WE ACT Helping to Create a Path to Employment for Northern Manhattan Residents

For Immediate Release
September 2, 2015
WE ACT for Environmental Justice, 212-961-1000 ext. 320 communications@weact.org

NEW YORK, NY – WE ACT for Environmental Justice, the West Harlem Development Corporation (WHDC), New York City Council Member, Mark Levine, joined together to celebrate the completion by over 100 Northern Manhattan Residents of the WE ACT led, Hazardous Waste Worker Training program. All Participants who completed the training received their Occupational Safety & Health Administration Certification in Construction Safety (OSHA).

WE ACT’s Hazardous Waste Worker Training aims to recruit and train, underserved workers in West Harlem, specifically those disadvantaged in education, language skills or limited in literacy in new and emerging areas of the hazardous waste remediation workforce. As Harlem continues to be a hot bed for real estate and development, opportunities for employment will expand, by providing participants with training in Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) certification in Construction Safety.

The need for employment for residents in Northern Manhattan was emphasized throughout the celebration. While speaking to the group, WE ACT Deputy Director, Cecil Corbin-Mark talked about the importance of making sure these trainings would be beneficial to the participants. Saying,

“We want to make sure this process isn’t all about the trainings and none about the jobs. There are enough programs like that in existence already.”

New York City Council Member, Mark Levine discussed the limitless opportunities that these certifications create for all of the participants saying, “For many of you, this is just the beginning. From here, you can take what you learned here and use it to enter different fields, I’m excited for all of your potential”

Charles Callaway, WE ACT organizer and point person for the project believes these trainings have created new opportunities for people in the community saying, “Harlem is filled with able bodied people who want to get back to work, what we get to do with this project is give them new skills that can open doors that may not have been available before.”

Without the program, many participants would be priced out as OSHA certifications can cost hundreds of dollars to complete. Instead they are receiving this service for free with a new tool available finding a job with a living wage. When the training is over and workers receive their certification, they can use the WE ACT office to work on their resume and apply for jobs. Of those with certification, half have found employment or currently interviewing for jobs within the industry

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