From 2018 – 2022, the Environmental Workforce Training Program assisted unemployed and underemployed residents of northeastern Pennsylvania acquire new skills to secure entry-level jobs in an environmental field. Although no longer running, this page documents that work, also offering resources to other organizations in the workforce development sector.
Since 1994, Earth Conservancy has worked to revitalize the environment and economy through reclamation and reuse of abandoned minelands. EC’s Environmental Workforce Training (EWT) Program added to those efforts, seeking to train unemployed/underemployed workers from northeastern Pennsylvania in surveying and environmental cleanup skills and technologies with its partner, Penn State Wilkes-Barre. EC and its partners then assisted program graduates with their job search for the following year. The goal: For graduates to find self-sustaining employment, ideally in a field that aligns with EC’s revitalization efforts. Further details about the program and EC’s recruitment strategies are available under “Program Resources.” Outcomes included 23.3 hours of continuing education credits from the Pennsylvania State University, three (3) federally-recognized certifications, a professional résumé and cover letter, references, and job search assistance.
The EWT Program was available to participants free-of-charge, made possible by generous grants from the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the PPL Foundation, and the Robert H. Spitz Foundation, as well as financial and in-kind contributions from EC and its partners.
EC tracked outcomes of program graduates for a minimum of one year upon completion of the program. Longitudal data include:
84 individuals enrolled
74 program graduates
52 graduates employed
6 graduates pursuing further education
36 graduates employed 6 months or longer
30 graduates, at a minimum, reduced reliance on public assistance
$16 average starting wage
46 hiring companies/organizations
$400,000 – US EPA, Environmental Workforce & Job Training Program
$97,443 – Appalachian Regional Commission
$40,572 – PPL Foundation
$10,000 – Robert H. Spitz Foundation
$4,145 – Luzerne County
$145,416 – EC
The success of the EWT Program required strong partnerships. First and foremost was our collaboration with Penn State Wilkes-Barre’s Surveying Engineering department and its Office of Continuing Education, which assisted with both program design and implementation. Additional partners included:
|Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce Development Board||EPCAMR|
|Lackawanna County Workforce Development Board||Outreach Center for Community Resources|
|Pocono Counties Workforce Development Board||Commission on Economic Opportunity|
|Northern Tier Regional Planning Development Commission||Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center|
|PA CareerLink®||Veterans Resource Coalition of NEPA|
In addition, local engineering firms served on an advisory committee, which included Barry Isett & Associates, Geo-Science Engineering & Testing, JHA Companies, and SCE Environmental.