Environmental Workforce Training Program
In 2017, Earth Conservancy (EC) was awarded a $200,000 grant through the USEPA’s Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) Program to implement a new job training program for local unemployed and underemployed residents in the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre-Hazleton metro area. Although a new venture for EC, the Environmental Workforce Training (EWT) Program was yet another way EC could help encourage revitalization in the region.
THE PROGRAM: Although the mines closed decades ago, northeastern Pennsylvania is still dealing with environmental and economic challenges resulting from past anthracite mining. The EWT Program was designed to address these impacts. The program, through a focus on surveying, emphasizes skills and technology required in the reclamation and remediation process. As Mike Dziak, EC’s President and CEO, noted, “It’s a great opportunity, all around, offering a new way for displaced workers, especially vets, to secure meaningful employment; and for EC to support local revitalization, with extremely positive environmental and economic effects.”
THE CURRICULUM: The EWT Program provides a comprehensive and realistic curriculum to participants seeking to enter an environmentally-oriented career in the Wyoming Valley. The curriculum, designed by a team at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, consists of 233 contact hours over the course of 2½ months. The EWT Program is a $6,046 value, supported in part by grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the PPL Foundation. Courses include:
- Introduction to Brownfields
- Surveying Field Assistant
- Basic Land Surveying Techniques
- AutoCAD, Level I
- GIS for Resource Conservation
- Environmental Sampling
- OSHA 40-Hour HAZWOPER Training
- OSHA 10-Hour Safety Training
- First Aid/CPR
- Technical Writing
THE SCHEDULE: To fit ten courses into 2½-months, the EWT has a highly condensed schedule. Classes begin February 3, 2020, and are anticipated to conclude in mid-April. Participants must attend all classes in order to earn certificates and continuing education credits. A schedule of class meeting times is available here.
OUR PARTNERS: Strong partnerships are the cornerstone of the EWT Program, chief among them Penn State Wilkes-Barre’s Surveying Engineering department and Office of Continuing Education. Additional partners include the Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce Investment Board, Lackawanna County and Pocono County Workforce Development Boards, Northern Tier Regional Planning Development Commission, PA CareerLink®, EPCAMR, Outreach, the Commission on Economic Opportunity, the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center, and the Veterans Resource Coalition of NEPA. Local engineering firms serve on an advisory committee, including Barry Isett & Associates, Geo-Science Engineering & Testing, JHA Companies, and SCE Environmental. The program has been made possible by generous grants from ARC, USEPA, and the PPL Foundation.
THE RESULTS: Upon graduation, participants will have skills and certificates that can lead to careers in engineering, construction, remediation, environmental cleanup, and more. Earth Conservancy and its partners will work with graduates to help find employment opportunities. Graduates leave the EWT Program with
- 23.3 hours of continuing education credits from the Pennsylvania State University
- 3 federal certifications (HAZWOPER 40, OSHA 10, First Aid)
- professional résumé
- references and/or letter of recommendation
- job placement assistance
READY TO APPLY? Then download the application by clicking here. You may need to save it to your computer to use the fillable fields. You can also call Earth Conservancy at 570.823.3445 to request one be sent to you by mail. Return your completed application to
Dr. Elizabeth W. Hughes
101 South Main Street
Ashley, PA 18706
You can also email it to [email protected]. Note: Veterans receive priority service.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? Staff will review your application for general program eligibility. If you qualify, you will then be asked to come to EC offices for an interview. Assessment screening for math and literacy skills through PA CareerLink® in Wilkes-Barre will occur after that. Acceptance decisions will be made at the end of January 2020.
Think the EWT Program is right for you? Answer the questions below to see if you’re eligible:
- Are you a resident of northeastern Pennsylvania?
- Are you a high school graduate or GED-holder?
- Are you 18 or older?
- Are you a US citizen or authorized worker?
- Do you classify as an unemployed, underemployed, or dislocated worker?
- Do you have a valid driver’s license and reliable transportation?
- Do you have email access?
- Will you consent to a background check and drug test?
- Do you like to work outdoors?
- Do you possess strong math skills?
- Are you able to perform tasks involving physical labor?
- Do you have a strong work ethic?
- Are you able to follow directions and work as part of a team?
- Can you commit to the full 2½-month program?
- Do you agree to one year of follow-up interviews?
If you pass the eligibility requirements, the next step is to download and complete the application below. Once finished, you can either mail it to Earth Conservancy at 101 South Main Street, Ashley, PA 18706, Attention: Dr. Elizabeth W. Hughes; or email it to [email protected] You can also contact us or your local PA CareerLink® office for more information. Please note, veterans receive preferred entry.