NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — Residents of New Bedford and the greater SouthCoast have the opportunity to receive free job training as part of an upcoming initiative offered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Through the EPA’s Superfund Job Training Initiative, those who graduate from the program will have the necessary skills and certifications to work with environmental contractors on a number of projects in New Bedford and translate those into future employment in the field.

“This is the first time the EPA is offering this unique job training program in New England, and we’re doing it right here in New Bedford, where community members have historically been overburdened by environmental pollution,” said Dr. David Cash, Regional Administrator for the EPA.

Dr. Cash noted it’s not just the New Bedford Harbor Superfund site but also many other factors such as air pollution and other water pollution.

"This program will provide participants with multiple certifications at no charge and prepare them for careers in environmental cleanup work,” he said.

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There will be 30 slots available for those who wish to partake in the training to get jobs in the cleanup of the harbor as well as other environmental projects, the offshore wind industry and more.

“That’s 30 more people that will be in the employment pipeline because they’ll have some serious skills, they’ll have those certificates in their pocket, and those certificates are like credit cards because they always last,” said John “Buddy” Andrade, Director of the Old Bedford Village Development Corporation.

“You can translate those skills and those certificates to highway construction – the (New Bedford-Fairhaven) bridge is going to be replaced, all the other road work that is going on, housing construction, deleading, asbestos removal, as well as renewable energy,” Andrade said. “These same skills are the basic elements of the green energy industry.”

Graduates of SuperJTI programs earn certificates in: Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (40-hr HAZWOPER); 10-hour Occupational Safety and Health Administration Construction Outreach; CPR/First Aid; Job Readiness Skills; Lead Worker; Asbestos Abatement; OSHA Construction Safety; and Flagging.

Those interested in taking part can attend an informational session at the New Bedford Public Library this coming Wednesday, October 11 or Thursday, October 12. The one-hour PowerPoint presentation will be offered at three times each day: 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Those who want to take part in the informational session can register online, or as Andrade said, simply show up at the library at one of those times.

Dr. Cash said New Bedford’s environmental future has a direct connection to its past.

“Its history of being the Whaling City where whale oil brought light to the world, and that’s what’s happening now, New Bedford is going to be the hub of where new clean energy is brought to the world,” he said. “It’s a critical move toward righting some of the wrongs of the past and making sure (city residents) get the benefits from it.”

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