Free Training Program For Post-Katrina Jobs

When responding to a hazardous situation, every piece of equipment must fit perfectly.

"We put our respirator on at the same time or what," asked one student.

And every step must be precise.

"I told you all. Speed is not the aim here. It's accuracy," said the instructor.

There's no room for mistakes, as a team gets real experience, investigating a mock chemical spill.

Bruce McClue is an Environmental Trainer.

"We basically show them how to respond to a hazardous materials spill incident. How we set up our d-con station or d-con area."

"Let's get them out. Let's get them out the suits," McClue told his students.

Identifying the toxic leak and cleaning up the contamination give the students hands-on lessons about handling environmental emergencies.

Marvin Breland applied for the Worker-Training program after losing his job.

"I was a casino worker," said Breland. "After the hurricane, a lot of casino workers were out of a job. We heard about this program on the radio. I thought this would be a good way to start a new career."

Stephanie Brooks is a social worker and single mom. She's looking for a new challenge and a better life for her family.

"I hope to obtain a job to obtain maybe six months of training, and then own my own business," said Brooks.

Instructors believe with so much destruction from Katrina, there is plenty of work waiting for these students once they graduate.

"They can help clean up homes that are inundated with mold. They can help remove asbestos roofs," said McClue. "Anything that's in an environmental field, these guys will have the basic training to do that type of work."

The Worker-Training Program also includes basic construction, lead elimination, and life skills. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is funding the ten-week program.

The next class starts in January. It is for Harrison County residents only. If you'd like to apply and find out whether you qualify, just call 374-3010.