“A key part to any community revitalization is an educated and trained workforce,” said Paul Morris, vice president of workforce development and community education at Delaware Tech.
Participants could be trained in roughly six months, according to West End Neighborhood House Executive Director Paul Calistro. The West End Neighborhood House is one of the coalition members that received an EPA grant and will distribute the funds.
Environmental Alliance Inc., Artesian Resources Corp., Tidewater Utilities Inc. and BrightFields Inc. have already committed to hiring some of the participants upon their graduation, Calistro added. Some of the jobs could pay as much as $14 per hour.
The grant was announced this week at the Wiley Cork Co. industrial site, a formerly contaminated property that was cleaned up with EPA funds. On hand for the announcement were Darius Brown, Wilmington city councilman; Sean Garvin, EPA regional administrator; and Marjorie Croft, director of the Division of Hazardous Waste at the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.
Funds were provided to the Wilmington-based Brownfields WorkForce Development and Job Training Coalition. Members of the coalition include Delaware Technical Community College and Brightfields.
Brown said the EPA’s investment will have a positive impact on residents’ lives and communities.
“By creating pathways out of poverty through education and employment, we are changing the life trajectory of citizens,” he added. “Better skills equal better pay.”
The West End Neighborhood House is one of only 19 organizations nationwide to receive a grant this year for an environmental training program. Communities affected by environmental issues are eligible to receive the funds to educate residents.