Wyden, Merkley: $500,000 to Baker Technical Institute for Job Training to Clean Up Brownfield Sites

Washington, D.C. –
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
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.”

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.”