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U.S. EPA awards $275,000 to two Bay Area organizations for environmental job training

Release Date: 4/1/2004
Contact Information: Laura Gentile, 415/947-4227 (

Money will be used to teach hazardous waste cleanup skills in Oakland, San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO -- Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded a collective $275,000 to two Bay area organizations to teach environmental cleanup job skills to people living near brownfields sites in San Francisco and Oakland.

The EPA awarded $125,000 to the Oakland Private Industry Council, Inc. and $150,000 to the Young Community Developers, Inc. of San Francisco.

The Oakland Council will train 120 students in hazardous waste cleanup, confined space entry, lead remediation, asbestos removal and alternative technologies. Students will be recruited from Oakland's inner-city, with an emphasis on recruiting minorities and women. The council will help students find jobs in the environmental field and will track their progress for one year following the 152-hour training course.

The Young Community Developers, Inc. of San Francisco will train 40 students in hazardous materials handling and safety, lead remediation, asbestos removal, general construction and underground storage tanks. Students will be recruited from Bayview Hunters Point and tracked for one year following the 320-hour training course. The city's First Source Hiring Program will help students find environmental jobs.

"These grants focus on achieving results," said Mike Leavitt, EPA's administrator in Washington DC. "They train people for real jobs, jobs that help restore neighborhoods, protect public health and build strong committees."

"This funding will provide valuable job skills for these inner-city communities," said Keith Takata, director of the Superfund program for EPA's Pacific Southwest region. "The brownfields law gives communities the tools they need to clean up old properties and return them to productive use."

Today’s announcement brings to 82 the number of grants awarded since the job training program started in 1998. Sixty-six pilots totaling $13.6 million are underway or complete; more than 1,800 participants have completed training; and more than 1,100 people have obtained employment in the environmental field. Applicants for the job training program must be located in or near a community that currently receives, or has received, financial assistance from EPA for brownfields-related activities.

Since 2003, the EPA has provided more than $75 million in all types of brownfields grants to states, local governments and non-profits under the brownfields law. The brownfields program has also leveraged more than $5 billion in funds from less than $800 million in increased value from redeveloped property. Every acre of reclaimed brownfields saves 4.5 acres of greenspace such as park and recreation areas.

Brownfields are abandoned, idle or underused properties with a real or perceived risk from environmental contamination. The brownfields program provides communities with tools to reduce environmental and health risks, reuse abandoned properties, take advantage of existing infrastructure, create a stronger local tax base, attract new businesses and jobs and create new recreational areas.

More information on all the grant recipients is available at: