Agency is awarding more than $6.2 million to recruit, train and place unemployed residents in polluted areas
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 residents in polluted areas.
Jackson was joined by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed at a 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.
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 Sept. 11, 2001.
The agency’s workforce program helps provide unemployed individuals with the necessary skills to secure full-time, sustainable jobs that help to cleanup 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.