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EPA selects PUSH Buffalo to receive $200,000 brownfields job training grant to 'build skilled environmental workforce in economically distressed communities'

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Fri, Mar 12th 2021 11:15 am

On Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) of Buffalo is one of 18 organizations to receive a total of $3.3 million in grants for environmental job training programs across the country.

A press release stated, “Job training and workforce development are an important part of the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to advance economic opportunities and address environmental justice issues in underserved communities.

“PUSH Buffalo will receive a $200,000 grant for its program that trains under- and unemployed workers in Buffalo’s communities to be job-ready, find employment and build sustainable careers in fields like environmental remediation, green infrastructure, renewable energy and energy efficiency. This grant builds on one EPA awarded to PUSH Buffalo in 2017 and will prioritize program slots for Buffalo’s low-income residents.”

Acting EPA Regional Administrator Walter Mugdan said, “EPA’s brownfields job training grants enable organizations like PUSH Buffalo to transform lives by providing individuals the opportunity to gain meaningful long-term employment and a livable wage in an environmental field. Organizations like PUSH Buffalo do critical work to bring good paying jobs to their communities that also help make them safer and healthier places to live and work.”

Funded through the agency’s environmental workforce development and job training (EWDJT) program, these grants will provide funding to organizations that are “working to create a skilled workforce in communities where EPA brownfields assessment and cleanup activities are taking place. Rather than filling local jobs with contractors from distant cities, these organizations offer residents of communities historically affected by pollution, economic disinvestment, and contaminated brownfields properties an opportunity to gain the skills and certifications needed to secure local environmental work in their communities.”

Deputy Director of Administration for PUSH Buffalo Dawn Wells-Clyburn said, “We are so proud to be continuing the work of building an equitable workforce by helping marginalized workers access good green jobs. The support of the EPA will help PUSH Buffalo meet our community’s goals for achieving a just economy and resilient community here in Buffalo.”

Congressman Brian Higgins said, “PUSH Buffalo has been a powerful force in efforts to build stronger neighborhoods, and the award of this highly competitive grant through the EPA will continue to grow this transformative work. This federal investment has the dual benefit of training residents for the quality, in-demand jobs of today and tomorrow as well as building a cleaner, healthier community.”

The release noted “individuals completing a job training program funded by EPA typically graduate with a variety of certifications that improve their marketability and help ensure that employment opportunities are not just temporary contractual work, but long-term careers.”

This includes certifications in:

•Lead and asbestos abatement

•Hazardous waste operations and emergency response

•Mold remediation

•Environmental sampling and analysis

•Other environmental health and safety training

Since 1998, the agency’s EWDJT program has awarded more than 335 grants. With these grants, 18,541 individuals have been trained and 13,751 have been placed in careers related to land remediation and environmental health and safety, with an average hourly wage of over $14.

The organizations selected for funding plan to train approximately 900 individuals with many of the graduates moving into environmental jobs in their communities. In addition, 60% of these organizations plan to serve this country’s veterans.

For more information on the selected Brownfields EWDJT grant recipients, including past grantees, visit https://cfpub.epa.gov/bf_factsheets/index.cfm?grant_type_id=1003&grant_announcement_year=2018. For more information on this, and other types of brownfields grants, visit https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/environmental-workforce-development-and-job-training-ewdjt-grants.

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