WASHINGTON – Today in Atlanta, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced that EPA is awarding more than $6.2 million in national environmental workforce development and job training grants to 21 grantees to recruit, train, and place unemployed, predominantly low-income residents in polluted areas. Administrator Jackson was joined by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed at the press conference where the two highlighted the impact the investment will have on five targeted low-income Atlanta neighborhoods that will benefit from funding and training under the grant program.
“These job training grants are not just helping to create good jobs, they’re helping create good, green jobs that protect the health of local families and residents and prepare communities for continued economic growth. We’re looking to the people and community organizations who know these areas best to find the places where green jobs and environmental protection are going to do the most good,” said EPA Administrator Jackson. “Creating good green jobs proves that we don’t have to choose between cleaning up our air and our water or creating jobs in our communities. We’re showing that it’s possible to do both at the same time.”
“Today marks a great day for the city and for the future of workforce development in Atlanta,” said Mayor Reed. “Congratulations to the Center for Working Families on being awarded this grant. I also want to thank EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson for making this important announcement in Atlanta. The EPA’s focus on developing more green jobs is in lock-step with my administration’s priorities, and will helps us to build a green workforce and create sustainable jobs.”
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.
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 on 9-11.
The agency’s Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Program helps provide unemployed individuals with the necessary skills to secure full time, sustainable jobs that help to clean up toxic chemicals in communities, advance the country’s clean energy projects and support environmental initiatives. Trainees include hard to place residents that live in the disadvantaged communities that will benefit the most through these projects.
Twenty-one governmental entities and non-profit organizations in twenty states are receiving up to $300,000 each to train individuals in the cleanup of contaminated sites and in health and safety, while also providing training in other environmental skills, such as recycling center operator training, green building design, energy efficiency, weatherization, solar installation, construction and demolition debris recycling, emergency response, and native plant revegetation.
More information on environmental workforce development and job training grants: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/job.htm
More information on EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response: http://www.epa.gov/oswer