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EPA Issues Grant for Environmental Job Training

Friday, March 26, 2021

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Environmental and conservation workforce development and job training company, Limitless Vistas Inc. has recently been awarded a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for environmental job training in the Greater New Orleans area in Louisiana.

The program is funded through the Agency's Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Program.

According to the EPA, the initiative will help advance economic opportunities and address environmental justice issues in underserved communities. The Agency is noted to regularly provide funding to organizations that are working to create a skilled workforce in communities where EPA brownfields assessment and cleanup activities are taking place.

“This organization has a rich history of partnering with EPA to make outstanding efforts in training future environmental professionals,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator David Gray. “The grant awarded today is another step forward in bringing a critical investment for the Greater New Orleans area.”

Drazen Zigic / Getty Images

Environmental and conservation workforce development and job training company, Limitless Vistas Inc. has recently been awarded a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for environmental job training in the Greater New Orleans area in Louisiana.

LVI plans to use the grant to train 60 students in environmental jobs, in which the students will receive two state and four federal certifications. Specifically, the program is targeted to empower the underserved and veterans from the area.

Nationally, EPA funded 18 organizations to receive a total of $3.3 million in grants for environmental job training programs. Since 1998, the Agency's EWDJT Program has awarded more than 335 grants, which in turn have been used to train 18,541 individuals and 13,751 have been placed in careers related to land remediation and environmental health and safety, with an average hourly wage of over $14.

“LVI has maintained that the best way to fight the pervasive issues of environmental justice and build capacity in our underrepresented communities is to provide environmental awareness and job skills training to residents. Now, in the shadow of COVID and its disproportionate impact on the very same communities, it is more important than ever," said Patrick Barnes, Founder and President of LVI's Board of Directors. "

“EPA has long seen the connection between workforce development and addressing systemic EJ issues. We are truly honored to be among the EWDJT grantees this year and look forward to providing environmental job skills training and key credentials to our greater New Orleans youth and veterans.”

Other Worker Training Opportunities

In May of last year, despite the ongoing pandemic, performance paints and coatings manufacturer Indestructible Paint (Birmingham, United Kingdom) reported via emailed press release that it had reinforced its commitment to providing comprehensive product and application training to its customers.

In keeping apace with legislative and environmental obligations, on top of the developing safety regulations in regard to COVID-19, Indestructible reports that its training packages have been tailored to meet specific customer needs and encompass a range of disciplines – from the technical characteristics of different coatings, the theory of paint application and health and safety, to practical spray shop instructions and quality control procedures.

That same month, the WaterJet Technology Association announced that it had partnered with the Houston Area Safety Council to create a new field verification training and certification program for safe and standardized hydroblasting operations.

The Hydroblaster Operator Training and Certification Program is based on WJTA’s Industry Best Practices for the Use of High-Pressure Waterjetting Equipment, which has been used as the industry’s primary reference since the mid-1980s.

Created to provide entry-level instruction for new operators, as well as address the industry’s need for a universal training system, the program is reported to include both classroom and hands-on instruction across all cleaning methods.

In expanding on how the program works, individuals will first complete a three-hour computer-based training module and examination in FT. The module is hosted at the HASC, is available onsite at any safety council in the Association of Reciprocal Safety Council network and is programmed to provide any updates to WJTA’s best practices. Additional delivery solutions for the program are available upon request.

After completing FT, prospective operators can undergo instruction and assessment to gain FV credentials. This course is reported to be just one day long and includes WJTA-approved verified trainer classroom training, hands-on instruction, and hands-on skills assessments. Trainees in this stage of the program will also receive instruction on pre-job inspection, manual shotgunning, flex lancing, rigid lancing and moleing, as well as system setup, inspection and teardown.

WJTA added that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there were current restrictions on the program that limit the ability of WJTA and current Verified Trainers to deliver in-person FV training and train-the-trainer courses. However, WJTA and HASC expect all training delivery to comply with applicable regulations, public health recommendations and social distancing.

Also in May, researchers out of Washington State University and Clemson University have found that insufficient training for construction workers in hospital settings could be contributing to disease outbreaks.

This research, led by Tommy Tafazzoli, assistant professor in the School of Design and Construction, focused on fungal disease outbreaks and the findings were recently published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

According to WSU, in the U.S. there have been nearly 50 fungal outbreaks associated with construction between 1980 and 2015, resulting in infections and more than 120 patient deaths. Meanwhile, though, another survey found that 49% of all health care expenditures in 2017 went to facility renovation to meet rising demand for inpatient care.

Tafazzoli noted that most of the time when the project is a “renovation” for a health care facility, that means that the unit is active and patients are there while the renovation is taking place.

As part of the study, Tafazzoli surveyed 129 people working in 15 leading healthcare construction contractors in the U.S. to determine their level of dust contamination training.

The researchers found a lack of standardized training, that the trainings were mostly tailored for upper management and that contractor and sub-contractor construction crews received the least amount of training.  Because the survey only queried leading construction contractors, the lack of training may be worse than their survey indicates, he added.

The survey also evaluated the quality of training that crews receive, including what safety precautions are different depending on what area of a healthcare facility is having work done—a cardiac unit versus a courtyard, for example.

Tafazzoli suggested uniform regulations for healthcare construction specifically, as well as frequent training for all worker levels in a company.

In August, the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering announced that it was launching a new master’s program in Advanced Design and Construction Technology.

According to USC: “The multi-disciplinary program will focus on the built environment, pulling together experts in various engineering disciplines such as civil and environmental engineering, computer and data sciences, large-scale 3D printing and artificial intelligence, to develop professionals who will apply design and engineering towards the creation of sustainable cities, infrastructure, buildings and systems of the future.”

The program aims to develop expertise in topics such as sustainability, data analysis and visualization, computing, modeling, simulation, process engineering and manufacturing. Innovation and entrepreneurship will also be part of the curriculum.

The program also aims to give students an understanding of how artificial intelligence and Internet-of-things technologies can be employed to optimize energy usage and ventilation, for example. In addition, the program will put emphasis on real-world opportunities and industry engagements.


Tagged categories: Education; Environmental Controls; Environmental Protection; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); EPA; Funding; Grants; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Worker training; Workers

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