Fourteen Years of Green Jobs

By Joe Bruss

Working in the Brownfields program, that brings contaminated property back to life, I keep hearing green jobs are only in clean energy such as solar or wind installation. But there’s much more. One of the things people may not know about are the environmental workforce development and job training grants that EPA awards to organizations for green job training in a wide array of cleanup activities.

Organizations who receive these grants train and place people in sustainable green jobs focusing on local activities to reverse environmental damage in their own communities! So what do these grants do? They give organizations money to train people with skills to market themselves for green jobs. What are these green jobs you ask? They can include support for hazardous and solid waste management, mold remediation and deconstruction, underground storage tank removal, and critical training in environmental health and safety. But that’s not all, there is much more and the benefits are even greater.

Graduates from these training programs were employed as first-responders at the World Trade Center, assisted in cleanup efforts after Hurricane Katrina, and helped to contain the BP oil spill in the Gulf.

As of January 2012, these grants paid to train more than 10,000 people and 7,155 were employed in the environmental field. And, the average starting pay is about $14.00 an hour. That’s putting people to work and improving the environment in our neighborhoods and communities around the country.

So, as you can see, there are many green job opportunities! Do you want to be part of it? Here’s more information on how your organization can get involved. You’ll be helping the economy and improving the environment for years and generations to come.

About the author: Joe Bruss has been with the EPA Brownfields Program for over seven years where he acts as the Job Training Grant Program and Environmental Justice Coordinator. In 2009, Joe received a Fulbright Grant, and took a year’s absence from the EPA, to conduct research in the Netherlands on Dutch equitable development policies in revitalization.