ADA -- Free environmental and hazardous materials job training is being offered in Ada through July for residents of the Ada and Shawnee areas by East Central University, the Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma's Office of Environmental Protection and the Gordon Cooper Technology Center.

The training began Monday but late enrollment is possible this week.

The eight-week program, funded by a federal grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is designed to train participants to work in environmental remediation and related environmental areas and to address a current gap in the job market by creating an intermediate level of training designated as "certified remediation worker."

The training runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday in ECU's Physical and Environmental Sciences Building. Students must complete the full training session to receive all the certificates or certifications provided.

"The Absentee Shawnee Tribe is very proud to be able to provide this valuable opportunity to our community," said Cynthia Carpenter, Absentee Shawnee Tribal Executive Committee representative. "This will give our tribal members and neighbors the chance to increase their earning potential. They will be working in a field that helps to build not only stronger, more sustainable communities but also makes a better future for all our children." The program is Native American Preference but others are welcome as space permits. It is open to men and women at least 18 years old.

Training is provided by personnel from AST-OEP, Gordon Cooper Technology Center and ECU's Environmental Health Sciences Program. Applicants are not guaranteed employment, but more than 14 Oklahoma employers have expressed interest in hiring graduates.

The training, which can be adapted to the needs of area employers, averages approximately 23 certificates and includes certifications which are acceptable nationwide. It is in the process of being certified for asbestos worker training by the Oklahoma Department of Labor.

Student trainees will receive an average of six weeks of classroom training and two weeks of hands-on training using various types of technology on multiple tribal projects. Work may include site sampling activities, assisting with open dump clean-ups, site assessment assistance and related tasks.

Trainees must meet certain physical requirements and be cleared by a medical provider to use a self-contained breathing apparatus or other types of respirators.

They will receive safety equipment including steel-toed boots, safety glasses and hearing protection.

to keep after

the training.

Because of Homeland Security requirements for some jobs,

participants must have a valid Oklahoma driver's license, be a United

States citizen, pass a background check and have no felony convictions.

Applications are available at the Office of Environmental

Protection offices, 40206 Benson Park Road, at the corner of Benson Park

Road and Highway 177 (in the former Lillard Pipe Supply Building) or in

Room 266 of ECU's Physical and Environmental Sciences Building.

The Absentee Shawnee Tribe was one of only 12 participants in

the nation to receive funding for the training in 2006, and one of only

two tribal-affiliated entities. The Absentee Shawnee also are the first

tribe ever to receive the funding in the local five-state EPA region.

The tribe is in its third year of a nationally funded

site-specific Brownfields Assessment Project and also receives funding

under the Tribal Brownfields Response Program, which is the tribal

equivalent of the state's Brownfields Voluntary Cleanup Program.

The AST Brownfields Job Training program cannot provide

financial assistance, travel assistance or meals, but such assistance

may be available from other sources.

For further information, contact Renee Genise Hood,

environmental director, Office of Environmental Protection, Absentee

Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, 405-273-9966 or 405-273-9865, or by email at; or Dr. Guy Sewell, Robert S. Kerr professor of

environmental health sciences, 580-559-5547 or

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