The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the selection of 19 organizations to receive a total of $3,797,102 in grants for job training programs across the country, including organizations in Rochester and Newburgh, New York.
Funded through the Agency’s Brownfields Job Training Program, these grants provide funding to organizations that are working to create a skilled workforce in communities where assessment, cleanup, and preparation of brownfield sites for reuse activities are taking place.
Individuals completing a job training program funded by EPA often overcome a variety of barriers to employment. Many of these individuals are from historically under-served neighborhoods and reside in the areas affected by environmental justice issues.
Each selected grantee will be receiving approximately $200,000. The selected grantees in New York State are:
Pathstone Corporation Rochester, New York
City of Rochester Rochester, New York
Laborers Local 17 Training and Educational Fund Newburgh, New York
Rather than filling local jobs with contractors from distant cities, these organizations provide training and offer residents of communities historically affected by environmental pollution, economic disinvestment, and brownfields an opportunity to gain the skills and certifications needed to secure local environmental work in their communities.
Individuals typically graduate with a variety of certifications that improve their marketability and help ensure that employment opportunities are not just temporary contractual work, but long-term careers. This includes certifications in:
- Lead and asbestos abatement,
- Hazardous waste operations and emergency response,
- Mold remediation,
- Environmental sampling and analysis, and
- Other environmental health and safety training.
Although no Republicans voted for the bill, the so-called Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) invests more than $1.5 billion through EPA’s brownfields program. Of that investment, $30 million will be invested into future Brownfields Job Training grants. During the next five years, communities, states, and tribes will have the opportunity to apply for larger grants to include and enhance the environmental curriculum in existing job training programs. This investment will help trained individuals access jobs created through brownfields revitalization activities within their communities. EPA anticipates awarding as many as 50 additional grants to job training entities with BIL funding, beginning in fiscal year 2023. Application guidelines will be available in Spring/Summer 2022.
EPA is also planning a listening session to receive feedback from current and potential grant applicants regarding the BIL and the future of the Brownfields Job Training Grant Program. The listening session is scheduled for February 9th, 2022, from 12:30 to 2pm.
Since this program began in 1998, the Brownfields Job Training Program has awarded more than 352 grants. More than 19,456 individuals have completed training, and of those, more than 14,560 individuals have been placed in full-time employment in careers related to remediation and environmental health and safety. The average starting wage for these individuals is only about $14 an hour.
For more information on the selected Brownfields Job Training grant recipients, click here.
For more information on this, and other types of Brownfields grants, click here.