EPA Selects Three New York City Organizations for Brownfields Job Training Grants to Build a Skilled Environmental Workforce in Economically Distressed Communities

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NEW YORK – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that three New York City entities are among 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.

The HOPE Program, Inc., of Brooklyn and the Bronx, the Research Foundation at The City University of New York based in Manhattan and part of The City College of New York, and St. Nick’s Alliance of Brooklyn will each receive an Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training grant (EWDJT) of or close to $200,000 for programs to create a skilled workforce in communities where brownfields assessment and cleanup activities are taking place.

“EPA’s brownfields job training grants will enable these organizations to transform the lives of New Yorkers 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. “These three grantees do critical work to bring good paying jobs to communities across New York City that also help make them safer and healthier places to live and work.”

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.

Jennifer Mitchell, Executive Director of The HOPE Program, Inc., said, "Support from the EPA opens so many doors for the jobseekers we serve, providing them with the qualifications to build lasting, impactful careers that contribute to more sustainable and environmentally just communities."

Angelo Lampousis, Ph.D., Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Lecturer at The City College of New York (CCNY) said, “I am confident that this 2021-2014 EWDJT grant, the first of its kind for CCNY, will critically strengthen the continuing education component on campus and leave a lasting legacy on professional training for years to come. Overall, for CCNY with its record of being an upward mobility machine, this EWDJT grant will help propel ever more low-income residents of the South Bronx and beyond into the middle class, while at the same time addressing ongoing environmental justice concerns.”

Ed Brittenham, Chair of St. Nicks Alliance Business Advisory Council said, "St. Nicks Alliance is thrilled to be selected once again by the EPA to provide environmental remediation training in North Brooklyn, continuing a 20-year partnership. The important skills taught in this program enable participants to build successful careers protecting the environment and keeping our communities healthy and safe.”

“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.”

“South Bronx residents have seen first hand the devastation brought on from years of environmental racism and policies that polluted our communities. For too long, the federal government has not taken an interest in reversing these policies and it is encouraging that the Biden-Harris Administration is now committed to empowering communities to address pollution and economic disinvestment. These grants will provide much needed resources to organizations that are at the forefront of environmental justice and providing good-paying green jobs to Bronx residents,” said Congressman Ritchie Torres.

Grantee program information:

  • The HOPE Program, Inc., ($199,933 grant) is a prior recipient of EPA Brownfields job training grants and will conduct trainings in the South Bronx, including an environmental literacy course to familiarize students with the environmental issues affecting their communities. Students will earn relevant federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration certifications on construction and general industry; and for working in confined spaces and with scaffolding.
  • The Research Foundation at The City University of New York ($200,000 grant) is a first time Brownfields job training grantee and will conduct a series of training and certification courses in 2021 and 2022 in the South Bronx. Participants in these courses will gain skills and knowledge related to environmental sampling and site assessments and federal standards for workplace safety and hazardous waste operations and emergency response.
  • St. Nick’s Alliance ($200,000 grant), also a repeat Brownfields job training grant recipient, will continue to provide training and certification courses to people in Brooklyn that will prepare them to work at remediation and construction sites following graduation. These courses include a hazardous materials training known as HAZWOPER and a health and safety course and site safety curriculum for OSHA regulations, all of which are required for working at cleanup sites.

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

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