Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offered a free, two-week training program for East Chicago residents to prepare them for potential environmental jobs. According to the EPA, many graduates were able to get hired by EPA cleanup contractors in other communities where the program has been offered.
The program, called The Superfund Job Training Initiative, includes a 40-hour health and safety course, which teaches program participants hazardous waste operations and emergency response procedures. Graduates earn a HAZWOPER certificate in these areas. This certificate is covered under OSHA and is often required for any environmental cleanup job that involves on-site field work at a hazardous waste site.
Besides the HAZWOPER certification training, participants in the Superfund Job Training program also receive a crash course in job readiness skills, plus CPR and First Aid.
Many interested in participating in the program were able to attend one of multiple informational sessions scheduled at East Chicago Public Library’s Pastrick Branch, 1008 W. Chicago Ave., in East Chicago, in late March.
The EPA is currently overseeing a cleanup of lead and arsenic in the contaminated USS Lead Superfund site. No job placement is guaranteed through the program, but it can put candidates in a better position for opportunities that may arise.