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U.S. EPA honors graduates of environmental job training program at ceremony

Release Date: 11/21/2013
Contact Information: David Yogi,, (415) 972-3350

Students prepared for employment within communities for environmental projects

(SAN FRANCISCO) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today will recognize 37 graduates from the Cypress Mandela Training Center for completing professional environmental remediation training at an award ceremony held at the State of California Transportation auditorium in Oakland, Calif.

Funded in part by a $200,000 grant from the EPA Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization’s Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWD/JT) program, students at the Cypress Mandela Training Center gained the training and expertise necessary to secure skilled jobs in environmental remediation, construction, and utility professions.

“These graduates will play a critical role in Bay Area environmental restoration efforts,” said Clancy Tenley, Assistant Director of EPA’s Superfund program for the Pacific Southwest. “As catalysts for change, they are a great example of community members who work for the betterment of their neighborhoods.”

Cypress Mandela provides training to low-income, unemployed and underemployed students. In addition to funding from EPA, Cypress Mandela leverages the support of many other organizations, including the Alameda County Justice and Sheriff Departments, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties Building Trades Associations, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).

“The Cypress Mandela Training Center has had a long standing relationship with the Environmental Protection Agency, which has proven to be one of the most beneficial partnerships that directly impacts the community,” said Art Shanks, Cypress Mandela Executive Director. “The funding that EPA has provided has served the community with effective training and education in the environmental sector. Post training, students are placed directly into employment, which reduces poverty and crime in our communities. I would like to say that it has truly been an honor and a pleasure to work with the EPA for the betterment of our communities.”

As part of the program, graduates earned professional certifications and completed multiple training sessions focused on environmental topics such as emergency preparedness, mold remediation, health hazard awareness, asbestos awareness, and hazardous material training.

Further, graduates completed two-weeks of “Life Skills” training to hone skills related to work readiness, job search and job retention, and confronting potential barriers to employment. Throughout the training, graduates also participated in weekly sessions to update resumes, engage in mock interviews, and conduct online job searches. As part of these sessions, some graduates also had the opportunity to interview with Bay Area environmental contractors in advance of the graduation.

“The graduates are putting their training to use and are currently working in the communities that they live in. There is nothing better than having a career and giving back to your neighborhood. That’s community and workforce development!” said Justin Real of PG&E.

Bay Area organizations have received more than $4.8 million in EPA job training funds since 1999 and, in 2013 alone, more than 165 people in the Bay Area have been trained to work in the environmental cleanup industry. As of May 2013, more than 11,000 Americans have completed training through the support of this program, of which, more than 8,000 have obtained employment in the environmental field.

For more information about EPA’s Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Program, visit:

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

For more information about the Cypress Mandela Training Center, visit: