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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Richmond Build

Federal Stimulus Dollars Help Train Disadvantaged Richmond Residents
for Jobs in Renewable, Clean Energy

Senior EPA Officials Tour Construction Training Site, Stimulus Funding at Work in the Bay Area

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency held a press conference on Thursday, April 8th to discuss the details of a $500,000 EPA Brownfields job training grant to Richmond, California. The City of Richmond’s job training program consists of training in a variety of environmental, green technology and construction skills. During the next three years, hundreds of graduates will receive certifications that will help them secure employment in the fast growing sectors of renewable and clean energy.

Worker in training
A RichmondBUILD trainee uses a manometer to measure air pressure inside home to assess air leakage

The Recovery Act funding will help train 128 residents and place 102 graduates during the three-year grant. Each training cycle will last for 10 weeks and include 250 hours of training that includes 40-hour hazardous material operation, pre-apprenticeship construction skills, lead and asbestos abatement, mold remediation abatement, refinery safety, energy efficiency, solar technology/installation and electrician skills training.

RichmondBUILD has established strong connections with a broad range of environmental and green employers in the regions, construction trade unions and community based organizations that provide support to participants in the obtaining and maintaining employment. Life skills and case management will be provided for all trainees. Applicants seeking entry into the program must be a Richmond resident, 18 years age or older, valid CA driver’s license, high school diploma or GED, social security card, pass a drug and fitness test and be willing to work hard.

RichmondBUILD Training Facility

Worker in training
RichmondBUILD job trainees learning basic residential framing techniques

RichmondBUILD’s Pre-apprenticeship Construction Skills and Green Jobs Training & Career Academy was first developed in April 2007 to create employment and career opportunities for Richmond residents and to implement a strategy for reducing violence in the community. It has quickly become a model of effective and broad public/private partnership that is focused on developing talent and skills in the high wage construction and renewable energy fields.

RichmondBUILD has received national and international recognition as an exemplary green-collar job training program. The Program won the 2008 FBI’s Director’s Community Leadership Award, selected as a semi-finalist for the 2009 Harvard Innovations in American Government award, and recently was awarded a Conservation Champion award by Senator Barbara Boxer. The 14-week intensive program (10 weeks which are funded by EPA) includes training in safety, first aid/CPR, power tools, framing, sheet rock, basic electrical, roofing, scaffolding, basic plumbing, basic welding, eco literacy, energy efficiency and solar installation training. To date, RichmondBUILD graduates have a 90 percent placement rate with an average wage of $18.33 an hour. The waiting list for entry is over 350 applicants long.


  • Since its inception in the mid-nineties, EPA’s Brownfields Program has invested over $104 million in brownfields grants to help communities like Richmond and work cooperatively with nonprofit organizations and local governments to clean up and redevelop vacant or under-utilized properties called “Brownfields.”
  • Our Brownfields Job Training Program provides funding for environmental cleanup and health and safety training to organizations to train residents of brownfields-impacted communities who are seeking new skills and greater earning potential. The Program helps clean up brownfields, spurs sustainable economic development, and creates a pool of skilled workers capable of meeting the environmental cleanup and green jobs industries’ demand for workers.
  • The Brownfield Job Training grantees have reported that 5,312 participants have completed training and approximately 65% have received employment with an average hourly wage of $15.
  • To date, EPA’s Brownfields program has leveraged nearly $13 billion. Approximately 14,000 properties have been assessed, 366 properties have been cleaned up and more than 54,000 jobs have been leveraged.
  • EPA’s Brownfields Program is a great example of how a city can use EPA resources to engage and empower underserved and vulnerable communities to address environmental and public health concerns associated with contaminated properties and can develop places where people can work, live, play, raise families, and access needed services, such as employment.
  • EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is committing EPA to “Clean up our Communities” and the Agency is pleased to highlight the City of Richmond as an example for not only utilizing EPA resources to achieve this mission, but coordinating with our fellow federal partners such as Department of Labor, Housing and Urban Development and Department of Energy.
  • By collaboratively utilizing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funds, the City of Richmond and its various departments will not only create employment opportunities for over 400 local residents, but will also help reemployed up to 125 construction workers as well as create 28 new sustainable homes in 2010 and weatherize numerous senior citizens’ housing.
EPA - Recovery Act

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