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Cincinnati organization lands $500,000 grant for revitalization and cleanup of brownfield sites

Brownfield site in South Cumminsville, Cincinnati
Zack Carreon
Brownfield site in South Cumminsville, Cincinnati.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it will award a $500,000 environmental job training grant to Groundwork Ohio River Valley, an environmental justice nonprofit based in Cincinnati.

The grant, provided through the EPA's Brownfields Job Training Program, will go toward the recruiting and training of 40 local students to enter environmental jobs and participate in community revitalization and cleanup projects at brownfield sites in Ohio.

Groundwork Ohio River Valley, part of a nationwide network of local environmental organizations, plans to recruit young people in Cincinnati neighborhoods considered to be climate-vulnerable and likely near a brownfield site to participate in the training.

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Brownfield sites are properties that are abandoned or underutilized due to industrial pollution. The sites are often former locations of factories or gas stations and can contain contaminants from chemicals or metals.

Groundwork USA's website says its mission is to empower people and promote social well-being by undoing legacies of poverty and racial discrimination and lifting communities experiencing disinvestment and neglect.

The goal of the grant is to create a skilled workforce to help underserved communities most affected by environmental issues become cleaner and more environmentally sustainable by helping with the assessment and cleanup of these sites.

EPA Regional Administrator Debra Shore says the funding will give Cincinnati's youth the tools they need to build long-lasting success in their communities.

"The program provides disadvantaged youth the opportunity to get a job leading the way for the next generation of environmental leaders in Ohio," Shore said.

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Students in the program will be prepared to secure full-time jobs in the environmental field and learn about hazardous and solid waste management as well as cleanup and chemical safety. The EPA says students typically graduate with certification in areas like lead and asbestos abatement, hazardous waste operations, mold remediation, and environmental sampling and analysis.

Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.