The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Indianapolis-based RecycleForce $200,000 to train formerly incarcerated citizens in environmental jobs.
With the grant money, RecycleForce will provide “over 200 hours of classroom and practical application training in hazardous waste operations, emergency response and related environmental job skills,” according to a press release from the EPA.
The grant money, awarded through the EPA’s Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Program, will support the education of 38 students. The program will also allow participants to earn 18 different certifications.
RecycleForce has pledged to place at least 29 program graduates in jobs.
“Grant funding from EPA allows us to provide the opportunity to earn industry-recognized credentials to a greater number of returning citizens,” said RecycleForce Project Manager Rhonda Shipley. “These credentials provide not only an entry point into the competitive job market, but also allow returning citizens to secure living wage employment.”
The EPA awarded similar grants to 25 other programs, for a total of $5.1 million nationwide. The grants are awarded to areas designated as Opportunity Zones where brownfields cleanup and assessment initiatives have already begun.
“By investing in a local workforce to conduct environmental cleanup activities, we can help revitalize traditionally low-income neighborhoods,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.
Since the program’s inception in 1998, more than 13,679 individuals have achieved full-time employment.
More information on the program and grant recipients is available here.
(Stock photo courtesy of MIT)