BOSTON, Mass. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing a total of $317,000 to three Rhode Island organizations. One grant will provide job training for environmental work, and two grants will help address urban water quality issues, all of which will contribute to cleaner, healthier communities.
Under EPA’s Brownfields “Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training” program, a $200,000 EPA grant will assist Groundwork Providence to train 54 students, and place at least 45 graduates in environmental jobs. Groundwork Providence will track graduates for at least one year to assist students’ transition to the workforce.
The training program includes 40-hour HAZWOPER, Underground Storage Tank leak prevention, solid waste management and recycling, wastewater management, lead abatement supervisor, innovative treatment technologies, construction safety and innovative technologies for water issues. In addition, supplemental training in integrated pest management, wastewater treatment operator, or underground storage tank operator will be offered to select students. Participants who complete the core training program will earn six state or federal certifications. Groundwork Providence is targeting unemployed and underemployed residents of Providence, Woonsocket, Central Falls, and Pawtucket, and will partner with the Providence Housing Authority, Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston, Family Success Centers, and the West Elmwood Housing Corp.
“EPA’s Brownfield Job Training grants can be a real catalyst helping to change peoples’ lives for the better,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Investing to provide people with the skills to earn a good living are also helping to protect the health of the local community by targeting historically disadvantaged neighborhoods where environmental cleanups and jobs are often most needed.”
Since 1998, EPA has awarded more than $42 million nationally under the Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training program. As of June 2012, approximately 10,300 individuals had completed training and approximately 7,300 obtained employment in the environmental field, with an average starting hourly wage of $14.12. The development of this green workforce will allow the trainees to develop skills that will make them competitive in the construction and redevelopment fields.
Graduates of the program are equipped with skills and certifications in various environmental fields including lead and asbestos abatement, environmental site sampling, construction and demolition debris recycling, underground storage tank removal, ecological restoration, and green building techniques. Graduates use these skills to improve the environment and people’s health while supporting economic development in their communities.
SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency