Federal grant funds Springfield green jobs training program

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. It's an infusion of cash to help put more people from Springfield to work. The federal money targets the unemployed in the city's northwest quadrant. The program seeks to build a workforce focused on preserving the environment.

Businesses like Environmental Works are partnering with the Missouri Job Center to implement a job training program, with a 200-thousand dollar EPA grant.

"We do a lot of environmental cleanups, emergency response," says Jason Smith, President of Environmental Works.

The program hopes to train nearly 60 people, giving priority to those in northwest Springfield, where poverty rates are high. "The average job that these people could see coming out should be close to 14 to 15 dollars an hour. So with someone that might be underemployed or unemployed, that's going to be a good paying job, to be able to get them back involved in the workforce. So that's what we're excited about," says Isaac Weber of the Missouri Job Center.

Trainees will learn things like how to handle hazardous materials like asbestos or chemical spills, operate heavy equipment and take water and soil samples. Those learning environmental cleanup in the training program will be doing some of their training at Environmental Works in a classroom setting, but much of their learning will be on the job.

"In a formal education program, you're not going to get some of these skills that come from experience," says Smith.

The program hopes to put many trainees in permanent full-time jobs in a field that's ever growing. Smith says, "It's just great to be able to continue to grow, and grow within the community."

The Missouri Job Center should receive the grant funding by October and start the training program in January. We'll learn more information about how you can apply later this year.