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Unemployed and underemployed young people looking for new paths will get training in a variety of fields associated with brownfield cleanup and redevelopment thanks to over $1 million in grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The City of Racine was granted $900,000 in Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training grants so 100 young adults who are currently unemployed or underemployed will learn how to clean up and restore brownfield sites. Participants will have the opportunity to receive training and certification in the following areas:

  • Lead & asbestos removal
  • Hazardous waster operations
  • Licensed commercial truck and bus driving
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Stormwater management
  • Ecosystem restoration
  • Brownfield assessment
  • Disaster response
  • Other environmental health fields

Additionally, the EPA is granting the city another $700,000; $200,000 for planning associated with the 325-acre RootWorks Redevelopment area and $500,000 for a brownfield revolving loan fund that provides low-interest loans to fill gaps between petroleum and hazardous material clean-up on brownfield sites.

Mayor John Dickert credits the city receiving the awards in part because of its strong working relationships with community organizations like Racine County Economic Development Corporation, Gateway Technical College, Racine Vocational Ministry.

“Our partnerships and collaborations within the municipality and outside, such as with RCEDC, help deploy the funding efficiently and effectively. These kinds of funding awards shows that together so much more is possible,” he said in a press release. “With these grants we have the ability to move forward from identifying problem areas, training and employing people to remediate them, to ultimately restoring those areas to useable land.”