Grants will provide research and training in developing environmental workforce
(NEW ORLEANS, LA) – Dillard University recently received a major grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Institute awarded the $10.5 million grant to Dillard’s Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ), which will train individuals in asbestos, lead, construction, and Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER). The award to Dillard was one of only 10 grants awarded nationwide to institutions including UCLA, Rutgers Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences, and the United Steelworkers.
The worker training initiatives will occur at strategic sites across the Gulf Coast and throughout the country with training programs established in Houston, Detroit, Pensacola, Savannah and New Orleans. Dillard’s consortium of training sites will attract and provide training for over 500 participants. Through formal arrangements with HBCUs, community based organizations, unions and industry; Dillard’s program staff will provide environmental health and safety training for underserved populations as well as currently employed workers within environmental remediation and related fields.
In addition to training and outreach, Dillard’s DSCEJ programming also includes a research focus, which is spearheaded primarily by the Center’s project director and principal investigator, Dr. Beverly Wright. Under her leadership, the Center has produced a number of publications as well as regional and national conferences regarding environmental justice-related issues.
Dr. Wright and Dillard’s DSCEJ have managed a number of projects from NIH, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Labor, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the past 20 years. The Center also led critical training and research efforts in the gulf coast region for small businesses, first responders, residents and hazardous waste industry workers following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 as well as the Gulf Oil Spill in 2010. Additionally, following Hurricane Sandy, the DSCEJ was called on to lead clean up training efforts in New York and New Jersey. “We are extremely excited to be able to continue our work exhibiting excellence and developing sound practices which have advanced the quality of our training programs over the years. We are gratified and excited about the increased support from the NIEHS to do this most important work,” said Dr. Wright.
According to Theodore Callier, assistant vice president for Sponsored Programs, Dillard faculty and researchers have consistently secured increased support from the NIH in recent years. “Given the list of recipients, this latest NIEHS award demonstrates the level of confidence the agency continues to have in Dillard’s Center.”
Grant activities will begin later this month and continue through July of 2020.