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Infinite Earth Radio – weekly conversations with leaders building smarter, more sustainable, and equitable communities

Infinite Earth Radio is a weekly podcast produced by Skeo and the Local Government Commission and hosted by Mike Hancox and Vernice Miller-Travis. Each week they interview visionary leaders, dedicated government officials, savvy businesses and forward thinking individuals who are working to build smarter, more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous communities through social and economic inclusion that values the contribution of all citizens and seeks meaningful lives for everyone. You will discover new leading edge strategies for lifting up and building great 21st century communities, along with cutting edge strategies for revitalizing under resourced communities and empowering excluded populations. Smart Growth, Prosperity and Sustainability are not possible without social, civic, and economic inclusion for people of all economic, social, and racial backgrounds.
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Infinite Earth Radio – weekly conversations with leaders building smarter, more sustainable, and equitable communities
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Now displaying: October, 2016
Oct 27, 2016

Topic:

Worker Training and Workforce Development

In This Episode:

02:05 Introduction of Sharon Beard.
02:22 Sharon describes the Worker Education and Training Program at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
03:38 Sharon tells why there was a need for the Minority Worker Training Program at NIEHS.
06:18 Did Congressman Louis Stokes visit NIEHS?
06:56 Sharon identifies some of the most successful outcomes of the Minority Worker Training Program.
09:04 Sharon conveys the purpose of the 2016 National Training and Resources Summit for vulnerable communities.
10:50 Sharon answers the question of why it was important for NIEHS to co-sponsor an event like the 2016 National Training and Resource Summit for Vulnerable Communities.
11:43 Sharon gives her response to the criticism that says the federal dollars could be better spent elsewhere than in job training and workforce development.
14:37 Sharon explains if the target of the Environmental Career Worker Training Program is those who have been in the criminal-justice system.
16:37 Sharon gives information about the hourly wage of those who come through the program.
18:26 Sharon tells if there are any people, of the thousands who have been helped, who stick out in her mind.
20:02 Sharon communicates her hopes of what is accomplished at the National Training & Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities and what the ongoing impact will be.
25:21 Sharon discusses one change that would lead to more effective, more dynamic, better-funded environmental work or training.
27:38 Sharon states the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable workforce.
29:12 Sharon gives information on how people can reach her program.
30:25 Sharon shares what federally supported environmental workforce development and employment opportunities look like 30 years from now.

Guest/Organization:

Sharon Beard is an Industrial Hygienist in the Worker Education and Training Program of the Division of Extramural Research and Training (DERT) at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Institute of Health (NIH) in Research Triangle Park, NC. As an industrial hygienist, Sharon is responsible for coordinating, evaluating, and improving the nation-wide worker education and training program especially in the area of the Minority Worker Training Program (MWTP) initiative. She uses her background in industrial hygiene to provide expert review, guidance, and leadership in managing a multi-million portfolio of worker training grants in the area of hazardous waste, emergency response, and nuclear weapons/radiation reaching communities all over the US. She has also worked within in DERT assisting with efforts to facilitate and coordinate translational research through the Partnership for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) Program. The PEPH program is an umbrella program that brings together scientists, community members, educators, health care providers, public health officials, and policy makers in the shared goal of advancing the impact of environmental public health research at local, regional, and national levels.

Building on her environmental and occupational health experience acquired while working in the Environmental Restoration and Industrial Hygiene & Safety Departments at Westinghouse Savannah River Company in SC, she is currently a member of the NIEHS Science Advisory Committee, HHS Environmental Justice Working Group and the Brownfields Federal Partnership Interagency Working Group. She is also a member of the American Public Health Association and ACGIH. Beard holds a Master of Science in Environmental Science and Management from Tufts University, Medford, MA where she received the prestigious Environmental Science and Management Fellowship from the National Urban Fellows, Inc. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with minor in Business from Western Carolina University, NC.

The major objectives of the NIEHS Worker Training Program are to prevent work-related harm by assisting in the training of workers in how best to protect themselves and their communities from exposure to hazardous materials encountered during hazardous waste operations, hazardous materials transportation, environmental restoration nuclear weapons facilities, or chemical emergency response, and to undertake brownfields and minority workforce development. A variety of sites, such as those involved with chemical waste clean up and remedial action and transportation-related chemical emergency response, may pose severe health and safety concerns. These are often characterized by the multiplicity of substances present, the presence of unknown substances, and the general uncontrolled condition of the site. A major goal of this program is to assist organizations with development of institutional competency to provide appropriate model training and education programs to hazardous materials and waste workers.

Take Away Quotes:

02:37-“The Worker Training Program at NIEHS is really focused on prevention. It’s a grants program that we fund organizations to conduct health and safety training for workers engaged in all different types of hazardous waste removal, containment, or chemical emergency response.”

03:51-“I think one of the major reasons why this program [the Minority Worker Training Program] was started is that we were noticing the major changes that were happening in urban communities, and primarily, this particular program was started because Congressman Stokes saw that there was a need to train urban, underserved workers who needed to have access to quality job training and have a way to help clean up their communities, and so he worked to get the program funded in 1994 so that we could start training in 1995.”

07:16-“Under the Minority Worker Training, we’re now calling that the Environmental Career Worker Training Program. We’ve actually trained over 10,000; we’re close to 11,000 workers under that program. And what’s unique about it is that we did it in partnership with community-based organizations.”

08:23-“We have been able to at least get a 70% job-placement rate since we started this program back in 1995. And even over the last five years, we’ve had job-placement rates that’s ranging from 70 up to 81 percent for some of these communities, and that’s pretty much unheard of when you think about what’s happening in workforce development right now.”

10:56-“One of the biggest things about being a part of this program is that communities do not understand all of the different types of benefits that these programs have addressed over the years, and what we’ve been able to do here at NIEHS is to really focus on building communities and wanting to share the successes and lessons learned across the board.”

13:20-“Most of the individuals who came out of this program [the Environmental Career Worker Training Program] receive higher earnings as a result of it; there were fewer workplace injuries and related costs; we had reduced crime-related costs, which is a reduction in recidivism of those who were going back to prison; we had all different types of benefits in reference to lowering hiring costs, and there are several other things that we were able to do.”

Resources:

2016 National Training & Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities –Moving Communities from Surviving to Thriving

NIEHS Worker Training Program

NIEHS Environmental Career Worker Training Program

The Economic Impact of the Environmental Career Worker Training Program – NIEHS, November 2015

Minority Worker Training Program: Guidance on How to Achieve Successes and Best Practices –NIEHS, March 2014

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 42: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 3 –with Khalil Shahyd, NRDC

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 41: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 2 –with Gilbert Campbell, Volt Energy

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 40: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 1 –with Mustafa Ali, EPA

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 5: Environmental Justice and Smart Growth – with Mustafa Ali and Carlton Eley, EPA

Oct 20, 2016

Topic:

The Workforce-Development Component

In This Episode:

01:52 Introduction of Khalil Shahyd.
02:06 Khalil describes the Urban Solutions Program at NRDC.
03:27 Khalil shares the purpose and goal of the 2016 National Training and Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities.
04:12 Khalil answers the question of why workforce development is such an important component at the Summit.
05:59 Khalil identifies some of the sessions he’s developing for the Summit in the workforce-development track.
07:21 Khalil expresses what he thinks of the workforce development that’s occurring now.
08:44 Khalil discusses how his hometown of New Orleans is doing in regard to the Summit’s theme of moving communities from surviving to thriving, after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
13:17 Khalil tells how energy inequality presents itself.
15:30 Khalil explains the connection between the reality of energy inequality and workforce development.
16:48 Khalil talks about the importance for people from vulnerable communities to attend the Summit.
17:56 Khalil provides one change that would lead to energy equity and more sustainable urban communities.
19:21 Khalil states the action that listeners can take to build a more equitable, energy-efficient, and sustainable future.
20:56 Khalil shares what urban communities look like 30 years from now.

Guest/Organization:

Khalil Shahyd, PhD is a Project Manager for the Urban Solutions Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Khalil’s work focuses on the Energy Efficiency for All Project, which aims to increase utility-funded energy efficiency programs in the affordable multifamily housing sector. He coordinates with NRDC’s affordable housing partners to advocate for efficiency investments in the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. As part of the LEED Neighborhood Development initiative, Shahyd also promotes the expansion of “green” communities in New Orleans. Prior to joining NRDC, he worked domestically and internationally in urban and rural community development and in economic and environmental justice organizing. He holds a master’s degree in sustainable international development from Brandeis University and is based in NRDC’s Washington, D.C. office.

Take Away Quotes:

“The Urban Solutions Program—we work, as the name suggests, with cities and municipalities to make cities, neighborhoods, communities, much more sustainable, walkable, and equitable. Our vision is working with cities where more than 70 percent of our population actually lives, also accounts for more than 70 percent of our carbon emissions that induce climate change, and so we feel that if we can tackle these issues at the urban scale then we can have a large impact in addressing climate change.”

“As you all know, our cities are also one of the leading sources, or scales, or locations, that are driving our rising inequality, both nationally but also around the world. Much of the gap in wealth, gap in income, gap in affordability, that is happening across our nation is really concentrated in our cities most heavily. And so we feel that attacking climate change and inequality have to be paired together, they have to come in tandem, particularly as we see cities being the major driver of each of those.”

“The goal of the Summit is really to…highlight what’s working in communities and to highlight those leaders at the local level that are actually driving that positive change and to be able to bring those communities, those leaders, those organizations, together to be able to talk about their experiences about what’s working, what’s not working, and then to come together with EPA and with others to begin to think about what additional resources, what support, can bring leverage at the national scale to really support what’s going on in communities across the country.”

“When you’re talking about how people experience environmental degradation, how they experience environmental burdens, how they experience climate change, the threat to livelihood is one of the most pressing concerns.”

Resources:

2016 National Training & Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities –Moving Communities from Surviving to Thriving

Natural Resources Defense Council

Lifting the High Energy Burden in America's Largest Cities – Energy Efficiency For All
A review of 48 major U.S. metropolitan areas finds that low-income households devote up to three times as much income to energy costs as average households in the same city, and that energy efficiency is critical to closing the gap.

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 40: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 1 –with Mustafa Ali

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 41: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 2 –with Gilbert Campbell, Volt Energy

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 5: Environmental Justice and Smart Growth – with Mustafa Ali and Carlton Eley

Oct 13, 2016

Topic:

Opportunities Through Alternative Energy

In This Episode:

02:17 Introduction of Gilbert Campbell.
03:08 Gilbert describes Volt Energy.
04:29 Gilbert conveys his thoughts on the potential to create economic opportunities in the renewable-energy sector.
05:21 Gilbert relates why he’s involved in the 2016 National Training and Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities.
06:31 Does Volt Energy’s business model address the seeming lack of focus on providing solar-power access to lower-income communities?
07:29 Gilbert shares if he thinks energy efficiency could be a strategy to reduce poverty and move communities from surviving to thriving.
08:06 Gilbert relates why it’s important for those who care about economic and environmental inequality to attend the Summit.
08:45 Gilbert provides one change that would lead to more energy-efficient, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
09:10 Gilbert states the action that listeners can take to help build a more energy-efficient, equitable, and sustainable future.
09:24 Gilbert shares how widespread solar and alternative energy will be and how widespread access will be for low- and moderate-income folks 30 years from now.

Guest:

Gilbert Campbell is a co-founder of Volt Energy, a renewable energy project development firm that builds, operates, and maintains state-of-the-art solar energy systems for commercial, industrial, government and educational institutions.

Gilbert was recently named to EBONY magazine's 2014 Power List, which recognizes influential achievements by African Americans annually. Additionally, under Gilbert’s leadership, Volt Energy is largely recognized as an emerging national renewable energy development firm. Volt is a 2014 recipient of Amtrak and The Washington Wizards Pioneer Award, honoring companies that have made a positive impact in their community. Gilbert is a member of The American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE), an Advisor to the US Department of Energy’s Minorities in Energy Initiative, and an Advisory Board Member of The Center for Energy Research and Technology at North Carolina A&T. Gilbert also serves on the Board of Directors for the Greater Washington Boys and Girls Club and is on the Ambassador Board for KIPP DC. Gilbert graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.B.A in Finance from Howard University and has done post-graduate leadership training at Harvard University.

Organization:

Volt Energy is one of the largest minority owned solar energy development firms that builds, operates, and maintains state-of the-art solar energy systems for commercial, industrial, government and educational institutions. Volt Energy offers its clients solar energy at significant savings through a solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), which requires no upfront costs. Volt Energy draws on the experience of its diverse project team of professionals in project finance, engineering, land use law, project management and business development to deliver quality solar solutions for its clients.

Take Away Quotes:

“Volt Energy, at its core, is a renewable-energy firm, and we really focus on innovative finance solutions…where we can bring solar, with no upfront cost, or it could be electric-vehicle charging stations, or it could be a combination of energy storage, where we’re helping organizations reduce their energy load, carbon footprint.”

“The solar industry…is growing twelve times faster than national economy. However, there’s room for improvement. When you look at statistics as far as minorities employed in the solar industry—and women is a little bit better, but it still has a lot of room for growth—it’s right around twenty percent, so the industry is growing very fast, but when you look at vulnerable communities, the jobs aren’t growing as fast as the industry.”

“There’s a lot of incentives promoting solar that really helps business owners and home owners being able to reduce their energy cost, and a lot of times in our vulnerable communities, we don’t know about it. So, when I say we show up, we really get engaged in the community, letting people know here are the benefits. That’s something that we, at our core, are really passionate about. But I do want to mention that under President Obama’s leadership, this is an issue that he’s outlined steps to address this.”

Resources:

2016 National Training & Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities –Moving Communities from Surviving to Thriving

Volt Energy – Providing Green Power Solutions

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 40: Moving Vulnerable Communities from Surviving to Thriving, Part 1 –with Mustafa Ali

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 5: Environmental Justice and Smart Growth – with Mustafa Ali and Carlton Eley 

Oct 6, 2016

Topic:

Strengthening and Revitalizing Communities

In This Episode:

01:47 Introduction of Mustafa Ali.
02:22 Mustafa explains the purpose of the 2016 National Funding and Resources Training Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities.
03:25 Mustafa gives the dates and location of the Summit.
03:46 Mustafa tells who the primary audience is for this Summit.
04:22 Mustafa shares how listeners can learn more about the Summit.
04:41 Is there an intent to do this Summit annually?
07:13 Is this a culminating event for this administration to lift up the many resources it has developed to support the revitalization of vulnerable communities?
08:20 What are the biggest unmet needs that vulnerable communities and those living with environmental burdens face?
09:46 Mustafa talks about the change he has observed in the EPA’s approach to working with environmental justice and vulnerable communities.
11:53 Mustafa shares what kind of response he’s getting from the business community.
13:50 Mustafa addresses his viewpoint of the seeming notion that community revitalization has become a focal point of EPA’s environmental justice efforts.
15:22 Mustafa describes the Environmental Justice 2020 Action Agenda.
17:32 Mustafa speaks to the intent of the Action Agenda of eliminating childhood lead poisoning, and ensuring everyone has access to safe drinking water.
18:37 Mustafa explains how the Training Summit relates to EJ 2020.
19:12 Mustafa again shares how listeners can learn more about the Summit.
19:48 Mustafa gives his idea of what success of the Summit would be.
22:19 Mustafa shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable and less vulnerable communities.
22:47 Mustafa expresses the action that listeners can take to be supportive of the goals of the Summit.
23:57 Mustafa states what environmental justice communities look like 30 years from now.

Guest/Organization:

Mustafa Ali has been a national speaker, trainer and facilitator on social and environmental justice issues for the past 17 years. During that time, Mustafa has worked with communities on both the domestic and international front to secure environmental, health, and economic justice. He currently serves as Senior Advisor to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy on Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization.

Take Away Quotes:

“It’s pretty simple. It’s actually just a few words is what the real meaning, the foundation and goal and vision for this [the Training Summit] is, and that’s moving vulnerable communities from surviving to thriving, which is really grounded in the environmental justice movement, the social justice movement, civil rights, sort of the economic justice movement. All those various movements are all pointing in a similar direction, and it’s about strengthening and revitalizing communities, giving voice to the visions and the opportunities that exist in our most vulnerable communities.”

“When we say ‘vulnerable communities,’ we are talking about low-income communities, we’re talking about communities of color, and we’re talking about tribal populations, and those are the folks that we are currently focusing on to help them to be able to revitalize and address issues that are happening inside of their communities.”

“What we’re hoping to accomplish is that folks will be able to take this [the Summit event] and begin to do smaller, regional events that will be able to actually meet the needs of folks on the ground, even in a much more substantive way.”

Resources:

2016 National Training & Resources Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities –Moving Communities from Surviving to Thriving

Infinite Earth Radio Episode 5: Environmental Justice and Smart Growth – with Mustafa Ali and Carlton Eley

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