great example of how local, state and federal partnerships can make a positive difference in the quality of life for Delawareans.”

With the award, Delaware will receive $200,000 over the next two years to create workforce development programs that teach environmental job skills to individuals living in low-income areas in the vicinity of brownfields.

Training will focus mainly on safely assessing and handling hazardous wastes, innovative cleanup technologies, lead-abatement, asbestos cleanup and occupational safety and health.

Specifically, students will be recruited from Wilmington’s Southbridge and East Wilmington communities, where unemployment is significantly higher than the city-wide rate. Through Wilmington’s EPA brownfields assessment pilot, the majority of the 126 brownfields that have already been identified impact these two communities.

Training and career placement efforts will be supported by the Delaware Technical Community College, Delaware Department of Labor, and various community development and environmental consultants. The community college also plans to develop a continuing education program to further opportunities for program graduates.

The grant will be used in cooperation with the City of Wilmington’s brownfields assessment demonstration pilot program that was awarded by EPA in 1997. Today’s grant brings EPA’s total redevelopment pilot funding in Delaware to $600,000 to continue to assess, clean up and revitalize brownfields sites.

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

Delaware is one of 10 pilots nationwide today to receive EPA’s competitive job training pilot to continue revitalizing neighborhoods. With today’s selection, a total of 23 job training pilots are now active throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

Since 1993, EPA has awarded more than $200 million in brownfields grants to cities, counties, tribes, states, non-profits and educational institutions nationwide. For more information on EPA’s job training grants and brownfields program, go to www.epa.gov/brownfields

The administrator’s announcement today was well timed, as it came 24 hours after the U. S. Congress passed legislation to further revitalize brownfields around the nation.


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