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EPA Grant Helps Newark and Camden Address Two Serious Issues -- Youth Unemployment and Environmental Contamination

Release Date: 08/14/1998
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(#98104) New York, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the award of a $200,000 grant under the Brownfields Job Training and Development Pilot program to the New Jersey Youth Corps. The Youth Corps, a project of the New Jersey Department of Education working in partnership with the International Youth Organization, has for ten years taught high-school dropouts, ages 16 to 25, marketable job skills, and helped them receive their GED or high school diplomas. With the award, the Youth Corps will begin a new pilot program to teach 30 young people in Newark and Camden basic environmental clean-up skills related to brownfields, giving them the qualifications needed to pursue environmental careers. With high school dropout rates in Camden and Newark 70% and 50% respectively, and hundreds of acres of environmentally-sensitive brownfields in each city, a program addressing both of these issues is particularly relevant.

"Brownfields job training projects make environmental and economic sense," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Region 2 Administrator. "They are an exciting new component of our efforts to revitalize the brownfields in urban areas. We look forward to seeing positive results in Newark and Camden."

EPA's Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative addresses the problem of abandoned or under-used sites which remain under-developed because of real or perceived environmental contamination. Past occupants of brownfield sites are most frequently manufacturing and industrial companies, which in the cases of Newark and Camden, operated during earlier periods of industrial prosperity. Many companies later abandoned their facilities, leaving various levels of contamination behind. EPA, in providing funding to organizations like the New Jersey Youth Corps, hopes to create a trained work force that can effectively work to restore brownfields for reuse.

The New Jersey Youth Corps brownfields job training pilot will begin in September 1998, and will serve 15 young adults in Camden and 15 in Newark. Over two years, participants will receive instruction leading to a high school diploma, personal counseling, and classroom and hands-on training on how to evaluate and remedy brownfields sites. Environmental training will be provided by the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Upon completion of the program, participants will receive employment placement assistance, as they seek to use their new skills in jobs specializing in environmental clean-ups.

This award is one of 11 nation-wide job training pilot grants totaling $2 million announced today by EPA. To date, EPA has awarded $2.6 million to cities, counties, and towns in New Jersey for brownfield redevelopment assistance.

For more information contact:
Nina Habib Spencer, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3670 FAX: 212-637-5046 E-Mail: