Catalyzing Investment in Urban Sustainability
U.S.-Brazil Joint Initiative on
Urban Sustainability


Environmental Job Training

Environmental Workforce job training policies encourage hiring of local residents in the area of environmental management and remediation and response, in partnership with local training service providers.

Policy Overview

In the U.S., U.S. EPA's Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) Program is an example of this policy in action, supporting nonprofit and governmental entities as they develop environmental training programs to recruit, train, and place workers. Trainees gain the education and skills to secure employment in site assessment, cleanup, and a range of environmental careers, including those related to green infrastructure and green building. The policy links education and training to local labor market needs for environmental and building occupations, and also encourages training in skills necessary to support other remediation activities outside of brownfields.

How to Apply this Policy

The EWDJT model integrates several components that contribute to its success. It provides a focus on job placement for unemployed and underemployed individuals, including individuals from minority or low-income communities and individuals with significant barriers to employment (such as ex-offenders).

Local market and labor research is conducted in the targeted area to ensure job prospects for trainees. Applicants largely design their own curricula based on local hiring and employer needs.

In the case of EWDJT, U.S. EPA's investment helps leverage expertise and resources from environmental, public health, and occupational health and safety agencies; community-based workforce development organizations; labor organizations; and employers.

In addition, EWDJT grantees form partnerships with diverse groups of educators, employers, community organizations, and agencies active in addressing environmental and community development issues in their target areas. These partners bring experience in addressing brownfield and other environmental issues and knowledge of local economic development opportunities to the workforce development programs.

Workforce development organizations and labor, employment, and environment agencies that are planning for future labor demands can use the EWDJT approach to address unemployment in the areas of brownfield assessment and remediation, waste management and recycling, and green buildings and energy efficiency, besides other environmental job sectors. Rather than filling jobs with contractors from outside a community, this type of approach creates a locally skilled workforce and helps residents secure employment.

Contact Information
Joseph Bruss
U.S. EPA, Office of Brownfield and Land Revitalization
Phone: +1 (202) 566-2772

The U.S. EPA has funded 191 job training grants, which has led to training of over 10,000 individuals; more than 7,000 trainees obtained employment in the environmental field with average starting hourly wages of over $14. Key success stories include the Cypress Mandela Training Center in Oakland, CA, and Jobs for Youth in Boston.