Biden-Harris Administration Announces Major Grant to Recruit and Utica, New York Workers for Community Revitalization and Cleanup Projects as Part of Investing in America Agenda | US EPA

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Biden-Harris Administration Announces Major Grant to Recruit and Utica, New York Workers for Community Revitalization and Cleanup Projects as Part of Investing in America Agenda | US EPA


Latest funding for EPA’s Brownfields Job Training Grants is supported by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and will boost workforce training in underserved and overburdened communities

NEW YORK (December 8, 2023) – Recently, the United States. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the selection of Workforce Development Board of Herkimer, Madison and Oneida Counties to receive a total of $500,000 for environmental job training programs as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. The grants through EPA’s Brownfields Job Training Program will help recruit, train, and place workers for community revitalization and cleanup projects at brownfield sites across Herkimer, Madison and Oneida Counties.

This initiative aims to provide specialized environmental job training for 100 students, with an ambitious goal to place 90 graduates in relevant roles.

The comprehensive training program will include 189 hours of instruction, covering key areas such as 40-Hour HAZWOPER, OSHA Lead in Construction, OSHA Construction Industry Health and Safety Program, OSHA Confined Space, EPA Lead Renovation, Repair, and Repainting, and more. Successful completion of the program will result in students earning up to four state and two federal certifications.

Workforce Development Board of Herkimer, Madison and Oneida is specifically targeting students within the City of Utica, with a focus on underrepresented and historically marginalized populations, providing them with an opportunity to gain valuable skills and improve their employment prospects.

This initiative is supported by key partners including Oneida County Workforce Development, Mohawk Valley Community College, Rochester Specialty Contractors, Ambient Environmental, Indium Corporation, Central New York Labor Council, Oneida County Health Department, Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority, Midtown Utica Community Center, Mohawk Valley Latino Center, NAACP, and Hope Chapel AME Zion Church.

“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is having a powerful, real-world impact on the ground, creating good-paying jobs and revitalizing communities,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has supercharged our Brownfields program, enabling EPA to invest in the next generation of environmental workers to take on the much-needed work of cleaning up legacy pollution in communities across America.”

“EPA is thrilled to award this grant to the Workforce Development Board of Herkimer, Madison and Oneida Counties and its partners to help train and prepare the next wave of local workers for opportunities in the Brownfields sector,” said EPA Region 2 Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “Through the cleanup and revitalization of brownfield sites, communities can put underutilized properties back to good use. Reclaiming these sites benefits the community and its residents, our economy, and our environment.”

“This is a win-win: investing in getting youth the hands-on skills they need to get good-paying jobs and helping clean up our communities from Utica to NYC,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “I am proud to help deliver this federal funding, which will help train hundreds of students in New York for environmental jobs, and I will never stop fighting to address environmental justice issues faced by New York’s underserved communities.” 

“Environmental research is critical to our future and the sustainability of our communities. I was proud to help secure this funding in Congress and commend the EPA for awarding the Research Foundation of the City College of New York with this significant investment,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat. “Investing today will provide vital training and job opportunities for 84 students in Harlem, empowering them to pursue careers in the environmental field, while helping to bolster their future as well as our planet.”

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “President Biden, EPA Administrator Regan, and EPA Region 2 Administrator Garcia recognize the importance of growing New York’s environmental workforce to protect public health and help revitalize communities. DEC applauds the Biden-Harris Administration for awarding the Research Foundation of the City College of New York and the Workforce Development Board of Herkimer, Madison, and Oneida Counties to help create brighter futures for New Yorkers, particularly those from underserved communities, and we look forward to continuing to work with local, state, and federal partners to advance workforce development opportunities across the state.” 

These grants will provide funding to organizations that are working to create a skilled workforce in communities where assessment, cleanup, and preparation of brownfield sites for reuse activities are taking place. Individuals completing a job training program funded by EPA often overcome a variety of barriers to employment and several are from historically underserved neighborhoods or reside in the areas that are affected by environmental justice issues.

High-quality 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.  All of the FY24 Brownfields Job Training Program applications selected have proposed to work in areas that include disadvantaged communities as defined by the Climate & Economic Justice Screening Tool, delivering on President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative which aims to deliver at least 40% of the benefits of certain government investments to underserved and overburdened communities. 

Under the Brownfields Job Training Program, individuals 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 and high-quality environmental 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 

For more information on the selected Brownfields Job Training Grant recipients, including past Grant recipients, please visit EPA’s Grant Factsheet Tool.

Background

President Biden’s leadership and bipartisan congressional action have delivered the single-largest investment ever made in United States. Brownfields infrastructure. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests more than $1.5 billion through EPA’s highly successful Brownfields Program, which is helping more communities than ever before begin to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by the legacy pollution at brownfield sites. Recently’s funding for Brownfields Job Training grants comes from this historic investment, which is allowing more communities, states, and Tribes to access larger grants to build and enhance the environmental curriculum in job training programs to support job creation and community revitalization at brownfield sites. Ultimately, this investment will help trained individuals access jobs created through Brownfields revitalization activities within their communities.

Since 1998, EPA has announced 414 grants totaling over $100.5 million through Brownfield Job Training Programs. With these grants, more than 21,500 individuals have completed training and over 16,370 individuals have been placed in careers related to land remediation and environmental health and safety. The average starting wage for these individuals is over $15 an hour.  

For more information on this, and other types of Brownfields Grants, please visit EPA’s Brownfields webpage.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter and visit our Facebook page. For more information about EPA Region 2, visit our website.

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