DEP GREEN CAREER PROGRAM YIELDS FIRST GRADUATES, JOB OPPORTUNITIES IN CAMDEN
(12/P80) TRENTON - Students of the Christie Administration’s first environmental jobs training program in Camden celebrated their graduation today at a ceremony at the Camden County Regional Emergency Training Center in Blackwood.
Camden Environmental Workforce Training Program, a Department of Environmental Protection program, targets unemployed or underemployed Camden residents for green or site remediation positions. Five students from the inaugural class of 18 were hired for jobs prior to graduation.
Employers include Amtrak, AmeriGreen, and the Asbestos, Lead and Hazardous Waste Workers Local 78 Apprenticeship Program. Two additional employers, Groundwater Environmental Services Inc. and Clean Harbors Environmental Services, are interviewing graduates.
“This program is a prime example of the Christie Administration’s successful focus on improving our environment while also helping the state’s economy,’’ said Commissioner Bob Martin. “These new, green jobs will especially benefit residents of an urban community, providing new jobs and career opportunities for Camden residents. They are learning skills that can benefit future environmental projects in their city and statewide. I congratulate the first graduates of this program.”
“This training program and others like it across the state follow a new model established by this Administration that focuses our training investments on the needs of employers in major industry sectors,” said Harold J. Wirths, Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. “The strong partnership between the state, local government, community colleges and employers benefits both individuals who are looking for work and the companies that are looking for skilled workers."
New Jersey received a $300,000 grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency for this training program focused on jobs in assessing, cleaning up, and redeveloping brownfields sites in Camden. The grant money is funneled through the DEP’s Office of Sustainability and Green Energy (SAGE), which has designed and implemented a Sustainable Brownfields Redevelopment Workforce Creation for Camden County Program.
“EPA’s Job Training Program provides opportunities for economic benefits for local workers as well as communities during environmental cleanups,’’ said Lisa Feldt, EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “The program enables residents to train for jobs while helping their communities. These green jobs reduce environmental contamination and build more sustainable futures for workers especially in areas where jobs and environmental cleanup are needed most."
In addition to the 18 students who are graduating today, another 48 students will be trained over the next two years. Participants in the program are certified in solar panel installation and trained in environmental sampling and remediation, solid waste management and cleanup awareness, underground storage tank awareness, and innovative and green technologies for remediation and redevelopment.
This job training and placement program began in January at Camden County College. An innovative curriculum was offered based on needs and skill sets identified by local employers, project contractors, and community partners in Camden.
Significant events for this year’s graduates included field trips to the active remediation of the Harrison Avenue Landfill, and to the site of an old warehouse that is being redeveloped into a waterfront public park by the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority.
There are numerous urban land reclamation projects being designed and implemented in the Camden area. In past revitalization projects in Camden, skilled environmental professional were often hired from outside of Camden to conduct needed environmental assessment, remediation and maintenance efforts. This new job training program will help change that pattern.
“Camden is a hot spot for sustainable redevelopment and beneficial brownfield reuse,” said DEP Project Manager Jaime Ewalt, of the SAGE office. “We are committed to redevelopment and beneficial reuse of brownfield sites, including, but not limited to solar panel installation and green stormwater infrastructure. These graduates are knowledgeable in the skills necessary to carry out the ongoing work needed to transform Camden and the region. The stage is set and these graduates are ready for many upcoming opportunities for jobs in this green economy.’’
Employment partners and local nonprofit groups involved in the program include the Salvation Army, Camden County Municipal Utility Authority, Camden Redevelopment Agency, Dresdner Robin, Cooper’s Ferry Development Association, Respond Inc., Heart of Camden, Save Our Waterfront, and Camden City Garden Club. Camden County College and the Camden County One Stop Career Center have been essential partners in training, job placement and career preparation.
The federal Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act of 2002 established a Brownfields Program that provides funds for brownfields assessments, cleanup, revolving loans and green job training.
For information on the Camden Environmental Workforce Training Program, and green job development opportunities in New Jersey, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/sage/sustain_jobs.html
For more information on resources available through the Department to Labor and Workforce Development, visit: http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/wnjpin/wnjpin_index.html
For information on EPA Region2 brownfields activities, visit: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/