2014 Job Training
Memphis Bioworks Foundation, TN
EPA Brownfields Program
In 2010, the EPA's Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization (OBLR) led an effort to more closely collaborate with other programs within the Agency on workforce development and job training. Program offices now participating in the expanded initiative include the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery (ORCR), Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation (OSRTI), Center for Program Analysis (CPA), Innovation, Partnerships, and Communication Office (IPCO), Office of Wastewater Management (OWM), Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), and the Office of Emergency Management (OEM). This initiative was created to develop a job training cooperative agreement opportunity that includes expanded training in other environmental media outside the traditional scope of brownfields hazardous waste assessment and cleanup. As a result of this effort, the Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training program now allows applicants to deliver a broader array of training in the environmental field, in addition to the traditional brownfields hazardous waste and petroleum training historically provided. Through the expanded Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training program, graduates develop wider skill sets that improve their ability to secure full-time, sustainable employment in various aspects of hazardous and solid waste management and within the larger environmental field, including water quality improvement and chemical safety. This effort also gives communities more flexibility to provide different types of environmental training based on local employers' hiring needs.
Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training grant funds are provided to nonprofit organizations and other eligible entities to recruit, train, and place predominantly low-income and minority, unemployed and underemployed residents from solid and hazardous waste-impacted communities. To date, EPA has funded 237 job training grants totaling over $48 million through the former Brownfields Job Training program and Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training program. As of April 2014, approximately 12,800 individuals have completed training, and of those, approximately 9,100 have obtained employment in the environmental field, with an average starting hourly wage of $14.00. This equates to a cumulative placement rate of approximately 71% since the program was created in 1998.
Job Training Grant
EPA has selected Memphis Bioworks for an Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training grant. Memphis Bioworks plans to train 64 students, place 48 graduates in environmental jobs, and track graduates for at least one year. In addition, five graduates are expected to pursue further education. The core training includes 84 hours of instruction in 40-hour HAZWOPER and several awareness-level courses, including solid waste management and recycling; underground storage tank remediation; green remediation; wastewater treatment; U.S. DOT HAZMAT transportation; and lead, mold, and asbestos abatement. Students will then choose one of two advanced technical tracks: energy efficiency/retrofit (40 hours) or healthy homes/construction (40 hours). Students also will participate in a community service project and an internship. Seven federal certifications will be offered. Memphis Bioworks is targeting unemployed and underemployed residents of Memphis, with a focus on those living within the federally designated Memphis Urban Renewal Community. Key partners include the Memphis Workforce Investment Network, the City of Memphis, University of Tennessee Extension, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and a number of community-based organizations and environmental employers.
For further information, including specific grant contacts, additional grant information, brownfields news and events, and publications and links, visit the EPA Brownfields Web site (http://www.epa.gov/brownfields).
EPA Region 4 Brownfields Team
EPA Region 4 Brownfields Web site (https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-and-land-revitalization-alabama-florida-georgia-kentucky-mississippi-north-0)
Grant Recipient: Memphis Bioworks Foundation, TN
The information presented in this fact sheet comes from the grant proposal; EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of this information. The cooperative agreement for the grant has not yet been negotiated. Therefore, activities described in this fact sheet are subject to change.