HUNTINGTON — The community development non-profit Coalfield Development Corporation has announced, in partnership with the Center for Environmental, Geotechnical, and Applied Sciences (CEGAS) at Marshall University, the: “The Quality Environmental Jobs Initiative”(QEJI).
Funded through an Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training grant from the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection (US EPA), the initiative will provide technical training in environmental remediation over the next two years.
This program is geared toward unemployed or under-employed young adults, laid-off coal miners, and veterans. The training program is free of charge and open to the general public.
A series of courses has already taken place that began in October of 2015 and finished up in December of 2015 that included HAZWOPER, Asbestos abatement and Safety and first aid training.
The second offering of several different courses will begin January 25, 2016 and will be taught over five consecutive weeks for an intensive immersion into the environmental field. Registrations is open immediately and one must be registered at least 1 week prior to courses beginning. To register and see the full course list please visit: http://qejobtrainingwv.eventbrite.com.
In order to be a graduate of the program and gain certifications one must sign up and attend a MINIMUM of 3 courses during the five week offering period and ONE of those courses MUST be the HAZWOPER course.
Graduates of the Quality Environmental Jobs Initiative will gain a working knowledge of job related environmental issues and the opportunity to earn professional certifications in a variety of environmental fields such as: Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER), asbestos abatement, lead abatement, mold remediation, and meth-lab clean up. Additional services will include: professional skills development, life-skills counseling, and job placement services. Importantly, the program involves close collaboration with more than 12 private sector partners and multiple employers across the state.
“This is a great opportunity for hardworking West Virginians to gain valuable skill-sets and credentials for the modern workforce that can lead to good paying jobs,” says CEGAS Director Dr. Tony Szwilski. Coalfield Director Brandon Dennison adds, “These are jobs that help take liabilities such as environmentally damaged properties or vacant buildings and convert them into community assets. It’s exciting to be a part of this process.”
The courses and hands-on training will take place primarily at a former brownfields site previously known as the Corbin Clothing Factory in Huntington which closed and became vacant in the 1990s. Coalfield Development Corporation now owns the building which they redeveloped and rebranded as the West Edge Factory through a partnership with the Wayne County Economic Development Authority, the City of Huntington, and the WV Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Land Restoration and its EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant. The structure now contains a warehouse, workshop, office space, and a large training facility where these courses will take place.
“When coupled with our counseling and job placement services, this program will truly provide an opportunity to change lives for the better,” concluded Brandon Dennison. “I highly encourage anybody looking to improve their skills, to do important work for their community, and find gainful employment to get in touch with us.”