Program aims to prepare workers for jobs in cleanup, reuse of brownfields
Feb. 9, 2011
HARRISBURG – A federal Environmental Protection Agency grant will allow HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, to train workers in emerging environmental jobs for the cleanup and reuse of brownfields in Harrisburg, Steelton and Lancaster County.
The two-year, $199,890 training grant, awarded through the EPA’s Brownfields Program, will be used to recruit students from among the unemployed, underemployed, and displaced workers, as well as low-income and minority residents in the three communities for training.
Potential students are invited to attend an information session from 11 a.m.-noon Saturday, March 5, or 6-7 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, in room 108 in HACC’s Green Training Center, 1426 N. Third St. HACC representatives will answer questions about the job training program, which will consist of four eight-week, 320-hour training cycles. The class will run May 9-July 1.
Qualified candidates must have a general education diploma (GED) or high school diploma, test at a 10th-grade math and reading level, have a valid driver’s license, have access to reliable transportation, be drug free and demonstrate an interest in the environment.
Successful graduates will receive certifications in Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER), confined space entrant/attendant and supervisor, lead-based paint inspector, and asbestos inspector. Additional training will be offered in environmental site assessment, air and water quality, and environmental remediation techniques.
During the first year of the grant, HACC will focus recruitment efforts on residents in Harrisburg and Steelton where there are a combined total of 120 brownfield sites. During the second year of the grant, HACC plans to focus on recruiting students from Lancaster County where there are 180 brownfield sites. The first class starts Feb. 28 and runs through April 21.
“Thanks to this grant, HACC is developing a program for Environmental Technicians who can serve our communities with their skills and knowledge in the remediation of brownfields, thus providing a means for rehabilitating and conserving our environment,” said Cynthia Reiner, dean of HACC’s Workforce Development, Public Safety and Community Education.
The college will be the primary trainer, offering programs in concert with the Green Center of Central Pennsylvania, a public-private partnership between HACC and several private sector partners.
“The local environmental business community has been supportive of this educational opportunity, and I anticipate positive outcomes,” said Julia Knight, executive director of the Green Center, will be grant program director.
HACC will help successful graduates find environmental jobs, and track those graduates for one year. The projected annual job growth rate in Pennsylvania for environmental technicians is 13 percent, indicating a strong demand for qualified program graduates.
A brownfield site is real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant, according to the EPA.
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