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Springfield to receive $200K grant from EPA for job training program to revitalize Brownfields

Jordan Creek/Springfield, Mo.
Jordan Creek/Springfield, Mo.(KY3)
Published: Feb. 5, 2022 at 12:21 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 5, 2022 at 12:24 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The City of Springfield will receive a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a job training program intended to help the city revitalize Brownfields.

Brownfield sites are properties that could be tough to redevelop due to the potential of hazardous or contaminated substances. The city has worked with the EPA for several years to revamp such sites.

The EPA announced the grant via a news release Wednesday. Springfield is one of 19 cities or organizations chosen to receive the federal aid.

The Brownfields job training grants allow nonprofits, local governments and other organizations to recruit and train residents impacted by the presence of brownfield sites. The EPA says many individuals who complete the job training program are from historically-underserved neighborhoods and might reside in areas affected by environmental issues.

“EPA and the city of Springfield are investing in people and that always pays off,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meghan A. McCollister. “The graduates of the Springfield job training program will be prepared for high-paying, hazardous waste cleanup jobs, like lead-based paint in houses, asbestos and others.”

“We are incredibly honored and grateful to accept this fourth round of grant funding from the EPA to continue our Green for Greene environmental job training program,” said Sally Payne, Springfield director of workforce development. “We know this training is life-changing for the graduates of this program, as it allows them a way to acquire skills and obtain gainful employment. Many thanks to the EPA for selecting the city of Springfield Department of Workforce Development as the recipient of this grant.”

According to the EPA, Springfield city leaders plan to train 56 students and place at least 35 in environmental jobs. The training program includes 160 hours of instruction in the following sectors:

Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER)

  • OSHA 10
  • Trenching/Excavation
  • Confined Space Entry
  • Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting
  • Lead Abatement Worker Certification
  • Asbestos Worker/Handler
  • Mold Abatement
  • Flagger
  • Bloodborne Pathogens; Forklift Driver
  • First Aid/CPR
  • Silica

Springfield senior planner Olivia Hough told KY3 in November that such funding could help the city continue to assess several sites around Springfield, including redevelopment projects like Renew Jordan Creek, the Grant Avenue Corridor and Forward Springfield Sub Areas. Historic commercial and industrial areas in central and northwest Springfield could also get a boost.

“It really benefits properties that help support our community, our community’s vision, and our community plans,” said Hough. “Also properties we feel have the most environmental need, where their redevelopment is compromised because there are environmental unknowns.”

In previous years, funding has been used for several projects in the downtown Springfield area, including ones for the History Museum on the Square, Hammons Field, Jordan Valley Park and the Aspen Springfield apartment complex.

The EPA says the Brownfields job training grants will prepare more than 1,000 people nationwide for environmental jobs.

Since it began in 1998, the Brownfields job training program has awarded more than 352 grants. Nearly 20,000 people have completed training. Of those, nearly 15,000 people have been placed in full-time employment in careers related to remediation and environmental health and safety. The EPA says the average starting wage for people in these fields is more than $14 an hour.

For more information on the selected Brownfields Job Training grant recipients, including past grantees, CLICK HERE.

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