EPA's Brownfields Program empowers states, Tribal Nations, communities, and other stakeholders to work together to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields. A brownfield site is real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. The Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act of 2002, as amended by the Brownfields Utilization, Investment and Local Development Act of 2018, was passed to help states, Tribal Nations, and communities around the country clean up and revitalize brownfield sites. Under this law, EPA provides financial assistance to eligible applicants through five competitive grant programs: Multipurpose Grants, Assessment Grants, Revolving Loan Fund Grants, Cleanup Grants, and Brownfields Job Training Grants. Additionally, funding support is provided to state and tribal response programs through a separate mechanism.
Brownfields Job Training Grant funds are provided to nonprofit organizations and other eligible entities to recruit and train unemployed and underemployed residents from communities affected by environmental pollution, economic disinvestment, and brownfields and place them in environmental jobs. Since the program was created in 1998, EPA has funded 371 job training grants totaling over $79 million through the Brownfields Job Training program. A total of 20,341 individuals have been trained and 15,168 individuals have been placed in full-time careers related to land remediation and environmental health and safety. The average starting wage for these jobs is more than $14 an hour. This equates to a cumulative placement rate of approximately 75 percent.
EPA has selected the City of Tacoma for a Brownfields Job Training grant. The City of Tacoma plans to train 140 students and place at least 79 in environmental jobs. The training program includes 260 hours of instruction in 40-Hour HAZWOPER; Flagger; Forklift; Lead RRP; Asbestos Worker; OSHA 10, and First Aid/CPR. Students who complete the training will earn up to seven certifications. The city is targeting students within brownfields-impacted neighborhoods, specifically the Port of Tacoma, the Tacoma Renewal Community, Tacoma's Hilltop Neighborhood, and Salishan/East Tacoma. Key partners include Child Care Resources of Pierce County, Clean Harbors, Clover Park Technical College, Conoco Concrete Plumbing, Department of Agriculture, Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainier Region, NOW Environmental, Port of Tacoma, Scot Eckley Landscape and Design, TCB Industrial, Walker Specialty Construction, the Washington Brownfields Coalition, and Workforce Central and their Worksource Pierce.