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EPA to Provide Grants to Support Brownfields Job Training: Programs will Prepare Upstate New York Residents for Green Jobs

Release Date: 04/14/2010
Contact Information: Beth Totman (212) 637-3662,

(New York, NY) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the Research Foundation of the State University of New York in Buffalo and the Workforce Investment Board of Herkimer, Madison and Oneida Counties, New York have each been selected to receive $200,000 in federal grant funds to train local community members in environmental job skills. The two $200,000 job training grants are being awarded under EPA’s brownfields program. Brownfields are abandoned or underused industrial or commercial sites at which redevelopment or expansion is hampered by environmental contamination. Both organizations will recruit students from among unemployed and underemployed residents in local areas, and provide them with the skills they need to find environmental jobs cleaning up contaminated sites in their communities.

“Brownfields job training grants provide resources to help people in economically struggling communities acquire the skills they need to land jobs performing environmental cleanups,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck. “The appeal of the brownfields job training program is that it provides essential training for people seeking employment, and opportunities to use the new skills to improve communities.”

In 2002, the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act was adopted by Congress to help states and communities around the country clean up and revitalize brownfields sites. Under this law, EPA provides financial assistance to eligible applicants through four competitive grant programs: assessment grants, revolving loan fund grants, cleanup grants, and job training grants. EPA’s Brownfields Program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites.

Since 1998, EPA has awarded more than $33 million in brownfields job training funds. The program prepares workers for employment and ensures that the economic benefits derived from brownfields redevelopment remain in the affected communities. As of February 2010, more than 5,300 individuals have been trained through the Brownfields Job Training Grant Program, and 3,400 have been placed in full-time employment in the environmental field with an average starting hourly wage of $14.65.

Organizations selected to receive brownfields job training grants are:

The Research Foundation of the State University of New York, Buffalo, NY

The foundation plans to train students in skills including, asbestos abatement work and construction safety, as well as environmental sampling, remediation technology and an overview of brownfields. Students will be recruited from the cities of Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Lackawanna and Niagara County. The region has several contaminated facilities and properties that need to be cleaned up.

Workforce Investment Board of Herkimer, Madison, and Oneida Counties, NY

The Board plans to train students in health and safety training, lead and asbestos abatement, sustainable construction, fork lift
operator training, and energy efficiency training. The program will recruit students from the city of Utica to participate in this job training. There are 11 brownfields in the assessment or cleanup phase within one mile of the city’s urban center, and the need for trained workers trained with environmental skills is crucial to restoring the city.

For more information on EPA’s Brownfields program, visit: