Department of Environmental Affairs
Brownfields Redevelopment Assessment, Re-mediation Planning Implementation and Redevelopment.
"Job training programs such as this one provide local residents with the skills they need to participate in the cleanup of brownfields in their own communities - and to pursue careers in the environmental field," Administrator Whitman told students. "Brownfields are eyesores in our otherwise vibrant city neighborhoods and we have to work hard to clean them up and turn them into community assets. When you look at an abandoned gas station or an old warehouse, I know you see the same thing that I do - a playground, a doctor=doctors office, or a ball field. I appreciate your dedication to making these kinds of transformations possible."
The job training grants, totaling $200,000 each, are used to teach environmental-cleanup job skills to individuals living in low-income areas in the vicinity of brownfields sites. The majority of participants who successfully complete the training program go on to pursue careers with environmental firms and organizations. Since the program started in 1998, 566 trainees, the majority of whom are minority, have been hired at an average hourly entry-level wage of $12.12.
Brownfields are abandoned, lightly contaminated properties often found in economically distressed areas, that can be returned to economically thriving, community hubs. Since 1993, the EPA has taken significant steps to clean up brownfields and return them to productive use, awarding over $200 million in grants to cities, counties, tribes, states, non-profit organizations and educational institutions nationwide.
According to an independent study conducted by the Council for Urban Economic Development, the revitalization of brownfields has created over 22,000 permanent jobs and leveraged $2.48 in private investment for every dollar spent by federal, state or local governments. A recent study by George Washington University found that for every acre of brownfields redeveloped, 4.5 acres of undeveloped land is saved.
With the $200,000 Brownfields Job Training and Development grant, Groundwork Providence Inc. plans to train 90 participants recruited from underemployed or unemployed residents of Providence's three Enterprise Community neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are predominantly minority and neighborhood poverty rates range as high as 47%. The city contains hundreds of manufacturing mills, most of which are now under used or abandoned. Approximately 150 mills are being considered for economic development or historic preservation. Providence is a leader in the preservation and reuse of historical industrial properties, and the state has a new program that offers tax incentives to businesses reusing vacant mill space. The 252-hour environmental technician training program will consist of health and safety, lead abatement, asbestos abatement, and innovative re mediation technologies. The Providence Department of Planning and Development has committed to placing graduates on its list of first source hires.