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Your Environment. Your Health.

Hazardous Material and Green Job Training for America's Workforce

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)

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"We hope our green jobs training support can assure that workers become and remain active participants in determining and improving the health and safety conditions under which they work."
— Chip Hughes, M.P.H., Chief of Worker Education and Training Branch, NIEHS

Each year, hazardous waste and emergency response personnel face dangerous exposures. In 2008 alone, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 89 worker deaths and approximately 5.5 recordable injuries per 100 full time workers in the Waste/Hazardous Materials Industry. In addition, many of the emerging green jobs in weatherization and retro-fitting involve work with hazardous material, waste, construction and deconstruction. To prevent injury, illness, and public exposures from hazardous materials, especially in the underserved, minority and lower wage workforce, targeted, job-specific training is paramount.

How is the Recovery Act (ARRA) helping to create jobs and train America's workforce?

NIEHS Recovery dollars are supporting health and safety training for target populations in the hazardous materials and green job sectors. Employees are receiving training about exposures in hazardous waste cleanups, large-scale construction, demolition, Brownfield-type redevelopment and public works projects, as well as commercial and residential weatherization, alternative energy development, green remediation, green construction and emerging industries like nanotechnology.

Hazardous Waste Training for Underserved Populations

The Recovery Act is supporting job creation and the prevention of work related accidents in underserved populations by:

  • Assisting underserved populations with gaining employment in remediation and hazardous waste industries.
  • Training hundreds of workers to clean up newly funded hazardous waste sites in New York and New Jersey.
  • Training and placement of minority workers from low-income communities in Atlanta, Georgia and the four-county area surrounding Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Green supervisor training is also being provided to program graduates in Baton Rouge and Detroit.

Green Job Training for the Unemployed and Underemployed

Green job training and education is an environmental public health imperative to avoid the creation of negative health impacts. During the past several years, the movement towards a "green" economy has offered new opportunities for the unemployed and underemployed. Recovery Act funds are supporting projects that will:

  • Train unemployed or underemployed workers to conduct weatherization activities in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
  • Retrain thousands of workers as weatherization technicians, weatherization supervisors, and energy auditors, as well as developing three new weatherization programs that requiring writers, editors, and subject matter experts.
  • Train workers for green construction jobs, including weatherization and alternative energy sources, and a train the trainer program to conduct energy audits using the Insulation Energy Appraisal Certification Program (IEAP).

Recovery Act Spotlight

Developing America's emergency response, hazardous waste and green job workforce

Researcher Research Description
Cesar Bandera
BanDeMar Networks, LLC
Northridge, Calif.
Just-In-Time Training of Emergency Response Personnel - Phase II
Developing a wireless training lesson that can be delivered in real-time via cell phones to skilled service personnel dispatched to an emergency incident.
Frank Cyphers
International Chemical Workers Union
Akron, Ohio
Success Story
Hazardous waste disaster response training
Emergency response hazmat disaster preparedness and hazardous waste worker training for industrial, educational, government and health care workers who respond to chemical emergencies.
Christopher T. Held
MetaMedia Training International, Inc.
Germantown, MD
HazMat eLearning system for emergency responders
Developing an online hazardous materials training for emergency responders to provide comprehensive training while simplifying the complex approach used in classrooms and textbooks.
Beverly Wright, Ph.D.
Dillard University
New Orleans, La.
Success Story
Reaching the underserved through targeted job training
Providing minority workers in the South with skills needed to obtain sustainable employment with contractors working on hazardous waste removal and weatherization.
Tipawan Truong-Quang Reed
OAI, Inc.
Chicago, IL
Hazardous Waste training for first reponders
Providing hazardous waste and minority worker training for firefighters and first responders, as well as U.S. Department of Energy, construction, union, and green collar workers throughout the country.
LaMont Byrd
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Washington, DC
Hazardous Training in hazardous waste clean-up and transport
Training workers to safely clean-up and transport hazardous waste.
Sonny E. Kirkley
Information in Place, Inc.
Bloomington, IN
Hazmat training and support materials for workers in remote locations
Developing training materials, performance aids, and checklists for job site access and real-time collaboration for hazmat and medical experts at remote locations.

Learn more about Worker Training Programs at the NIEHS


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