Support services include all of the activities and assistance students need to supplement their environmental training while on the path to meaningful environmental employment.
A great deal of material is available on support services. Entire websites are devoted to some of the support services discussed in this chapter. Because of the scope of this topic, this chapter will treat the subject as it relates to environmental training. The purpose is to raise issues that will create an awareness of supplemental support services, and to point those interested in developing an Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (JT) program in the right direction.
Preliminary planning for an JT program often focuses on training designed to provide skills, knowledge, and certifications necessary for jobs created by Brownfields economic development. The core curriculum concentrates on environmental assessment, remediation, and safety training. As program planning proceeds, consideration needs to be given to life skills and student support services. Life skills, student support, and addressing legal and personal issues can be as important to student success as technical skills. Often, it is more important. Addressing legal and personal issues and offering support services can be primary factors that influence student retention. Offering life skills training can be a pathway or a deterrent to student placement and employment success.
While the EPA JT program supports job placement activities, it does not provide for life skills training, remedial training, and student support. In simple terms, activities associated directly with student recruitment, environmental training, placement, and tracking are allowable expenses. This funding gap becomes a wake-up call for the importance of leveraged partners. Fortunately there are many potential partners that provide these services.
There are several issues that can be addressed under support services.
- Life skills education
- Remedial education and literacy issues
- Child and dependent care
- Financial literacy
- Personal and legal issues