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Florida Community College at Jacksonville, FL Will Provide Green Job Training through EPA Brownfields Grants

Release Date: 08/06/2009
Contact Information: Laura Niles, (404) 562-8353, niles.laura@epa.gov

(Atlanta, Ga. – Aug. 6, 2009) EPA has selected Florida Community College at Jacksonville, Fla. to receive $500,000 in grant funding to help train community members for jobs assessing and cleaning up brownfields sites. Funding for these grants is supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

“This Recovery Act funding will train people for real jobs that help restore their neighborhoods,” said Stan Meiburg, EPA Acting Regional Administrator in Atlanta. “It will go a long way in protecting public health and the environment and providing economic benefits through cleanup and redevelopment of properties that have been sitting idle due to real or even perceived contamination.”

The Florida Community College at Jacksonville has partnered with the City of Jacksonville, 11 environmental consultants and remediation firms, and a number of grassroots community organizations and proposes to train up to 170 low-income residents for environmental remediation careers, offering them potential employment at a number of cleanup sites throughout the area.

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 Recovery.gov.

Additional information on EPA Region 4 brownfields activities is available at http://www.epa.gov/region4/waste/bf

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