By Kathy Chouteau
The City of Richmond’s RichmondBUILD program has been awarded a $200,000 Brownfields job training grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The local program, which trains people in the construction and renewable energy fields, will use the funding to recruit 50 residents for training “in 40-hour HAZWOPER, refinery safety, 10-hour OSHA workplace safety and instruction in remediation and utility-scale solar installation technology,” per the EPA.
RichmondBUILD joins two other Bay Area entities—Hunters Point Family and the City of Pittsburg—as regional recipients of the federal job training grant. A total of 19 grantees are slated to receive about $3.8 million in grants for job training programs nationwide during this grant cycle.
The grants, which are funded through the EPA’s Brownfields Job Training Program, support communities cleaning-up and preparing brownfield sites for reuse by readying residents to fulfill related jobs. The agency said individuals completing a job training program via its funding “often overcome a variety of barriers to employment” and many originate from “historically underserved neighborhoods affected by environmental justice issues.”
The EPA said the three Bay Area recipients share the common thread of administering their job training programs in communities where “cumulative environmental impacts have persisted for decades.” It further highlighted that graduates of the programs earn certifications that lead to job opportunities, and ultimately, long-term careers with local unions, environmental contractors, private industry and the public sector.
The Biden-Harris Administration, in unison with bipartisan congressional action, has delivered the single-largest investment in national brownfields revitalization to date via the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL)—which invests more than $1.5 billion through EPA’s Brownfields program, said the agency. From the overall investment, $30 million will be applied toward future Brownfields Job Training grants.