The US Environmental Protection Agency is dishing out $2.6m to non-profit organisations, workforce investment boards and state and local governments across the country.

They will be used to teach local people living near brownfield sites environmental assessment and contamination cleanup skills.

In the last decade, EPA has spent more than $25m on brownfields job training funds and more than 4,000 people have completed training programmes, with more than three quarters of them ending up in jobs in the environment sector.

EPA’s outgoing administrator Stephen Johnson said: “EPA’s Brownfields Programme is helping revitalise and restore neighbourhoods nationwide.

“These grants will help community members convert contaminated land into sources of public pride.”

One of the communities that will benefit from the cash is in Baltimore, in Maryland.

EPA has given non-profit organisation Civic Works, part of the AmeriCorps programme, a $200,000 grant which will be used to train 40 students and place at least 30 graduates in entry-level environmental jobs helping to clean up contaminated sites in Baltimore.

It is the fourth time EPA has awarded a brownfields training grant to the organisation since 2000, and so far it has trained 165 people and places 122 graduates in jobs.

“This grant will help to ensure that brownfields cleanup projects in Baltimore have the trained workforce needed to revitalise contaminated properties and provide local community members with the opportunity to compete in the economic mainstream,” said Donald Welsh, administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.

Kate Martin

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