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EPA Environmental Program Success Stories

The EPA Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training program has been awarding competitive grants to nonprofits and other eligible parties since 1998. The program was designed to develop a skilled workforce in a wide range of environmental careers in the very communities that have historically been impacted by environmental pollution and contaminated sites. Delaware has been very fortunate to have been awarded the grant training program in partnership with West End Neighborhood House and the Del-aware Technical Community College in Wilmington. The program is helping to put people in our communities to work by building skills in the environmental field. With these vital skills, many grant recipients have turned their lives around. Here are some of their stories from the West End Neighborhood House Environmental Job Training Program Newsletter (June 2016):

Amanda McGrady, a single mother of two, was desperate to find a career that would help her be-come financially self-sufficient and take care of her children. With only a high school diploma, she could only find part-time jobs that paid a mini-mum wage. When Amanda couldn’t afford to re-pair her car, renew her car insurance, and pay rent, she knew she would need certifications and job skills to start a career.

Hoping to enter the construction and environmental field, Amanda applied for the Environmental Job Training Program at West End Neighborhood House. Despite being the only woman in her co-hort, she passed each and every one of her classes. She has since earned certifications in Customer Service, OSHA 10, OSHA 40 (HAZWOPER), Asbestos Removal, Lead RRP, and Forklift Operation. In early May, Amanda was hired as an Environmental Technician for a national transportation company and is now looking forward to advancing in the environmental field. Now that she is earning a livable wage, Amanda has started to save for a new home with the help of a Financial Coach through the $tand By Me Financial Em-powerment Program.

Charles Kozur is a Gulf War Veteran who received the Army Achievement Medal, Ar-my Logistics Medal, Overseas Service Medal and Liberation of Kuwait Medal for outstanding service to his country. After returning to the US from Desert Storm, he struggled to adjust to civilian life. A criminal background prevented him from finding a job that paid a livable wage.

When Charles heard about the Environmental Job Training Program, he decided to take advantage of the opportunity, and was excited to pursue his education in a field he truly enjoyed.
After completing certifications in Customer Service, OSHA 10, OSHA 40 (HAZWOPER), Lead RRP, Asbestos Removal, and Forklift Operation, Charles found a full-time job as a lead technician for a disaster/biohazard response company. Charles not only makes more than the minimum wage; he also receives healthcare benefits, paid vacation time, and has started a 401(k). In fact, he has performed so well at his job that he is the first person called for new environmental remediation contracts. His goal is to continue in environmental construction and eventually move into management.

Tyrone Williams is a single father of four. He felt stuck in a poor financial situation, which led to his involvement in the criminal justice system. While incarcerated, Tyrone decided to focus on a brighter future and work towards a sustainable career. He enrolled in the Federal Re-entry Pro-gram, and while attending, he applied at West End Neighborhood House for the Environmental Job Training Program. Tyrone also took ad-vantage of financial coaching offered by West End through $tand By Me Financial Coaching to repair his credit and set financial goals for his family.

Tyrone’s ultimate goal is to move out of the Ox-ford House (federal halfway house) and become a homeowner. He completed certifications in Cus-tomer Service, OSHA 10, OSHA 40 (HAZWOPER), Lead RRP, Asbestos Removal, and Forklift Operation. Just two weeks after earning his environmental construction creden-tials, Tyrone was offered a full-time job at an inter-national corporation with one of the largest distribution systems in North America. Tyrone strives for excellence and takes pride in his work as he applies his knowledge of environmental safety and construction techniques. As a result, he was as-signed additional responsibilities by his employer and is now training new employees to follow OSHA safety regulations.

Tyrone has been working for the past two months and hopes to con-tinue his upward mobility within the company. He is also saving to purchase a home, and is giving back to his community by volunteering at the Achievement Center, where he serves as a men-tor, encouraging youth and ex-offenders to be part of a greater tomorrow.

For more information on West End Neighborhood House Environmental Job Training Program, please contact:
Julie Bieber
Director
Education & Employment Department
West End Neighborhood House (302) 658-4171 ext. 161