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EPA awards PUSH Buffalo $200,000 to train environmental workforce

858 East Ferry, former brownfield
858 East Ferry, former brownfield

PUSH. Buffalo is being awarded $200,000 by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to help job training and workforce development in communities impacted by environmental neglect. PUSH’s mission focuses on affordable housing, expanding local hiring opportunities and advancing economic and environmental justice.

It is one of 18 organizations across the country to win the award this year, with total funds amounting to $3.3 million. The workforce training and development would revolve around the cleaning up of brownfield sites.

EPA Acting Regional Director Walter Mugdan said the end goal is to create sustainable jobs for unemployed and underemployed people in the environmental preservation sector.

Credit Thomas O'Neil-White
E.P.A. Acting Regional Director Walter Mugdan

“These jobs reduce contamination and build more sustainable futures for their communities,” he said. “The individuals completing a job training program funded by the EPA typically graduate with a variety of certifications that improve their marketability and help ensure that employment opportunities are not just temporary contractual work, but long-term careers.”

PUSH Deputy Director of Administration Dawn Wells-Clyburn said those funds will help her organization in their effort to eliminate problems associated with racial and environmental justice.

“We believe that the transition to a renewable economy is inevitable,” she said, “but justice is not.”

Wells-Clyburn said PUSH is planning on building a 3,000-sq.-ft. sustainability workforce training center, which will house all of the training programs they currently run.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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