SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — People living in north Springfield could soon have an opportunity to help find work and clean up the community.
The city and the Environmental Protection Agency have worked together on many different grants.
This time, Springfield was the only city in the midwest to be awarded a grant which creates work and gets rid of hazardous sites in the city.
A federal grant may help set up a win, win situation for folks in north Springfield.
“Not only is the remediation happening on those sites, but the people living in those sites are gaining employment and benefiting from it as well.”
The EPA is giving 18 communities across the country $200, 000 for the next three years to train people on how to work in hazardous sites like the former Kerr-McGee site in northwest Springfield.
“It could be a building, it could be a plot of land, it could be something that has experienced some kind of contamination. There might be lead or asbestos that needs to be removed.”
Isaac Weber from the Missouri Career Center said the program will train and certify more than 50 people at Environmental Works on Chestnut Expressway.
“They could be remediation and cleaning up lead or asbestos in different sites. Part of our training is a CDL too and so, they could be driving trucks to and from some of the sites,” said Weber.
Springfield Zone One Councilwoman Phyllis Ferguson said the grant is a blessing.
“If you look at Springfield, Missouri and then you look at the closest grant that was awarded was in Louisiana and Alabama.”
Ferguson believes this can kickstart a path out of poverty for some while cleaning up contaminated sites in their neighborhoods.
“The unemployment rate is at the lowest rate we’ve had in Springfield, just over four percent, however in Zone 1, we still have double digit unemployment.”
The Missouri Career Center should get their money in October and training will begin in January 2017.