Since most Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) programs are local, it is important to involve local government offices as sources for technical assistance. Maintaining contact with local environmental agencies will provide the most current source of information regarding Brownfields employment and economic development projects in the community. Local environmental agencies can provide links to service providers, contractors, advisors, and potential employers. As with state agencies, they can become an excellent resource for trainers, speakers, and technical assistance.
The size of local agencies usually correlates to the size of the jurisdiction. For example, in rural or sparsely populated areas, environmental and other non-environmental services are located in county offices. In small communities, environmental, health, and public safety departments may be combined.
Urban areas usually have comprehensive local agencies. In most communities, the mayor’s office is an organizational hub for city services. Often the local environmental agency is located in the mayor’s office. Whether the agency is consolidated or independent, it is still of utmost importance to visit other departments within the mayor’s office. Departments of health, economic development, neighborhood planning and relations, human resources, and public assistance are just a few of the many offices that may contain a wealth of information and assistance. First-hire ordinances (related to hiring local workers first), block grants administration, community/enterprise zone planning, and many other local programs that directly influence EWDJT programs are administered from these offices.
Regardless of the size of the community, the mayor’s office provides the best entry to local resources and assistance. Phone calls followed by personal visits remain the best way to access local government. Successful EWDJT programs have established relationships with each of the organizations discussed. Federal, state, and local government agencies are all interwoven to provide assistance.