Over $571,000 to support green workforce development in Buffalo

Mon October 31, 2022 4:05 PM

Federal Funding Supports Buffalo Sewer Authority’s Green Infrastructure Management Program

On Monday, Congressman Brian Higgins was joined by Buffalo City Mayor Byron Brown, Buffalo Sewer Authority CEO OJ McFoy and Heart of the City Neighborhoods to announce a federal investment totaling $571,934. in the Buffalo Green Infrastructure Stewardship and Workforce Development program. Funding for the initiative, secured by Higgins as part of the 2022 federal budget, will provide training for trades in green infrastructure maintenance.

“The economic future of our community depends on the availability of sustainable, well-paying jobs,” Higgins said. “A federal investment in this program is an investment in people, in our city, and in a clean, healthy environment for our neighbors now and in the future.

Brown said, “As the City of Buffalo continues to find new and innovative ways to improve the lives of city residents, the Buffalo Sewer Authority’s green infrastructure program is a perfect example of this innovation at the ‘work. This program will not only help reduce pollution caused by storms. water management, but it will also train workers and provide them with the skills needed to work in the green infrastructure industry. I want to thank Congressman Brian Higgins for securing the necessary funding for this program, and we will continue to work closely with Congressman Higgins to make Buffalo a better place for everyone.”

Buffalo Sewer Authority CEO and General Manager Oluwole (OJ) McFoy, PE said, “The mission of the Buffalo Sewer Authority’s Green Infrastructure Management Program focuses on reducing pollution through stormwater management. . To achieve this, we need a skilled workforce, and the funding secured by Congressman Higgins will allow us to do just that, training the next generation of green infrastructure workers. On behalf of the Buffalo Sewer Authority, we thank Congressman Brian Higgins for his leadership and look forward to working with him in the future on ventures like this.”

A press release said: “Green infrastructure is designed to address stormwater challenges. When it rains or the snow melts, the water flows into storm sewers and into the city’s combined sewer system. In dry weather, the sewage system is able to handle all wastewater. However, when more water enters the system, some may flow into our fresh waterways.

“The Buffalo Sewer Authority is committed to deploying green infrastructure throughout the community to manage runoff, increase resilience to climate change, protect Western New York’s water supply, and improve the overall quality of life. in neighborhoods of Buffalo.

“The Green Infrastructure Stewardship and Workforce Development Program addresses the stormwater challenge with a focus on economic and environmental equity. The program engages young people between the ages of 18 and 30 in the growing environmental sector by providing targeted training, support and job placement opportunities. Striving to create a talent pool, the program provides comprehensive job readiness training and support services, as well as on-the-job training in green infrastructure maintenance. Participants have the chance to gain professional certifications such as first aid, CPR and OSHA 10 in addition to working alongside established mentors in the field. They also receive more than 35 hours of classroom instruction through the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP), which allows them to receive industry-recognized certification.

“Upon completion of the program, students can earn the opportunity to join the Buffalo Sewer workforce or other green jobs in the area, in addition to post-secondary education support. The first phase began in 2021 with 100% of graduates joining the Buffalo Sewer workforce.

“The local Heart of the City Neighborhoods Program Administrator and the Service Collaborative of Western New York, a recruiting partner, are working alongside the Buffalo Sewer Authority to strengthen its green infrastructure workforce and build a future more sustainable for the city of Buffalo.

“In collaboration with program consultant PowerCorps PHL, Heart of the City Neighborhood launched the second phase of the program in March 2022, doubling the number of participants compared to the first phase. Hiring a team of nine workers, the 2022 program will culminate in November. The group is developing the experience necessary for a successful career in green infrastructure maintenance, which will not only expand Buffalo’s skilled workforce, but also promote the use of environmentally friendly practices. environment. The team is exposed to the day-to-day tasks associated with maintaining green infrastructure with professional development support from the Buffalo Sewer Authority and City Core District staff and guest speakers. As interns, they learn to address local challenges related to stormwater and combined sewer overflows, and work to prevent pollution in the Great Lakes region.

The workforce investment follows the announcement of a $55 million project, supported in part by the federal bipartisan infrastructure act, to upgrade the city’s wastewater treatment facility. Buffalo Sewer Authority.

Heart of the City Neighborhoods (HOCN) is a local non-profit organization that strives to facilitate and support housing and neighborhood development in the City of Buffalo through sustainable projects. To learn more, visit https://hocn.org/.

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