Monday, October 28, 2019

EPA Awards Brownfields-Related Job Training Grant To Earth Conservancy, Luzerne County

On October 28, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the award of a $200,000 grant to the nonprofit organization Earth Conservancy in Luzerne County for brownfields-related job training.
The Earth Conservancy is one of 26 organizations nationwide to receive a total of $5.1 million in grants for environmental job training programs. 
Funded through the agency’s successful Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Program, these grants will help to create a skilled workforce in communities where EPA brownfields assessment and cleanup activities are taking place.
In coordination with Penn State University Wilkes-Barre, Earth Conservancy plans to train and place at least 33 of 50 participants in environmental jobs. 
This training will build on the successful program they developed under its first EPA jobs training grant that was recognized with Pennsylvania Governor’s 2019 Award for Environmental Excellence.
“EPA is proud to support Earth Conservancy’s environmental job training program where formerly unemployed, or underemployed residents can gain new and valuable skills to work on brownfields projects,” said Cosmo Servidio, EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator. “Earth Conservancy has already reclaimed thousands of acres of mine-scarred lands. Additional environmental cleanup is underway and program graduates will have the skills that local companies need.”
The job training program has provided economic and environmental benefits in Luzerne County.  It has also raised awareness of the challenges related to abandoned mine lands.
Click Here for more information on the Earth Conservancy workforce development programs.
EPA has also previously awarded the Earth Conservancy eight EPA Brownfields cleanup grants totaling $3.9 million to cleanup more than 15,000 acres of mine scarred land.  
This summer in Scranton, Regional Administrator Servidio announced an EPA Brownfields Cleanup grant for $500,000.  Earth Conservancy’s job training grantees learn skills to perform Brownfields cleanup work for the site.
Since EPA’s Job Training Program began in 1998, more than 288 grants have been awarded. More than 18,000 individuals have completed training, and of those, more than 13,679 individuals have been placed in full-time employment earning an average starting wage of more than $14 an hour. 
Rather than filling local jobs with contractors from distant cities, EPA created its environmental job training program to offer residents of communities historically affected by environmental pollution, economic disinvestment, and brownfields an opportunity to gain the skills and certifications needed to secure local environmental work in their communities. 
All 26 selected programs plan to serve communities with census tracts designated as federal Opportunity Zones – an economically-distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.
Click Here for more information on all 26 job training grants awarded.
For more information on this, and other brownfields-related grants, visit EPA’s Brownfields Grants webpage. 
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[Posted: October 28, 2019]

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