EPA announces green jobs training for South Tucson // local graduates to clean up contaminated city sites
SAN FRANCISCO -- Today in South Tucson, the EPA awarded a $300,000 grant to the City for environmental workforce development and job training to recruit, train, and place unemployed, predominantly low-income residents in jobs to clean up polluted areas.
The funding is part of a national award of more than $6.2 million to 21 grantees throughout the country. The training program will put 39 trainees through a 28-week training cycle that will include courses on hazardous waste operations, asbestos and lead inspections, underground storage tank operation and cleanup, and green and alternative cleanup practices.
“These job training grants are not just helping to create jobs, they’re helping create green jobs that protect the health of local families and residents and prepare communities for continued economic growth,” said Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator for EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “Creating green jobs proves that we don’t have to choose between cleaning up our air and our water or creating jobs in our communities. It’s possible to do both at the same time.”
“The City of South Tucson values the investment the EPA has made and continues to make in this community. The City has been successful in the management of previously funded Brownfields Community Wide Assessment grants, the most recent being funded with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds,” said South Tucson Mayor Jennifer Eckstrom. “We are confident that similar successes will be attained with this grant because of our community's needs and our preparation in developing and implementing it. Our residents, community organizations, and employers look forward to working with the EPA to change lives and substantially improve our city.”
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, energy auditing and weatherization, as well as solar panel installations and green building techniques. Graduates use these skills to improve the environment and people’s health while supporting economic development in their communities. The program has also trained and helped employ residents in the Gulf Coast responding to and cleaning up the BP oil spill, revitalizing New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, and aiding in the response and clean up of the World Trade Center.
Since 1998, EPA has awarded more than $35 million under the Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Program. As of May 2011, more than 6,683 individuals have been trained through the program, and more than 4,400 have been placed in full-time employment in the environmental field with an average starting hourly wage of $14.65. The development of this green workforce will allow the trainees to develop skills that will make them competitive in the construction and redevelopment fields. Trainees are often residents who live in the disadvantaged communities that will benefit the most through these projects.