EPA’s Brownfields Job Training grant to develop environmental skills for underemployed, unemployed residents
DENVER – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Montana a $198K Brownfields Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) grant to deliver an environmental job training program for unemployed and underemployed tribal members.
Salish Kootenai College is among 14 organizations receiving a total of $2.7 million in funding to provide job training programs and help individuals learn the skills needed to secure employment in the environmental field. These grants help prepare people for green jobs that reduce environmental contamination and provide more sustainable futures for the communities most affected by solid and hazardous waste contamination.
“Brownfields job training programs are a win-win for communities impacted by hazardous waste sites,” said U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “These job training programs can touch and change lives by providing valuable and marketable skills that also help protect our environment.”
“Job training programs are important to growing good-paying Montana jobs that maintain our pristine environment,” stated U.S. Senator Steve Daines.
Salish Kootenai College will use the EPA grant to train and place up to 30 graduates in local environmental jobs. The training program has been specifically designed to meet the needs that employers have expressed they are looking for in new hires. The program is comprised of three specialized tracks of instruction that include Emergency Management and First Response, Hazardous Materials Management, and Environmental Assessment. Specific topics include first aid and CPR, chemical safety, asbestos, lead abatement and renovation, mold assessment and remediation, methamphetamine inspection and assessment, environmental sampling techniques, underground storage tank removal, and vapor intrusion assessment and mitigation. The program also will feature non-EPA funded optional courses in entrepreneurship, including an introduction to small business management and marketing.
“Funding for this program will create training opportunities that do not currently exist in our region and will lead to employment,” said Dr. Sandra Boham, President of Salish Kootenai College. “SKC has partnered with employers such as NewFields and CSKT Housing to create a direct training-to-workforce pathway. This is an exciting and much needed program for our community and it is an integral part of our overall mission.”
Salish Kootenai College is targeting underemployed and unemployed residents, as well as military veterans of the Flathead Indian Reservation. Key partners include the Natural Resources Department and Economic Development Office of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, ACM, ALM Consulting LLC, Hydrometrics Inc., Salish and Kootenai Housing Authority, and Water Rights Inc.
For over two decades, EPA’s EWDJT program has helped put people to work by building a skilled workforce across the country. The program awards competitive grants to nonprofit organizations and other eligible entities to recruit, train and place unemployed and underemployed individuals. Individuals completing the training have often overcome a variety of barriers to employment. Many are from low-income neighborhoods. The training programs also serve dislocated workers who have lost their jobs as a result of manufacturing plant closures, minorities, tribal members, transitioning veterans, ex-offenders and other individuals who may have faced barriers to employment.
Since 1998, when the EWDJT grant program started, more than 274 grants have been awarded exceeding $57 million. Approximately 16,300 individuals have completed training, and of those, more than 11,900 individuals have been placed in full-time employment earning an average starting wage of over $14 an hour. This equates to a cumulative job placement rate of 73 percent of graduates.
For more information on EWDJT grantees, including past EWDJT grantees, please visit: