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Coalfield Development and CEGAS Announce Joint Job Training Program

Written by cdspringston on . Posted in Funding, Media, News

Huntington, W.Va.: The community development non-profit Coalfield Development Corporation today announced a new partnership with the Center for Environmental, Geotechnical, and Applied Sciences (CEGAS) at Marshall University: “The Quality Environmental Jobs Initiative”. Funded through an Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training grant from the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection (US EPA), the initiative will provide technical training in environmental remediation over the next two years. Initially geared toward laid-off coal miners, veterans, and unemployed young adults, the training program is free of charge and open to the general public. The first courses are scheduled to begin on October 26th at the West Edge Factory in Huntington and will include HAZWOPER, asbestos abatement, lead abatement, and safety and health during three weeks of training. The second offering of five courses will begin in January of 2016 and will be taught over five consecutive weeks for an intensive immersion into the environmental field. Registrations for the October 2015 fall courses must be received by October 20, 2015 and can be made online at

Graduates of the Quality Environmental Jobs Initiative will gain a working knowledge of job related environmental issues and the opportunity to earn professional certifications in a variety of environmental fields such as: Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER), asbestos abatement, lead abatement, mold remediation, and meth-lab clean up. Additional services will include: professional skills development, life-skills counseling, and job placement services. Importantly, the program involves close collaboration with more than 12 private sector partners and multiple employers across the state.

“This is a great opportunity for hardworking West Virginians to gain valuable skill-sets and credentials for the modern workforce that can lead to good paying jobs,” says CEGAS Director Dr. Tony Szwilski. Coalfield Director Brandon Dennison adds, “These are jobs that help take liabilities such as environmentally damaged properties or vacant buildings and convert them into community assets. It’s exciting to be a part of this process.”

Hands-on training will take place primarily at a former brownfields site previously known as the Corbin Clothing Factory in Huntington which closed and became vacant in the 1990s. Coalfield Development Corporation now owns the building which they redeveloped and rebranded as the West Edge Factory through a partnership with the Wayne County Economic Development Authority, the City of Huntington, and the WV Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Land Restoration and its EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant. The structure now contains a warehouse, workshop, office space, and a large training facility where these courses will take place.

“When coupled with our counseling and job placement services, this program will truly provide an opportunity to change lives for the better,” concluded Brandon Dennison. “I highly encourage anybody looking to improve their skills, to do important work for their community, and find gainful employment to get in touch with us.”

Contact: Adam Warren, Contracting Coordinator for Coalfield Development: or

Carlee Spradlin, CEGAS Grant Assistant, at

To sign-up for an Exchange appointment or volunteer as an expert, contact Carrie Staton at

About Coalfield Development : The Coalfield Development Corporation is a licensed general contractor that is involved in several types of construction in the community as well as deconstruction projects. Coalfield’s Quality Jobs initiative (QJI) is structured on a ‘33-6-3’ model where crew members participate in QJI work for Coalfield doing hands-on construction work for 33 hours a week. Six hours a week are devoted to classes in which crew members attend a local community college for all general and major course classes. Along with their course work, local community colleges partner with Coalfield by providing academic credit for certain on-the-job training activities that take place during the 33-hour portion of work. This enables crew members to essentially be full time students while completing an associate’s degree in two years’ time. Crew members also commit to fully participating in 3 hours of life skills training a week where they are challenged to learn about managing finances, culture, physical health, and other factors necessary to live a quality life.

About CEGAS: The Center for Environmental, Geotechnical, and Applied Sciences (CEGAS) was established at Marshall University in May 1993 and conducts research and development projects that include environmental management, virtual interactive simulation for training programs, visualization laboratory development, geographical information systems, and specialized training and technical assistance. The Center takes a leadership role in technological innovation and collaborates with community stakeholders to develop innovative ideas, enhance scientific capability, encourage economic development and contribute to the economic vitality of the State of West Virginia and beyond. The West Virginia Brownfield Assistance Center at Marshall University (WVBAC), housed within CEGAS, was established in 2005 as a West Virginia state legislative mandate to promote economic development through brownfield revitalization. The WVBAC conducts various brownfield outreach and technical assistance activities to West Virginia communities interested in brownfields redevelopment opportunities. And, through its Visualization Center, CEGAS provides a Virtual Interactive Simulation Environment (VISE) for virtual training, scientific visualization, urban planning and conceptual visualization, motion capture and custom services.

BDC’s accomplishments will be put in spotlight

Written by WTOV9, July 15, 2015 on . Posted in Media, News

WELLSBURG, W.Va. — The Business Development Corporation’s achievements will be put in the spotlight by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the coming months. Officials from the EPA will pay a visit to Brooke and Hancock counties for a few days to profile the BDC’s efforts to repurpose abandoned mills and Brownfield properties. EPA officials toured some of the industrial sites the BDC is working to repurpose, like the Wheeling Corrugating Plant and the former Brooke Glass site.

They will create a podcast to show at the National Brownfields Conference in September. “To illustrate other communities throughout the U.S. can take control of abandoned and dilapidated properties just like we are,” explained Pat Ford, executive director of the BDC of the Northern Panhandle.

Read the full article on the WTOV9 website.

EPA Brownfields grants support new jobs, property assessments in Huntington and 4 southern W.Va. Counties

Written by U.S. EPA Newsroom, July 7, 2015 on . Posted in Funding, Media, News

HUNTINGTON, W. VA. (July 7, 2015) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced $592,300 in brownfields grants that will provide job training and environmental property assessments in Huntington and southern West Virginia. “EPA’s brownfields grants make a visible difference in communities by helping to put people back to work while also creating cleaner, healthier and economically stronger neighborhoods,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “This funding will help revitalize areas that have been adversely impacted by contamination from past industrial activity.”

Read the full article on the U.S. EPA website.

Martinsburg nets $400K to assess blighted properties

Written by Matthew Umstead, The Herald-Mail, May 28, 2015 on . Posted in Funding, Media, News

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The city of Martinsburg will receive $400,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to assess blighted properties in the city, the EPA said Thursday.

The city was among 147 communities across the nation to be selected by the EPA to receive 243 brownfields grant “investments” to assess, clean up and redevelop contaminated properties, according to an EPA news release.

The city could use the funding to assess key sites in Martinsburg, such as the blighted Interwoven Mills complex, as well as other vacant and underutilized industrial properties.

Martinsburg will receive $200,000 to conduct a total of eight environmental-site assessments for hazardous substances, and another $200,000 to assess sites with potential petroleum contamination.

Grant funds also will be used for cleanup planning and community outreach activities.

Martinsburg’s application was prepared and submitted by Sustainable Strategies DC, which was authorized by the city council last fall to do the work as part of a $6,000 proposal.

City Manager Mark Baldwin touted the EPA announcement as “good news for Martinsburg,” and lauded the work of Sustainable Strategies DC Chief Executive Officer Matt Ward for laying out the city’s need for the funding.

“We’re obviously very appreciative of the EPA’s award to the city,” Baldwin said.

Read the full article on the Herald-Mail website.