The EPA announced the availability of approximately $14 million for environmental job training grants under EPA’s Brownfields Job Training Program. Through the Notice of Funding Opportunity, the EPA anticipates awarding approximately 20 grants nationwide at amounts up to $500,000 per award. “Since 1998, EPA’s Brownfields Job Training Grants have helped train more than 21,700 people and place 16,200 in careers remediating land and improving environmental health and safety,” said Clifford Villa, EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Land and Emergency Management. “The Brownfields Job Training program continues to support training and employment for residents affected by brownfield sites and to advance environmental justice across the country.”

EPA’s Brownfields Job Training Grant program is a unique employment and training grants program. The grants allow nonprofit and other eligible organizations to recruit, train, and retain a local, skilled workforce by prioritizing unemployed and under-employed workers, including low-income individuals living in communities disproportionately impacted by solid and hazardous waste, in environmental jobs. In the previous award cycle, EPA selected 14 grant recipients including “Groundwork Ohio River Valley” for a grant targeting job training participants from Cincinnati, specifically young people from neighborhoods that have been identified as climate-vulnerable; have higher percentages of brownfields located in their areas; and also see high rates of unemployment or underemployment.

Job training participants learn the skills and earn credentials needed to secure full-time, sustainable employment in the environmental field, including brownfields assessment and cleanup. These jobs reduce environmental contamination and build more sustainable futures for communities. Through the Job Training Grant program, communities have the flexibility to deliver eligible training that meets their local labor market demands in the environmental sector.

Thanks to the historic $1.5 billion brownfields investment, EPA has provided more than three times the previous funding levels to support Brownfields Job Training Programs. This budget boost provides communities, states, and Tribal Nations the opportunity to apply for larger grants to help build and enhance the environmental curriculum in their job training programs, support job creation and community revitalization at brownfield sites.

The Brownfields Job Training Grants program ensures that 40% of overall benefits from certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. As part of this effort, EPA’s Brownfields Program is meeting this commitment and advancing environmental justice considerations into all aspects of our work. 100% of the 2024 Brownfields Job Training program applications selected to receive funding proposed to work in areas that include historically disadvantaged communities.

EPA expects the longer application window (approximately 90 days instead of the standard 60 days) will give potential applicants more time to consider recent programmatic changes, including whether to form and apply as a Brownfields Job Training Grant Coalition. The deadline to apply for the Notice of Funding Opportunity is August 15, 2024.

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