Baker City – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that the Baker Technical Institute in Baker City will receive a $500,000 federal investment as one of 29 grant recipients nationwide to recruit, train and place workers in community revitalization and cleanup projects at brownfield sites, abandoned land polluted by industrial practices.
“Too many communities in our state, large and small, have been hurt by polluted land, and can benefit immensely from the community revitalization that comes from cleaning up brownfield sites,” Wyden said. “The brownfield cleanup training program at Baker Technical Institute will create good-paying jobs all over the state. It is a crucial first step to continue to support our state’s economic growth and tourism so that Oregon communities can reinvest in the land that we love.”
“Ensuring students can succeed in environmental jobs across Oregon will not only support our environment, but our economy as well,” Merkley said. “This program will provide a strong foundation for these students and set them up to do important cleanup work in every corner of the state.”
Baker Technical Institute plans to train 60 students to be placed in local environmental jobs. Graduates will be trained in environmental site assessments, asbestos and lead paint safety, and environmental career planning. Training is focused on students in Polk, Marion, Linn, Benton, Crook, Jefferson, and Deschutes Counties, specifically tribal members, and low-income and unemployed Oregonians. Partners include Business Oregon, City of Prineville, Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Knife River Construction, Oregon Department of Human Services, and SMAF Environmental.
“President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is supercharging EPA’s Brownfields Program, which is transforming blighted sites, protecting public health, and creating economic opportunities in more overburdened communities than ever before,” said EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe. “The investments announced today will not only support the cleanup of some of our nation’s most polluted areas, but they will also equip a new generation of workers to take on the significant environmental challenges that plague overburdened neighborhoods, and jumpstart sustainable, long-term careers in the communities that need these jobs the most.”
“Baker Technical Institute is honored to have been selected to provide this much-needed workforce development training,” said Baker Technical Institute President Doug Dalton. “Two of the best investments that can be made to drive economic development in most communities is improving infrastructure and the people that live there, and this training will do both. Graduates of this program will enter the market when the demand and pay for skilled workers are at an all-time high. A reliable workforce pipeline for employers can help rural communities thrive. Our goal is to provide post-secondary training that makes a difference in the lives of our students, their families, and the communities where they live.”