Brownfields/Minority Worker Training Project
The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Dillard University (formerly at Xavier University of Louisiana) in collaboration with Clark Atlanta University's Environmental Justice Resource Center has been conducting Brownfields/Minority Worker Training funded by The National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences for the last fifteen years. Training has been delivered in the following cities:
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana in collaboration with Southern University at Baton Rouge,
- Shreveport, Louisiana in collaboration with Southern University at Shreveport,
- New Orleans, Louisiana,
- Dallas, Texas, in collaboration with New Start for Environmental Justice,
- Houston, Texas in collaboration with Texas Southern University,
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida in collaboration with Dillard-Bass Community-Based Organization,
- Biloxi/Gulfport, Mississippi in collaboration with the Center for Environmental and Economic Justice
- Detroit, Michigan in collaboration with Detroiter?s Working for Environmental Justice
- Atlanta, Georgia in collaboration with Clark Atlanta University and,
- Savannah, Georgia in collaboration with the Center for Environmental Justice.
Hurricane Katrina Training Initiatives
Hurricane Katrina has been described as the worst natural disaster ever reported in North America. The Katrina Response Consortium consisting of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Dillard University (DU/DSCEJ) in New Orleans, LA in partnership with Texas Southern University's Department of Sociology in Houston, TX, the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufactory, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (USW), minority-owned and institutional-based training providers, and local, state, and federal agencies, to implement a Minority Worker Training Program in response to the environmental devastation of Hurricane Katrina. This project represents a unique initiative that links Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), community-based organizations (CBOs) and small and disadvantaged businesses, unions with apprenticeship programs, and government agencies, with the overall goal of rebuilding the Gulf Coast, promoting community involvement, and creating a work force of trained community residents from the impacted areas ready to assist government, businesses, and contractors in the environmental remediation of the Gulf Coast states.
Department of Labor
Initially the Department of Labor Worker Training Program was funded to train the un- and underemployed population returning home Post-Katrina. Due to an acute shortage of affordable rental property in the city and the closing and planned demolition of public housing complexes this population was not currently present in the city. This result was that many of New Orleans' poorest and most needy citizens cannot afford to return home. The recruitment efforts resulted in identifying contractors, work-ready or work-experienced individuals, and college graduates or individuals with college training who are interested in becoming contractors. Therefore, the format of the original worker training was modified to include technical training only in Hazmat, Asbestos and Mold Remediation.
The modification of the program?s scope of work entailed the elimination of the basic skills training. This component of training is designed to address academic and life skills deficits that prevent trainees from being work-ready. With the population that had been recruited early on in the process, it became evident that this component of training would not be needed. The modification in the scope of work also involved providing technical training in hazardous waste work (40 hours) and mold remediation (24 hours), the two most important courses and certifications needed to get people employed in the cleanup and rebuilding effort. To this was added a 4 hour course entitled ?Health and Safety for Devastated Communities?. This course, developed and presented by the United Steel Workers, is a special course designed to address the specific needs of post Katrina New Orleans, and to prepare residents for future devastating events.
Xavier Triangle Community Worker Training & Construction Company
The Xavier Triangle Project trained community residents in basic construction skills and hazardous materials abatement. The trainees received academic and life skills training to prepare them to successfully complete technical training, resulting in employment. Moreover, Xavier University, through its involvement in the project, improved its ability to service the academic and job training needs of inner city youth. This project represented a unique opportunity to link Xavier with the community and labor organizations in ways that improved the quality of life of residents of the Xavier Triangle Community and empowered community members through employment. Two cycles of this project were funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
This initiative attempts to implement a Worker Health and Safety Training program designed to address the needs of displaced workers, residents and small and disadvantaged business owners. This project will address the environmental training needs in the aftermath of Katrina of individuals who reside in impacted areas and/or were displaced by the hurricane and live in the Gulf States of Louisiana and Texas. In addition, funding has been provided by the Department of Labor to train New Orleans residents in technical areas that will support the rebuilding efforts in the city. That program is slated for completion in the summer of 2007.
Canal Lock Job Training Project
The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Dillard University (formerly at Xavier University of Louisiana) in collaboration with the Laborers-AGC structured a job training program that focused on preparing unemployed and under-employed persons residing in the targeted area to work on construction contracts related to the demolition of the Galvez Street Wharf, and levee/floodwall work on the west bank of the Industrial Canal Lock Replacement Project in the 9th ward of New Orleans, LA. This program was funded for two cycles by the Corps of Engineers.