Partnering to employ Gulf Coast residents in coastal restoration projects

Limitless Vistas, Inc. and AECOM announce plan to train and employ at-­‐risk youth in Gulf Coast ecosystem restoration projects

NEW ORLEANS, LA -­-­ Today AECOM, a leading global provider of professional technical and management support services in more than 140 countries around the world, and Limitless Vistas, Inc. (LVI), a nonprofit organization based in New Orleans, LA, announced a partnership to train and employ some of the region’s most at-­‐risk youth for new jobs in environmental restoration.

LVI has been training local at-­‐risk youth in the skills needed for environmental jobs for the past six years. With the opportunity of hundreds of millions of dollars in ecosystem restoration projects coming online across the Gulf Coast in the coming years – as a result of fines and penalties from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill – LVI is eager to find work for its graduates. They have trained more than  350  youths  to  date  and  are  seeking  new ways to connect disadvantaged workers to  new  environmental  careers  and  skills.  To  this end, they forged a groundbreaking agreement with AECOM, a Fortune 500 company ranked by Engineering News-­‐Record as the number one design firm in the U.S. with an extensive history working on ecosystem restoration, to work together to develop a comprehensive training program that will help prepare these students for jobs in the environmental construction industry. This would include familiarizing them with on-­‐the-­‐job construction practices and safety standards,  informing  them  about  likely  projects  to  be  constructed  in the near future and introducing them to prospective construction contractors.

“We’ve been talking about the chronic need for proper youth job training with local environmental resource managers for years,” says Patrick A. Barnes, a professional geologist, President of BFA Environmental, and founder of LVI. “We’re delighted that AECOM has responded with a desire to provide project access in the Gulf Coast and to allow students from LVI’s training program to shadow their environmental field personnel over the next year.” Barnes and representatives from the Corps Network and American Youth Works worked out the agreement with AECOM, which will ultimately include restoration projects across all five Gulf States.

“AECOM is committed to finding ways to ensure that our projects bring benefits to both the environment and the people of the Gulf Coast,” says Dr. Steve Mathies, AECOM’s vice president for coastal protection and restoration. “LVI is paving the road toward training and placing those who have suffered the most with jobs and projects that will benefit everyone.”

AECOM will assist with the development of suitable coastal restoration job training curriculum and endeavor to provide access to internships and job opportunities for LVI graduates. The pilot training program will emphasize various elements of environmental fieldwork and begin in 2014.

“Economists believe the RESTORE Act could create more than 57,600 Gulf Coast jobs in the coming years driving  new demand  for skilled workers,” says Jeffrey  Buchanan, senior domestic policy advisor  for Oxfam America, a  global development organization, which helped to fund the new pilot training work. “It’s very exciting that a company like AECOM, with their resources and expertise, has expressed such an interest in helping nonprofits and at-­‐risk workers to connect the dots between training programs and real jobs.”

LVI’s coastal restoration job training program enjoys the support of several organizations, including the EPA, Oxfam America, the Corps Network, the City of New Orleans, and BFA. The Barataria-­‐Terrebonne National Estuary Program and Jean Lafitte National Park have also agreed to provide project access and material support. Moreover, the Corps Network, through funding from the Walton Family Foundation, has pledged to help build capacity for LVI and other Gulf Coast conservation corps in the coming years.

About LVI

Limitless Vistas, Inc. (LVI) is a 501(c)(3) non-­‐profit organization dedicated to providing, environmental and related fields -­‐ job training to marginalized and often disconnected young adults. LVI was founded in 2006 in New Orleans and since that time has trained over 350 young adults as entry-­‐level environmental technicians. As a member of the 21st Century Conservation and Service Corps, LVI is committed the belief that through working to preserve and protect our environment young adults will be reconnected to society, additionally, a strong link is maintained between the needs of industry and the skills training/work readiness services provided. LVI currently operates in Louisiana and Florida. More information about Limitless Vistas, Inc. can be found at www.limitlessvistas.org.

About AECOM

AECOM is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental, energy, water and government. With approximately 45,000 employees around the world, AECOM is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. AECOM provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world's built, natural, and social environments. A Fortune 500 company, AECOM serves clients in more than 140 countries and had revenue of $8.2 billion during the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2013. More information on AECOM and its services can be found at   www.aecom.com.

Louisiana Brownfields Association Awarded Limitless Vistas’ Student a Scholarship to attend the 2013 Brownfields Conference

Louisiana Brownfields Association Awarded Limitless Vistas’

 

 Student a Scholarship to attend the 2013 Brownfields Conference

Patrick A. Barnes

The Louisiana Brownfields Association awarded Limitless Vistas’ (LVI) graduate, Ms. Jacquelle Goff, a scholarship to attend the Annual Brownfields Conference that was held in Atlanta, Georgia in May.   For Jacquelle this was an opportunity for her to explore the different careers in the environmental industry, witness the magnitude of the conference and get a better understanding of how Brownfields impact communities.  

 What an Opportunity

 By Jacquelle Goff- Student 

 As a new student in the Brownfields industry, I was honored to hear that I had received the very first annual scholarship from the Brownfields Louisiana Association to attend the 2013 annual Brownfields conference. This year the conference was held in Atlanta, Georgia where there were plenty of actual Brownfields sites that had been revitalized within the surrounding communities. Right in the heart of the City was where the conference was held at the Georgia Center. Thousands of professional from all across the nation who were all major stakeholders in the development of Brownfields spent time there. Also on the list of honored guests was Mathy Stanislaus who talked about how it was a great time for everyone to come together and seize this opportunity to build America’s downtowns, create jobs and meet the needs for livable communities. Ryan Gavel offered an architect’s perspective on urban planning many times using his time spent in Paris, France as a model. Dr. Manuel Pastor was also a keynote speaker sharing his thoughts on economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities.  Lastly, I was able to meet and greet with the Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin and tell her of my new found interest in the community and community service. 

 The annual Brownfields conference proved to be a more exciting experience that I had originally thought. I was able to meet with so many professionals from across the nation who in some way worked within the field. The plenary sessions with the keynote speakers were very informative and motivational. I sat in on a few of the educational sessions and learned a good bit of new information as well. They discussed things from ways to sustain communities, innovative ways to revitalize communities and even issues in environmental justice. 

Once the many professionals learned that I was the recipient of the 1st annual scholarship, they were more than willing to share their success stories with me. They included stories of how they began, what they do in their communities to spur economic growth, revitalize their communities, restore the environment and help protect the public health. This was such an amazing networking and educational event for me. I learned about how building partnerships can lead to sustaining successful communities and how there are so many techniques and practices to continue the efforts of redevelopment.

 

 

It was an inspiration to hear how the work I had been learning to do could be linked to such growth and equity in our nation’s communities. Environmental justice plays a major role in this as well as activism. Many of the community leaders were on-site and able to share difficulties they had faced in their communities and how they were able to overcome them. Working with local, state and federal governments to improve their environments left them and the room with a sense of pride. Projects may take a while but once the revitalization is done everyone benefits and that is what I took most from the conference. Brownfields is truly a team effort that the entire nation can and does benefit from.

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