Press Release

Castor: This $200k EPA grant ensures pathways to opportunity, success, good-paying jobs for East Tampa neighbors

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Washington, November 22, 2019 | comments
Today, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) was joined by Ernest Coney, CEO and President of Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa, Inc (CDC of Tampa), Wanda Jennings of EPA Region 4 and other leaders to announce a $200,000 grant for the CDC through the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grant.
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Today, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) was joined by Ernest Coney, CEO and President of Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa, Inc (CDC of Tampa), Wanda Jennings of EPA Region 4 and other leaders to announce a $200,000 grant for the CDC through the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grant. Castor championed the grant for critical environmental workforce training to bring our East Tampa neighbors into higher-paying jobs. The grant aims to create a skilled workforce in communities where EPA brownfields assessment and cleanup activities are taking place.

Video is available here. Photos are available here.

“We need a shot in the arm in this community to make sure that everyone has a path to opportunity, success and a good paying job- that’s what this grant is all about. The EPA has been a very good partner for us here in Tampa to create partnerships that allow properties to be redeveloped and cleaned up. But when we clean up and develop our neighborhoods, we want to hire from our neighborhoods,” said Castor. “We want to make sure that our neighbors right here in Tampa are getting the good-paying jobs grants like this provide. One of the reasons that I love this partnership so much is because we bring in University of South Florida to help train these young people – everyone is playing a role in making our community safer and more prosperous.

“Good things are happening right here in East Tampa – if you think back to over 10 years ago, we were really hurting. People were losing their jobs, their homes, we were in the worst recession of our lifetime. Initiatives like this help us get back on our feet, and I’m committed to continuing the momentum. I am grateful for the EPA’s confidence in this community and for the commitment of my partners Ernest Coney and Wanda Jennings in securing this grant for Tampa.”

CDC of Tampa plans to train 60 students and place at least 54 graduates in environmental jobs. The University of South Florida will run a five-week training program and participants who complete the training will earn multiple state and federal certifications.

"Our mission is to equip our students with the skills they need to obtain good-paying, career path positions. When we can do that in a way that helps the area in which they live, we double the impact. When we can do that with partners like Rep. Castor, the EPA, the University of South Florida and our employment partner companies, we triple the bottom line. What it all comes down to is stabilizing individuals, their families and the community, so they are able to build a future for themselves and bolster economic prosperity for the Tampa Bay area,” said Ernest Coney, CEO and President, Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa, Inc.

“Congratulations to the Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa for receiving one of two EPA grants awarded in Region 4, a feat that is not easy to accomplish due to the competitive nature of our grants. This grant provides communities across the country a chance to transform contaminated sites into community resources while increasing tax revenue and local property tax value,” said Wanda Jennings of EPA Region 4. “How did CDC of Tampa win this grant? Their proposal ranked high because of the need for environmental jobs in the local community and highlighted strong partnerships with the community and local organizations – that is the reason why this proposal won. The funds will help East Tampa residents achieve economic and financial stability, training 60 individuals within 24 months.”

Since the Environmental Workforce Development program began in 1998, more than 288 grants have been awarded. More than 18,000 individuals have completed training and more than 13,679 individuals have been placed in full-time employment earning an average starting wage of over $14 an hour. EPA created its environmental job training program to offer residents of communities historically affected by environmental pollution, economic disinvestment, and Brownfields an opportunity to gain the skills and certifications needed to secure local environmental work in their communities.  

U.S. Rep. Castor has championed the following grants secured by the CDC of Tampa:

  • 2013:  $234,281 grant through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Innovative Transit Workforce Development Program. This grant was in cooperation with HART to implement a recruitment and training partnership.
  • 2014:  $200,000 grant through the Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grant to target unemployed and underemployed residents of Tampa, with a focus on recruiting young adults, ex-offenders, and other hard-to-serve individuals.
  • 2017:  $759,000 grant/loan through Health & Human Services Office of Community Services as part of a Healthy Foods Initiative to increase access to healthy foods and create higher-paying jobs.

In fiscal year 2019, which ended Sept. 30, Castor’s congressional district has been awarded nearly $1.3 billion through 659 federal grant awards to create jobs and invest in education and infrastructure.

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