The Employment Institute’s HAZWOPER program recently completed training with its last student cohort, fulfilling a two-year grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. Since the program’s inception in January 2016, the Employment Institute has helped 41 individuals obtain their HAZWOPER certification.
The program provides participants with an OSHA HAZWOPER certification, a 40-hour course that trains individuals to work in hazardous waste operations and emergency response sites. The certification also helps participants obtain jobs in foundry work, warehouses, agriculture, construction and deconstruction.
“We have a wide array of different employer partners that really respect this certification,” said Employment Institute Case Manager Jake Markosky who works directly with the HAZWOPER participants.
According to Jake, when the program began at Auberle in 2016, there were only about three employer partners. Since then, the program has expanded to about 40 partners who have reported that they’re interested in the Employment Institute’s graduates and willing to interview them for positions.
The Employment Institute also works closely with Professional Training Associates in Duquesne, which provides the OSHA 40 training.
“They have a great facility,” said Jake. “They’re able to have the individuals go outside and actually perform the tasks that they would be doing on the job.”
The HAZWOPER program has served a variety of individuals, ranging in age from 18 to early 50s. Many of the participants were surprised to learn how many opportunities are available to them through the program.
“A lot of our individuals went the career route,” said Jake. “College wasn’t for them. Or they wanted a career change because they got into something that they realized they didn’t want to do. So when we take them into our orientation, we say here’s what this certification does and here are the possible companies you’ll be able to work for. They had no idea that these companies existed or that you could do this without a college degree.”
The program has also been beneficial to the Employment Institute’s employer partners.
“Our partners are very happy that we are able to provide pre-screened, pre-trained individuals because otherwise that company might have to pay for that training,” said Jake. “A lot of the companies that we work with are very much in touch with community and social responsibility.”
The success of the HAZWOPER program has made a big impact, not only on Auberle and its partners but the wider community as well.
“I think this certification has been very successful in placing individuals in long-term careers,” said Jake. "It also contributes positively to the environment of Pittsburgh, negatively affected by deindustrialization and the collapse of the steel industry. The jobs that they’re doing are benefiting all of us who have to live in the environment because these are environmental protection jobs.”
Though the Employment Institute has wrapped up its grant to administer the HAZWOPER program, there are still other programs available that provide the HAZWOPER certification, including the Employment Institute’s Career Pathways program which is funded through Partner4Work for individuals ages 16-24.
For more information on the Employment Institute certification programs or our HAZWOPER certification program, contact Abby Wolensky at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-673-5856 ext 1317.