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Brownfields training sees 61 graduates

Nye County and the Nye Communities Coalition recently celebrated an exciting milestone in local environmental workforce development, with a Brownfields Job Training Graduation Ceremony that saw a total of 61 graduates. Armed with a host of newly acquired knowledge, these graduates now have the skills necessary to seek out and secure careers in the green-jobs sector.

“Congratulations on your achievement,” Nye County Contracts and Grants Manager Stephani Elliott told the graduates on Saturday, Nov. 29. “Each and every one of you is now part of a select group of individuals across the nation who have completed environmental workforce development and graduated from the Brownfields Job Training program. … The effort you have put forth in the Brownfields Job Training program is a stepping stone towards your future and will pave the way for a cleaner and more sustainable world for generations to come.”

Those unfamiliar with the term may be wondering what a brownfield is. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which administers the grant that funds the training program, a brownfield is any property where the expansion, redevelopment or reuse is complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.

“Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties increases local tax bases, facilities job growth, utilizes existing infrastructure, takes development pressures off of undeveloped open land and both improves and protects the environment,” information from the EPA states.

However, remediation of these kinds of properties takes specific skill sets, skills which are provided by the brownfields training program. Nye County has been partnering with the NyECC on this training for a full decade now, with the first set of students graduating in 2013.

“The Brownfields Job Training Grant is an EPA grant that was awarded to Nye County in order to provide individuals with specialized job training,” NyECC Job Developer and Safety/Facilities Manager Ed Kelly told the Times following the graduation ceremony. “NyECC partners with the county as a sub-grantee and we recruit both trainers and trainees, facilitate the training and report on the progress of the training cohorts.”

Kelly detailed that the mandatory training, called HAZWOPER, is 40 hours long and covers a wide array of subject matter. “It’s the intersection of the three regulatory agencies: OSHA, EPA and DOT,” Kelly explained. “The students learn how to control and contain chemical spills, establish a decontamination plan and properly use protective equipment while working with hazardous materials.”

The 2023 course also included many other certification options, including those for OSHA General Industry: Asbestos Abatement, Lead Abatement, OSHA Construction, Job Readiness, CPR/First Aid/AED, Bloodborne Pathogens Awareness, Disaster Site Worker, Traffic Controller/Flagger, Defensive Driving and Environmental Technician.

“We had veterans, women, recent high school graduates, re-entering citizens, older retired individuals, unemployed, previous business owners and individuals looking for a career instead of just a job,” Kelly remarked. “The goal of the grant is to train 75 individuals and have them gain employment with a sustainable wage. We had 61 individuals complete the training cohorts and we will follow the individuals for one year after completion of the training and monitor their successes.”

For more information on the Brownfield Job Training program contact NyECC 775-727-9970.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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