Little Rock, AR (Arkansas Construction Education Foundation) - Armed with a $200,000 grant, an Arkansas non-profit is currently training homeless adults and other unemployed individuals in the skills they need to become environmental technicians, capable of performing the cleanup of toxic sites in their communities. The Arkansas Construction Education Foundation (ACEF) was awarded the grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to create the program, train participants to safely perform the work and then help place them with employers, doing environmental and green construction. The training is being conducted at ACEF's training facility in Little Rock.
ACEF has partnered with homeless support organizations like Our House and Better Community Developers (BCD) and the Little Rock Compassion Center to recruit homeless men and women as participants in the program. According to the executive director of ACEF, Steve Schaeffer, "It is our goal to complete and place 100 program participants over five training cycles during the next two years".
Those selected for the program will receive training in courses such as: Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER), Asbestos Worker Training, Your Role in the Green Environment and Confined Space Entry. Upon completion of the four-week, 124 hour program, the graduates will carry certifications and certificates of completion that will qualify them for jobs in the environmental and green construction fields. "After surveying area employers, I was assured that the individuals with these credentials will stand out as prime candidates to be hired into the jobs they would have open", stated Schaeffer. A Maumelle contractor, Snyder Environmental, is also a partner in the grant program and has committed to hiring several of the graduates from each of the training cycles.
The program's second round of training begins on June 24. Applications for the jobs training program are being distributed by homeless support organizations and are also available at the Little Rock Workforce Center, 5401 S. University Avenue.