The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has implemented the Superfund Job Training Initiative (SuperJTI) for the Tar Creek Superfund Site in Northeast Oklahoma. The program builds a foundation for hope and a brighter future for the program’s men and women who will begin their careers as environmental workers for the Tar Creek Site.
SuperJTI is a job readiness program designed to provide training and employment opportunities for underserved citizens living in communities affected by Superfund sites.
The SuperJTI Program at Tar Creek began in May 2010, with a three-week training period. In all, 250 people expressed interest in participating in the program. Screening and testing reduced the number to 56. From there, 26 applicants underwent three weeks of screening and testing, followed by pre-employment aptitude examinations. Candidates recruited for the program are residents of economically depressed rural areas neighboring Tar Creek.
“Our job training initiative is putting people and property back to work,” said EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz. “Training citizens to clean up their own neighborhoods will provide jobs and improve lives.”
EPA offers SuperJTI training through its Technical Assistance Services for Communities (TASC) program, which provides independent educational and technical assistance to communities affected by Superfund sites.
The Superfund program uses its experience working with communities to create partnerships with local businesses, universities, labor unions, community and social service organizations, and other federal agencies to address local workforce issues. EPA’s goal is to help communities develop job opportunities and partnerships that remain long after a Superfund site is cleaned up.
The initiative benefits communities by providing job opportunities for qualified residents, increasing the skills of the local labor pool, and supporting the work of local agencies already working for the improvement of their communities. The SuperJTI program combines extensive classroom instruction with hands-on work experience for each participant. SuperJTI graduates have the basic technical skills to work at Superfund sites, construction projects, and hazardous waste processing companies. The participants will graduate from the SuperJTI program on June 4, 2010. Upon graduation all participants will be available for hire.
The Tar Creek Superfund site includes approximately 40 square miles in northern Ottawa County, Oklahoma, where lead and zinc were mined from 1891 until 1970.