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U.S. EPA Honors Bay Area Graduates of Brownfields Job Training Program

Release Date: 07/18/2013
Contact Information: David Yogi,, (415) 972-3350

33 graduates recognized at ceremony in Oakland, Calif.

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency joins Oakland-based Cypress Mandela Training Center, Inc. in congratulating 33 graduates who completed Cypress Mandela’s Environmental and Pre-Apprenticeship training programs. These programs, funded in part by EPA’s Brownfields Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training program, are designed to provide minority and low-income students the skills and professional certifications necessary to enter the environmental and construction job markets.

“Through EPA’s job training program, today’s graduates gained skills that will help improve communities affected by environmental contamination,” said Enrique Manzanilla, EPA’s Superfund Division Director for the Pacific Southwest. “Our long-standing partnership with Cypress Mandela has gone a long way to train local community members for jobs in the critical fields of environmental cleanup and urban redevelopment.”

Graduates will work with contractors on local construction and remediation projects in the Bay Area. For example, past graduates from Cypress Mandela have worked on an innovative residential cleanup in Oakland using fish bones to cleanup the lead contamination in the soil.

Since 1998, EPA has awarded $1.2 million in grants to Cypress Mandela to train local community members on environmental site remediation work skills. Skills learned can be applied to a wide range of professions in the environmental field, such as surveying, soil sampling, decontamination, weatherization, recycling, transformer maintenance, and reconstruction work. Cypress Mandela also partners with several other organizations whose funding supports the center.

“We deeply appreciate our partnership with EPA. Federal support for professional job training helps our community fight crime and poverty simultaneously by putting people to work in jobs with a solid career path,” said Art Shanks, Cypress Mandela’s Executive Director.

EPA’s Brownfields Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training program provides grants to local non-profit organizations to recruit, train, and place predominantly low-income and minority, unemployed and under-employed people living in Environmental Justice communities. On the morning of July 18, before the graduation, Cypress Mandela will hold interviews for their next class of trainees.

In 2013, $3.2 million in funds were awarded nationally under the Workforce Development and Job Training program. As of May 2013, more than 11,000 Americans have completed training through the support of the EWDJT Program, of which, more than 8,000 have obtained employment in the environmental field.

For more information about the Training Center and the interview process, visit:

For more information on EPA’s Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training program, visit:

For more information on EPA’s Brownfields program, visit: