Training program

Earth Conservancy is seeking candidates for a free training program

The time to apply for Earth Conservancy’s Environmental Workforce Training (EWT) program is running out soon.

Applications must be received by noon on Monday and there are only a few places left.

According to program director Elizabeth Hughes, since 2018, more than 50 people have completed the 233-hour program. The employment rate for program graduates looking for work is over 87% with an average salary of over $16 per hour.

Other graduates chose to further their education by enrolling in local colleges.

The EWT program is a free continuing education program for unemployed or underemployed workers in Northeastern Pennsylvania. It was developed by Earth Conservancy and Penn State Wilkes-Barre to give participants a basic mastery of practical and technical skills related to environmental careers through a mix of classroom, hands-on, and computer-based learning.

Courses will cover topics such as surveying, environmental sampling, AutoCAD, GIS, and hazardous materials safety and cleanup. Those who complete the program will earn 23.3 hours of continuing education credit from Pennsylvania State University, three federally recognized certifications, and placement assistance from Earth Conservancy and PA CareerLink for one year.

The training lasts approximately 10 weeks and although it is valued at over $6,000, there are no tuition fees or materials for those who are accepted. Funding for the program is provided by a grant from the U.S. EPA with additional support from the Robert H. Spitz Foundation, the PPL Foundation, and program partners.

“The good thing about the program is there’s such a range of courses and things you can do to improve the environment,” Hughes said. “(The students) took them in a lot of directions, so they might be drawing with an architectural firm or one of them is now an officer on a gaming commission.”

To be eligible for the EWT program, applicants must be 18 years of age or older, have a GED high school diploma, and reside in Northeastern Pennsylvania. U.S. military veterans receive priority consideration.

“People who come into this program really want to have a job that has some kind of meaning and something that can affect positive change,” Hughes said. “Not only do they get a job, get a regular salary, get off public assistance, but they’re also doing something good for the environment.”

The first course of the program will start on February 2 and people can apply by visiting the webpage https://www.earthconservancy.org/workforce development/. On the web page there is a downloadable application and contact information.

Those who need a hard copy of the application can call 570-823-3445 or email [email protected] due to the tight deadline. People can also contact the program’s other partners, including PA CareerLink, Outreach Center for Community Resources in Scranton, PDG in Wilkes-Barre, Wilkes-Barre Vocational Rehabilitation Office, NEPA Veterans Resource Coalition and EPCAMR.