The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the city of Tacoma, Washington, Clover Park Technical College, with campuses in Lakewood and Puyallup, Washington, and Goodwill, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, are providing grant-funded training opportunities in 2017 to help the unemployed, underemployed and transitioning servicemen and veterans in Pierce County, Washington, into quality environmental careers.
A $200,000 EPA Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grant (formerly Brownfields Grant) is funding recruiting, entry level training, career counseling and job placement services that are a gateway to careers in construction, contamination remediation, hazardous material handling and more. Environmental careers start at $14 per hour and can reach senior management positions paying more than $65 per hour.
Current Environmental Program students at Clover Park will conduct Hazmat station training (5 stations featuring different challenges) as part of their HAZWOPER training and certification. TCB Industrial, an employer of program graduates headquartered in Portland, Oregon, will be on site to talk about the industry and career potential.
The program is targeting Tacoma or Pierce County residents 18 and older. The Washington Department of Ecology’s August 2015 Hazardous Sites List identifies 141 sites in the City of Tacoma either pending or in the process of cleanup while 54 more are across the rest of Pierce County. Even though Tacoma has only 25 percent of the population of Pierce County, it has 72 percent of the hazardous sites—more than 2.5 times the rest of the county. The need for environmental cleanup in Pierce and nearby counties will offer businesses like TCB project opportunities requiring a labor and management force of Hazmat certified employees through 2026.
Goodwill uses its network of education campuses and case managers to recruit, career counsel and help students with job placement, Clover Park Technical College performs the training, the city of Tacoma manages the partnership and grant administration and the EPA provides grant resources and funding. Private businesses like TCB Industrial recruit students based upon their specific interest areas.
“Brownfields job training programs are a win-win for communities like Tacoma and others impacted by hazardous waste sites. They provide unemployed and underemployed citizens and transitioning servicemen and veterans with valuable technical skills that enable them to get good jobs in their communities,” says EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.
“EPA is proud to partner with the city, Clover Park Technical College and Goodwill to provide a gateway to careers in construction and site cleanup and bring much needed environmental improvements to Tacoma and Pierce County,” he adds.
Each of these training opportunities include approximately $1,500 in certifications in HAZWOPER, underground storage tank, OSHA 10 construction safety, confined space entry, forklift and asbestos.
The six week training will be offered in 2017 at Clover Park Technical College—the next session running from April 21 to June 16, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Ahead of the April 21 training program, a mandatory two-hour course orientation session will be hosted at Goodwill’s main Tacoma campus on either March 13 or April 4 at 1 p.m.