EPA Selects PUSH Buffalo to Receive $200,000 Brownfields Job Training Grant to Build a Skilled Environmental Workforce in Economically Distressed Communities

News Releases from Region 02

03/12/2021

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NEW YORK – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) of Buffalo is one of 18 organizations to receive a total of $3.3 million in grants for environmental job training programs across the country. Job training and workforce development are an important part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance economic opportunities and address environmental justice issues in underserved communities.

PUSH Buffalo will receive a $200,000 grant for its program that trains under- and unemployed workers in Buffalo’s communities to be job-ready, find employment, and build sustainable careers in fields like environmental remediation, green infrastructure, renewable energy, and energy efficiency. This grant builds on one EPA awarded to PUSH Buffalo in 2017 and will prioritize program slots for Buffalo’s low-income residents.

“EPA’s brownfields job training grants enable organizations like PUSH Buffalo to transform lives by providing individuals the opportunity to gain meaningful long-term employment and a livable wage in an environmental field,” said Walter Mugdan, acting EPA Regional Administrator. “Organizations like PUSH Buffalo do critical work to bring good paying jobs to their communities that also help make them safer and healthier places to live and work.”

Funded through the Agency’s successful Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) Program, these grants will provide funding to organizations that are working to create a skilled workforce in communities where EPA brownfields assessment and cleanup activities are taking place. Rather than filling local jobs with contractors from distant cities, these organizations offer residents of communities historically affected by pollution, economic disinvestment, and contaminated brownfields properties an opportunity to gain the skills and certifications needed to secure local environmental work in their communities.

Dawn Wells-Clyburn, Deputy Director of Administration for PUSH Buffalo said, “We are so proud to be continuing the work of building an equitable workforce by helping marginalized workers access good green jobs. The support of the EPA will help PUSH Buffalo meet our community’s goals for achieving a just economy and resilient community here in Buffalo.”

Congressman Brian Higgins said, “PUSH Buffalo has been a powerful force in efforts to build stronger neighborhoods and the award of this highly competitive grant through the EPA will continue to grow this transformative work. This federal investment has the dual benefit of training residents for the quality, in-demand jobs of today and tomorrow as well as building a cleaner, healthier community.”

“The announcement of EPA’s Brownfields Environmental Workforce Development Job Training Grant is an important step to train workers with in-demand skills in communities where brownfields and cleanup activities are taking place,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “This will build the strong, skilled, and diverse American workforce that will create sustainable and good-paying jobs.”

Individuals completing a job training program funded by EPA 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.

Since 1998, the Agency’s EWDJT Program has awarded more than 335 grants. With these grants, 18,541 individuals have been trained and 13,751 have been placed in careers related to land remediation and environmental health and safety, with an average hourly wage of over $14.

The organizations selected for funding today plan to train approximately 900 individuals with many of the graduates moving into environmental jobs in their communities. In addition, sixty percent of these organizations plan to serve our country’s veterans.

For more information on the selected Brownfields EWDJT grant recipients, including past grantees, please visit: https://cfpub.epa.gov/bf_factsheets/index.cfm?grant_type_id=1003&grant_announcement_year=2018

For more information on this, and other types of Brownfields grants, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/environmental-workforce-development-and-job-training-ewdjt-grants

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, http://facebook.com/eparegion2.

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