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EPA Visits STRIVE/East Harlem’s Green Job Training Program; Training Made Possible By Brownfields Grants

Release Date: 10/27/2009
Contact Information: Beth Totman (212) 637-3662, totman.elizabeth@epa.gov; See below for contact information for STRIVE.

(New York, NY) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Acting Administrator George Pavlou paid a visit to STRIVE/East Harlem Employment Services, Inc. today to speak with students and community members about the importance of green jobs. STRIVE was a recent recipient of $500,000 in grant funding, which has gone towards training New Yorkers for jobs assessing and cleaning up brownfields sites. Funding for these grants is supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

“In many ways, EPA’s Brownfields program was an idea ahead of its time,” said Mr. Pavlou. “It was one of the first big national programs to put money into the hands of organizations and local governments that not only creates jobs and teaches valuable skills to those seeking employment, but also ultimately cleans up our communities.”

STRIVE has a successful, established job training program and they plan to train 150 participants and place 113 graduates in environmental careers. The training program, which is two 12-week, 310-hour cycles per year, includes courses in HAZWOPER, OSHA 10-hour construction health and safety, confined space entry, and photovoltaic installation. STRIVE is in East Harlem where residents are disproportionately impacted by poverty and environmental hazards.

Since 1998, EPA has awarded more than $25 million in brownfields job training funds. More than 5,000 people have completed EPA-funded training programs, with more than 3,250 obtaining employment in the environmental fields, earning an average wage of $13.81 per hour. EPA established the Brownfields Job Training Program to help residents take advantage of jobs created by the assessment, cleanup and sustainable reuse of brownfields sites and to ensure that the economic benefits derived from brownfields redevelopment remain in the affected communities.

Brownfields are sites where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. In 2002, the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act (Brownfields Law) was passed. The Brownfields Law expanded the definition of what is considered a brownfield, so communities may now focus on mine-scarred lands or sites contaminated by petroleum or the manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs. EPA’s Brownfields Program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites.

President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on February 17, 2009, and has directed that the Recovery Act be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability. To that end, the American people can see how every dollar is being invested at http://www.recovery.gov.

Additional information on EPA Region 2 brownfields activities is available at http://www.epa.gov/region02/brownfields/

Information on ARRA brownfields job training grants and other EPA Brownfields activities under the Recovery Act: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/eparecovery/index.htm

Information on brownfields job training grants: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/job.htm

For more information about getting involved with STRIVE's programs, please email info@strivenewyork.org or call 212-360-1100.

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