|The Missouri Career Center in Springfield has been selected to receive a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to recruit, train and place local unemployed and underemployed individuals in full-time sustainable green jobs in a range of environmental fields. The grant comes from EPA’s Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) program.
Announcement of the grant was made in Los Angeles by EPA Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus, the top official of EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, as part of a $3.5 million grant package being distributed to 18 communities nationwide.
Operated by the city of Springfield’s Department of Workforce Development, the Missouri Career Center at 2900 E. Sunshine St. serves Greene and six other surrounding Ozarks counties: Christian, Dallas, Polk, Stone, Taney and Webster.
This EWDJT grant will prioritize the green job training services to eligible residents of 19 census tracts within the Springfield city limits, encompassing 16 specific neighborhoods: Bingham, Doling Park, Downtown, Fairfield Acres/Bissett, Fassnight, Grant Beach, Heart of the Westside, Midtown, Robberson, Rountree/Walnut, Tom Watkins, Weller, West Central, Westside, and Woodland Heights.
Overall, EPA’s grant is expected to provide funding to enroll at least 56 trainees in the program, with a goal of placing at least 35 graduates into the local job market in specialized green job positions, such as Superfund site cleanup, ecological restoration, and lead and asbestos abatement at brownfields remediation projects, earning meaningful hourly wages.
Specific training offered through the program will include certifications in OSHA Hazwoper; OSHA 10; Environmental Sampling and Monitoring; Trenching and Excavation; Confined Space; Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP); Lead Abatement Worker; Asbestos Worker/Handler; Stormwater; Forklift Driver; First Aid/CPR; and Commercial Driver License (CDL).
“These training classes are the keys to full-time green jobs that pay well because they are in demand,” EPA Regional Administrator Mark Hague said. “For communities like Springfield, this helps build a workforce that can reclaim and revitalize environmentally challenged properties to benefit the community.”
Key partners in the Missouri Career Center’s implementation of the grant include the Ozark Region Workforce Investment Board, Environmental Works, Gerken Environmental, Southwest Missouri Safety Company LLC, C1 Truck Driver Training, Bryan University, Greenfield Environmental Trust Group Inc., and the Springfield City Council.
Since EPA launched the EWDJT grant program in 1998, more than 256 grants have been awarded exceeding $54 million. Approximately 14,700 individuals have completed training, and of those, more than 10,600 individuals have been placed in full-time employment with an average starting hourly wage of $14.34. This equates to a cumulative job placement rate of nearly 72 percent of graduates.
The program targets its training and job placement assistance for low-income unemployed and underemployed individuals in rural and urban communities with areas historically affected by blight, economic disinvestment, and solid and hazardous waste sites. The EWDJT program is one of EPA’s premier community-based grant programs that highlights the agency’s commitment to advancing environmental justice.