Five of Atlanta’s low income neighborhoods will see increased green job employment with the announcement by Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Lisa P. Jackson and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed that the EPA will be awarding $6.2 million in national environmental workforce development and job training grants. The goal is to recruit, train, and place unemployed (primarily low-income) workers in jobs that help clean up contaminated areas in Atlanta and around the U.S.- directly improving air and water in each community.
“These job training grants are not just helping to create good jobs, they’re helping create good, green jobs that protect the health of local families and residents and prepare communities for continued economic growth,” said EPA Administrator Jackson. “Creating good green jobs proves that we don’t have to choose between cleaning up our air and our water or creating jobs in our communities.”
Typical graduates of these job training programs learn skills and gain certifications in various environmental fields including lead and asbestos abatement, environmental site sampling, construction and demolition debris recycling, energy auditing and weatherization, as well as solar panel installations and green building techniques. The press release noted that this particular program has assisted people gain the skills they need to clean up the Gulf Coast after the devastating BP oil spill, rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and clean up after September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
All told, 21 government entities and organizations across the U.S. have received up to $300k each to train workers to clean up contaminated sites. As of May 2011, more than 6,683 individuals have been trained through the program, and more than 4,400 have been placed in full-time employment in the environmental field with an average starting hourly wage of $14.65.