CASE STUDY: Contracting with the EPA to provide Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT)

EWDJT grads

CHC Training fulfilled a three-year contract to provide grant-funded training to 51 Colorado students to enter the field of environmental remediation.

We’re committed to workforce development at CHC Training. In 2021, we were thrilled to be awarded an EPA grant-funded contract to run five training sessions for the Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) program. CHC Training was selected as the winning contractor following an RFP issued by DOLA and the Bent County Development Foundation

The Goal:

Beginning in 2021 with the awarding of the grant, we worked to recruit local unemployed and under-employed residents into the EWDJT program. EWDJT grantees implement environmental workforce development programs throughout the country, tailoring their training programs to the needs of local communities. Job Training program graduates have successfully contributed to the green economy since EPA’s program began in 1995.

The purpose of this program was to target underserved and underemployed individuals in rural areas between Pueblo and Bent Counties and provide them with the training and licensure necessary for employment in the environmental remediation industry. By providing training and accreditation in HAZWOPER and Asbestos Worker disciplines at no cost to the students, the aim was to get as many program alumni as possible into secure, ongoing full-time employment. 

EWDJT graduation

CHC Training’s Solution: 

Over the course of the contract, we delivered five different training sessions – one at the Fort Lyon campus in Bent County, Colorado, and four in Pueblo, Colorado. These trainings entailed 32 hours of initial HAZWOPER training and 40 hours of initial Asbestos Worker training in person over the course of eight days. 

To recruit prospects, we worked closely with the Colorado Division of Housing. We also enlisted our own professional networks, alumni community, and marketing channels to spread the word about these training sessions via email campaigns, social media, and our website.

Each of these sessions delivered tremendous value to students at no cost to them. Through grant funding, we were able to include the cost of the course tuition, qualitative fit test, ½ face respirator, 1 set cartridge, hardhat, safety vest, safety glasses, the $125 fee for a worker ID, and even transportation to the training site in some cases. In addition, we provided job placement assistance for those who successfully completed the program.

CHC Training Sr. Instructor Mike Benedetto commends graduates on completing the program

Outcomes: 

The five training sessions yielded 51 newly-certified program alumni. The 51 graduates of the program were successfully placed in high-paying (~61% over Colorado minimum wage) environmental services jobs with most reporting continual employment through one year following their graduation.

Qualitatively, this program provided opportunities to underserved communities in Colorado – especially for individuals in need of new career paths. After facing unemployment and job uncertainty exacerbated by the pandemic, participants turned toward the environmental remediation field as a promising source of continuous, well-paid, and in-demand work.

“We wish all the graduates continued success in their new environmental careers,” says Christin Tilly, Brownfields Project Manager, USEPA Region 8. “From our brief acquaintances with the graduates last Friday, we definitely heard the impact the asbestos certification and subsequent employment has made on their lives.”

“The opportunity to provide training and placement assistance was very fulfilling,” reflects Danaya Wilson, CEO & Co-Founder of CHC Training. “While it was a lofty investment on the student’s behalf to spend 10 days training, it was exciting to see the moment their hard work paid off and they were working in jobs making almost double their prior income. I also had the opportunity to follow up with the graduates several times over the course of the year and it was incredible to hear that the majority were working in the same position they had secured after completing the program.”

The Environmental Protection Agency Region 8, Deputy Regional Administrator, Mark Smith attended the final graduation ceremony on 5/19/23 and presented a commencement address to attendees.

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