Fairfield County Business Journal. By Kevin Zimmerman – March 12, 2021.
Bridgeport’s The WorkPlace Inc. is receiving a $200,000 Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The WorkPlace is one of 18 grant recipients selected to share $3.3 million to operate environmental job training programs for local citizens across the country.
The grant program advances environmental justice by providing an opportunity for residents historically impacted by brownfield sites to gain training and employment as a result of cleanup activities taking place in their communities.
The WorkPlace’s grant will be used to train up to 55 students near the city of Bridgeport in skills needed to work in the environmental remediation field and to assist local economic development. The organization expects to place over 75% of those students in environmental jobs.
The training program includes 222 hours of instruction, including: 40-hour HAZWOPER; OSHA 30-hour Construction Industry Outreach; C.T. Asbestos Supervisor; C.T. Lead Worker; Lead Safety RRP; Deconstruction; Aboveground/Aboveground Storage Tanks; Forklift Safety Awareness; and Mold Identification and Remediation.
“This award supports innovative solutions to get people back to work with career opportunities in environmental development,” said Joseph Carbone, president and CEO of The WorkPlace. “A future with employment gives hope to individuals to overcome barriers and become part of a skilled job force that can clean up contamination and foster a sustainable future for our community.”
“This investment will help prepare people for well-paying jobs in fields that reduce environmental contamination and provide more sustainable futures for the communities most affected by solid and hazardous waste contamination,” said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deborah Szaro.
“Members of the Bridgeport community will learn critical skills and receive the certifications necessary to access well-paying jobs that need to be filled right in their community. It is essential for our economic recovery, that we continue to support investments in workforce development and job training,” added U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut).
“Investing in our community by cleaning up contaminated brownfield sites in Southwest Connecticut boosts our economy,” remarked U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT 4th). “With infrastructure investments on the horizon, it’s important to have a well-trained workforce to clean these sites and create a more sustainable future.”
The WorkPlace has previously been awarded EPA Brownfields Job Training grants six times from 2001 to 2014, and with the new grant will have received a cumulative total of over $1.4 million.