Springfield to receive $200,000 EPA grant for job training program to revitalize brownfields

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) — The city of Springfield will receive a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a job training program to help the city revitalize brownfields.

Brownfields are properties that may be difficult to redevelop due to the potential for hazardous or contaminated substances. The city worked with the EPA for several years to revamp these sites.

The EPA announced the grant via a press release on Wednesday. Springfield is one of 19 cities or organizations selected to receive federal assistance.

Brownfields Vocational Training Grants enable nonprofits, local governments, and other organizations to recruit and train residents affected by the presence of brownfields. The EPA says many people who complete the job training program come from historically underserved neighborhoods and may reside in areas affected by environmental issues.

“The EPA and the City of Springfield invest in people and it always pays off,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meghan A. McCollister. “Graduates of Springfield’s vocational training program will be prepared for high-paying hazardous waste cleanup jobs, such as lead-based paint in homes, asbestos and more.”

“We are incredibly honored and grateful to accept this fourth round of EPA grants to continue our Green for Greene environmental job training program,” said Sally Payne, Director of Workforce Development. of Springfield. “We know that this training is life-changing for graduates of this program, as it allows them to acquire skills and obtain gainful employment. Many thanks to the EPA for selecting the City of Springfield Workforce Development Department as the recipient of this grant. »

According to the EPA, Springfield city leaders plan to train 56 students and place at least 35 in environmental jobs. The training program includes 160 hours of teaching in the following sectors:

Hazardous Waste Management Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER)

  • OSHA 10
  • Trench/Excavation
  • Confined space entry
  • Renovation, repair and lead painting
  • Discount Main Worker Certification
  • Asbestos worker/handler
  • Mold reduction
  • Signalman
  • Blood-borne pathogens; Forklift driver
  • First aid/CPR
  • Silica

Springfield’s senior planner Olivia Hough told KY3 in November that such funding could help the city continue to evaluate several sites around Springfield, including redevelopment projects like Renew Jordan Creek, the Grant Avenue Corridor and Forward Springfield Sub Areas. Historic commercial and industrial areas in central and northwest Springfield could also benefit from a boost.

“It really benefits properties that help support our community, our community vision and our community plans,” Hough said. “Additionally, properties that we believe need the environment the most, where their redevelopment is compromised because there are environmental unknowns.”

In previous years, the funding has been used for several projects in downtown Springfield, including those for the History Museum in the Square, Hammons Field, Jordan Valley Park and the Aspen Springfield apartment complex.

The EPA says Brownfields job training scholarships will prepare more than 1,000 people nationwide for environmental jobs.

Since its inception in 1998, the Brownfields Vocational Training Program has awarded over 352 scholarships. Nearly 20,000 people have been trained. Of these, nearly 15,000 people have been placed in full-time employment in careers related to remediation and environmental health and safety. The EPA says the average starting salary for people in these fields is over $14 an hour.

For more information on selected recipients of Brownfields Skills Training Grants, including past recipients, CLICK HERE.

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