Environmental Remediation Course Making an Impact
For nearly 15 years, Clover Park Technical College has partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency, City of Tacoma and Goodwill to provide grant-funded environmental remediation training courses. Friday, the program received some extra attention.
CPTC hosted a media event to spread awareness of the program Friday afternoon, offering a glimpse into the program and featuring comments from some of the partners in the education process.
“We’re particularly proud of EPA’s Environmental Job Training Grant program, which ensures that this work creates opportunities for local residents in environmental cleanup,” Director of EPA’s Washington Operations Office Lucy Edmondson said. “It’s a classic win-win: it creates job opportunities for members of the local community, and it provides environmental employers with a much-need pool of committed and highly qualified workers.”
The intensive training program runs about a month and a half, five days per week from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at CPTC’s Lakewood Campus. The free course provides training and certifications ranging from hazardous waste cleanup training, chemical safety, first aid and CPR, “all things necessary to find good-paying jobs and to play an active role in revitalizing communities,” Edmondson said.
City of Tacoma EPA Grant Administrator Keith Armstrong also took a few minutes to speak Friday afternoon. He focused on the value of collaboration to fill needs for both jobs and training around the county.
“We have a lot of jobs that need to be filled,” Armstrong said. “We need to do a better job of training our young folks and those who are trying to go into different careers, and an environmental career is something that’s a life-changing event. Tacoma is leading the way in trying to clean up our environment, train our people and create living-wage jobs. We’re really trying to get everybody to raise the level of their income, and this is one of the best ways I know: train them up, get them working and spend the money in Pierce County.”
In order to participate in the program, applicants must meet various eligibility requirements and attend a mandatory program orientation and assessment session. Goodwill handles the recruitment process for the program and works with students throughout the process to provide career counseling. One of those former students, Ricardo Loza, completed the program in 2013 and now is one of the key employers of students coming out of the program.
“Once you get out here and you actually get your certificates and get out into the workforce, it’s really amazing how many opportunities there are,” Loza said. “As a former student, it’s a pleasure and a privilege to help be one of those employers that create that entire public-private partnership that really makes programs like this work.”
Loza works as the regional director of operations at TCB Industrial in Tacoma and hires temporary workers for various environmental jobs. His pool of temp workers regularly changes as the former students secure permanent staff positions with companies in the area.
“As an employer, it’s always very exciting to see a program that creates employable, ready-to-go employees right out of the gate,” Loza said. “Their industries can range anywhere from environmental remediation to the oil business, industrial plant maintenance, among many other industries.”
The next program orientation sessions are scheduled for March 13 and April 4 at 1 p.m. at Goodwill’s Milgard Work Opportunity Center in Tacoma. Interested applicants can find more information and register for the orientation here.