Local Government Offices

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.   Read More
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State Environmental Agencies

To implement federal and state legislation and regulations, states have established their own departments of natural resources or environmental protection agencies. State environmental agencies operate slightly differently from national Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters or regional offices. Their mission first and foremost is to regulate and enforce state-adopted statutes. As a result, a large part of state agency resources are utilized for monitoring, permitting, inspection, and enforcement. State agencies have responded to the expansion of Brownfields by investing resources and staff in the Brownfields Initiative. Most have their own state Brownfields programs, which complement and supplement federal Brownfields activities. In some cases, areas identified as state Brownfields sites are not receiving federal assistance. As such, state Brownfields sites may not appear on lists of EPA active sites. State and local cleanups not supported directly by EPA are another market for Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) graduates. State environmental agencies can provide local technical assistance not available from EPA regional offices. They also serve as excellent resources for training assistance. Some provide direct training assistance, and others maintain lists of approved or available service providers. State project officers working on Brownfields assessment and cleanup are often familiar with contractors and consultants that may become resources or potential partners for EWDJT programs. EPA’s Health and Environmental Agencies of the U.S. States and Territories website includes agencies by state. Searching websites is an excellent source of background information, but as stated earlier, personal contact remains essential as program planning develops. Other state agencies including departments of commerce, economic development, labor, and occupational safety and health may provide pass-through grants and technical assistance from federal agencies such as those just discussed. Read More
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Federal Environmental and Health Agencies

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY The first and most comprehensive source of reliable information regarding the Brownfields Initiative is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA’s technical assistance is available at four different levels. EPA website EPA national headquarters EPA regional offices Hazardous Materials Training and Research Institute (HMTRI) under cooperative agreement with EPA Surfing the EPA website is a vital first step in becoming familiar with EPA programs, including Brownfields and the overall mission of the organization. It is an excellent resource for technical assistance on several environmental topics. Access to information on the website is intuitive and clearly displayed. Links to other organizations and federal agencies provide pathways to topics not specifically addressed by the EPA. The EPA is organized with headquarters in Washington D.C. and ten regional offices across the country. The focus of EPA headquarters is on national issues such as legislation, appropriations, and national program oversight and guidance. Selected programs are directly administered from headquarters. The regional offices perform most day-to-day operations. Regional offices are largely responsible for the implementation and project management of Brownfields activities in their region. Each region is organized to advocate national programs. For example, regional offices have Brownfields remediation site coordinators as well as Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) program coordinators to provide guidance, oversight, and assistance to grantees. If an organization is seriously interested in developing an EWDJT program, the first step is to communicate with the EPA regional job training coordinator for the region in which the program will be located. It is important to begin establishing contact in the early stages of program development as assistance provided at that time could be of immeasurable value. Coordinators are familiar with programs in the region, track those programs, and provide guidance. In addition, most regional coordinators have developed an inventory of useful contacts and resources. The Brownfields section of EPA’s website provides information about land revitalization, including names and contact information of Brownfields coordinators in each region. This site also provides a list of individuals at national, state, and regional levels who are available to assist cleanup and redevelopment efforts at Brownfields sites. These individuals are a valuable resource for Brownfields stakeholders by providing support and guidance on applicable laws, regulations, policies, and technical assistance associated with the selection of technologies. Contact information for EPA regional job training coordinators is also included as part of the EWDJT Request for Proposals (RFP). It should be noted that after the EWDJT RFP has been issued, regional job training coordinators are not able to provide guidance on specific proposals. They are, however, able to engage in public discussion and answer specific questions about the RFP. For this reason, it is wise to contact the regional coordinator prior to issuance of the RFP. EPA Region 1 serving CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, and VT EPA Region 2 serving NJ, NY, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and eight Tribal Nations EPA Region 3 serving DE, DC, MD, PA, VA, and WV EPA Region 4 serving AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN, and six Tribal Nations EPA Region 5 serving IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, WI, and 35 Tribal Nations EPA Region 6 serving AR, LA, NM, OK, TX, and 66 Tribal Nations EPA Region 7 serving IA, KS, MO, NE, and nine Tribal Nations EPA Region 8 serving CO, MT, ND, SD, UT, WY, and 27 Tribal Nations EPA Region 9 serving AZ, CA, HI, NV, Pacific Islands, and 148 Tribal Nations EPA Region 10 serving AK, ID, OR, WA, and 271 Native Tribes HAZARDOUS MATERIALS TRAINING AND RESEARCH INSTITUTE (HMTRI) HMTRI provides technical assistance to communities interested in developing and delivering environmental job training programs. HMTRI also provides assistance to EPA-funded EWDJT grantees. These efforts are performed through cooperative agreements with the EPA. HMTRI, part of Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, has been providing workforce development technical assistance since the inception of the Brownfields program. HMTRI TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE SERVICES OVERVIEW Brownfields Toolbox Website—The Brownfields Toolbox website is the HMTRI repository and archive for all things related to environmental workforce development and job training. Some of the resources available on the website include: EPA and HMTRI announcements and events Environmental training resources and events Grant and leveraging opportunities Professional Learning Community (PLC) post-session notes and audio recordings Annual Environmental Job Development All-Grantee Meeting resources and downloads Information on the various program components needed to start a job training program that includes: EWDJT application process Funded or not funded—What to expect and things to consider Community and labor market assessments Building partnerships Funding sources Recruitment and assessment Developing training programs Support services Placement and tracking Program maintenance and sustainability Technical assistance Commonly used environmental acronyms Interactive map of EWDJT locations EWDJT grantee contributions Grantee photos and milestone events EWDJT awareness materials Certified Employee Finder Annual Environmental Job Development All-Grantee Meeting—The Annual Environmental Job Development All-Grantee Meeting provides a unique opportunity for EWDJT grantees to share a variety of approaches to Brownfields job training and workforce development. At the two-day meeting, participants exchange information and ideas with each other and with EPA regional and headquarters representatives in both small- and large-group sessions. The goal of the meeting is to assist grantees to develop and deliver their best possible job training program. Examples of some of the information shared at the meeting include: Program guidelines, expectations, and legal issues Initiatives that support and interact with Brownfields activities Technical assistance resources and sources EWDJT health and safety awareness Strategies for: Recruitment Placement Tracking Partnering Student services Retention Project plans, implementation, and reporting Annual Environmental Job Development All-Grantee Update Webinar—An annual update webinar is held approximately six months after the Annual Environmental Job Development All-Grantee Meeting. This webinar allows grantees to exchange and share information, ideas, and best practices; network as a group more than once a year; and reminds them of the importance of networking throughout the year. Grantee and Community Outreach Listserv—The Grantee and Community Outreach listserv is used to post information, announcements, and inquiries related to workforce development. Examples of posts include: Professional Learning Community (PLC) announcements and session reminders Funding announcements including EWDJT and related grant opportunities Annual Environmental Job Development All-Grantee Meeting and webinar announcements EPA and HMTRI activity announcements Members also use the listserv as a networking tool and a resource where they can post a request for information to fellow grantees. Environmental Workforce Development Professional Learning Community (PLC)—The objective of the PLC is to promote and share innovative strategies among Brownfields job training communities, and to provide technical assistance to new communities interested in developing job training programs. HMTRI facilitates 30-minute, bi-weekly conference calls to meet this objective. Each cycle, consisting of ten sessions, features presentations from current and past EWDJT programs. Post-session notes and audio recordings of each session are housed on the Brownfields Toolbox website. MentorLink Program—The MentorLink program fosters mentor/grantee information exchange. Expert mentors are individuals who have demonstrated experience and expertise in specific activities of environmental workforce development programs such as student recruitment, assessment, or placement. Volunteer mentors are current and past grantees including some from outside the EWDJT program. Expert mentors can provide coaching and advice to those requesting individual assistance on various topics. HMTRI maintains a roster of individuals interested in participating in the MentorLink program. Grantee Scans—Annual requests are sent to all EPA-funded EWDJT grantees to provide information about their programs that includes: Organization name and contact information Graduation dates Certificates and certifications held by graduates Core competencies Responses are compiled into the Certified Employee Finder to assist employers in finding screened workers with EPA and OSHA certifications in health, safety, and environmental technology. The Certified Employee Finder is distributed through the Brownfields Toolbox website, at the annual All-Grantee meetings, and at national and regional conferences. Individualized Technical Assistance—Individualized technical assistance is available to existing, new, and prospective grantees to address specific workforce development issues. Technical assistance may be provided face-to-face at meetings and conferences, over the telephone, or through email. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Another federal agency with training programs closely related to EPA’s EWDJT program is the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Worker Training Program (WTP). NIEHS grants focus on worker health and safety including disaster relief. EPA EWDJT grants focus on environmental remediation. Both grants make worker health and safety their prime concern. Some EWDJT grantees are funded by both EPA and NIEHS, but must demonstrate in their applications that there is no overlap between the programs. The NIEHS WTP grants train workers engaged in activities related to hazardous materials and waste generation, removal, containment, transportation, and emergency response. EPA EWDJT grants are funded for a period of three years. Most NIEHS grants are awarded for a period of five years. NIEHS WTP funding is provided through the following program areas: The Hazardous Waste Worker Training Program provides model occupational safety and health training for workers who are or may be engaged in activities related to hazardous waste removal, containment, or chemical emergency response. The NIEHS/DOE Nuclear Worker Training Program focuses on training workers engaged in environmental restoration, waste treatment, and emergency response activities at sites in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear weapons complex. Grants awarded under this program area are funded through an interagency agreement with DOE. The Environmental Career Worker Training Program, known as the Minority Worker Training Program until 2014, focuses on delivering comprehensive training to increase the number of disadvantaged and underrepresented minority workers in areas such as environmental restoration, construction, hazardous materials/waste handling, and emergency response. The HAZMAT Disaster Preparedness Training Program supports the development and delivery of disaster-specific training that prepares workers to respond to natural disasters and possible future terrorist incidents involving weapons of mass destruction. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) E-Learning for HAZMAT Program focuses on the development of e-learning products that support health and safety training of hazardous materials workers, emergency responders, and skilled support personnel; community and citizen preparation and resiliency; and research into the acute and long-term health effects of environmental disasters. The WTP also funds the National Clearinghouse for Worker Safety and Health Training, a national resource for hazardous waste worker curricula, technical reports, and weekly news on hazardous materials, waste operations, and emergency response. The National Clearinghouse supports the efforts of WTP staff and awardees in providing health and safety training to workers engaged in activities related to hazardous materials and waste generation, removal, containment, transportation, and emergency response. Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration The third federal agency most closely impacting EWDJT is the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Within DOL, two types of services provide considerable leveraged resources to EPA grantees. The first type includes a variety of employment and training programs under the Employment and Training Administration (ETA). Apprenticeship Business and Industry Disability Online Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration (ETJD) ETA Grants Farmworkers Services Federal Bonding Program Foreign Labor Certification Human Resources Indian and Native American Programs Job Corps Jobs for Veterans Act Layoff Services National Dislocated Worker Grants Occupational Information Network (ONET) Ready to Work Re-entry Employment Opportunities (REO) Programs Senior Community Service Employment Program Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program (TAACCCT) Trade Adjustment Assistance Unemployment Insurance Waivers WIA and Adult Services Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) Workforce Innovations Fund Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Workforce Professionals Youth Services Youth Career Connect Because of the size and scope of these programs, most are administered with large grants on the state or local level. Also under the DOL, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is charged with setting standards, developing curriculum, and training workers to protect themselves in the workplace. Many EWDJT courses provide certifications based on OSHA standards and training materials delivered by authorized trainers. OSHA 1910.120 Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) is a mandatory certification required by EWDJT grantees, but most grantees add a variety of other OSHA certification courses depending on local workforce needs. See the OSHA Training website for courses, materials, and resources. grants.gov Communities interested in developing an EWDJT program should not overlook the federal government’s portal for all types of technical assistance regarding the grant application process. Grants.gov is designed to be a one-stop repository for all information about federal grant opportunities and proposal submission. Topics that can be found at grants.gov include tutorials and information on the following topics. Grants 101—All about applying for federal grants and cooperative agreements How to apply for grants and cooperative agreements Organizations eligible for various types of assistance Government agencies with funds available for grants Request for Proposals, proposal submission guidelines, and due dates The registration process required before submitting a proposal Applicant tools and tips Government contacts for additional information Applicant FAQs Funding opportunities by category, agency, and eligibility Application tracking Grant language and acronyms In addition to providing instruction, grants.gov is the place where EWDJT grant proposals must be submitted. Organizations considering the establishment of an EWDJT program and interested in federal assistance are urged to visit grants.gov early in the planning process.   Read More
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Introduction

Team members of Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) programs may have varying areas of expertise. Background and experience may be in project management; case work; or social, environmental, or technical services. However, it is not always possible for all programs to have all areas of expertise available on their staff. These missing areas can be gained through interaction with partners, stakeholders, and service providers. Experienced partners and service providers are usually familiar with contacts, websites, and other sources of technical assistance in their specialty areas. Successful EWDJT programs work with numerous governmental and community technical specialists. Program managers do not have to be experts in environmental technology or health and safety, but it is important that they are familiar with the technology and background associated with Brownfields. Learn to talk the language and understand basic concepts. As with most government programs, acronyms provide a shorthand way of describing organizations, legislation, and concepts. See Commonly Used Environmental Acronyms. “Brownfield Basics” is a term often used to describe a working knowledge and familiarity with Brownfields legislation, regulations, laws, history, and relationships to stakeholders and the community. It is not necessary for all staff members to become technical experts, but familiarization with program goals and objectives provide important background knowledge for promoting EWDJT to students, employers, stakeholders, and supporters. The first place to begin learning Brownfield Basics is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website. This website directs visitors to a variety of information resources, announcements, and opportunities related to environmental remediation. There are three excellent resource groups that should be explored in the early stages of EWDJT program development. Federal environmental and health agencies such as EPA, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and grants.gov State environmental agencies Local government offices Many of the resources discussed in this chapter are available on the Internet. However, personal contact and relationships, especially on the local level, are most important in the planning and execution of EWDJT programs. Read More
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