a man in a hazmat suit, a surveyor, men and women looking at a floor plan, and a construction site

Environmental Workforce Training Program

Environmental Workforce Training Program

Recruiting for the next training class will begin in the fall of 2018.  Next training class is scheduled to begin in spring of 2019.

In 2017, the Earth Conservancy (EC) was awarded a $200,000 grant through the USEPA’s Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) Program to implement a new job training program for local unemployed and underemployed residents, including veterans, in the Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton metro area. Although a new venture for the EC, the Environmental Workforce Training (EWT) Program is yet another way EC can help encourage revitalization in the region.

The Program

Although the mines closed decades ago, northeastern Pennsylvania is still dealing with environmental and economic challenges from the demise of the anthracite mining industry. The EWT Program was designed to address both. The program, through a focus on surveying, emphasizes skills and technology required in the reclamation and remediation process. As Mike Dziak, EC’s President and CEO, noted, “It’s a great opportunity, all around. For displaced workers, especially veterans, it offers a new pathway to help secure meaningful employment. For EC, it’s a new way for us to support revitalization in the region, one with extremely positive environmental and economic effects.”

The Curriculum

The EWT Program provides a comprehensive and realistic curriculum to participants seeking to enter an environmentally-oriented career in the Wyoming Valley. The curriculum, designed by a team at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, consists of 205 contact hours over the course of four months. The EWT Program is a $4,289 (per person) value, with tuition underwritten by a grant from the USEPA. Courses include:

  • Introduction to Brownfields
  • OSHA 40-Hour HAZWOPER Training
  • AutoCAD, Level I
  • Surveying Field Assistant
  • Basic Land Surveying Techniques
  • GIS for Resource Conservation
  • OSHA 10-Hour Safety Training
  • First Aid/CPR/AED

The Schedule

In order to fit the eight courses into a four-month period, the EWT Program employs a condensed schedule. Classes begin February 1, 2018, and are anticipated to conclude in early May 2018. Participants must attend all classes in order to earn certificates and continuing education credits. A tentative schedule of class meeting times can be found here.

Our Partners

Strong partnerships are the cornerstone of the EWT Program, chief among them Penn State Wilkes-Barre’s Surveying Engineering department and office of Continuing Education. Additional partners include the Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce Investment Board, Lackawanna County and Pocono County Workforce Development Boards, Northern Tier Regional Planning Development Commission, EOTC, and EPCAMR. Many local engineering firms also contributed to the grant proposal, offering program comments and agreeing to participate in coursework and interviewing of program graduates.

The Results

Upon graduation, participants will have skills and certifications that can lead to exciting careers in engineering, construction, remediation, environmental cleanup, and more. Earth Conservancy and its partners will work with graduates to help find employment opportunities. Graduates leave the EWT Program with

  • 20.5 hours of continuing education credits from the Pennsylvania State University
  • 3 federal certifications (HAZWOPER 40, OSHA 10, First Aid)
  • professional résumé and cover letter
  • letter of recommendation


Think the EWT Program is right for you? Answer the questions below to see if you’re eligible:

  • Are you a resident of northeastern Pennsylvania?
  • Are you a high school graduate or GED holder?
  • Are you 18 or older?
  • Are you a US citizen or authorized worker?
  • Do you classify as an unemployed, underemployed, or dislocated worker?
  • Do you hold a valid driver’s license and have reliable transportation?
  • Will you consent to drug tests and background checks?
  • Do you like to work outdoors?
  • Do you possess strong math skills?
  • Are you able to perform tasks involving physical labor?
  • Do you have a strong work ethic?
  • Are you able to follow directions and work as part of a team?
  • Can you commit to the full 4-month program?
  • Do you agree to one year of follow-up interviews?


If you pass the eligibility requirements above, the next step is to download and complete the application below or call 570-823-3445 to request one to be sent to you by mail. Once completed, you can either mail it to:

Dr. Elizabeth W. Hughes
Earth Conservancy
101 South Main Street
Ashley, PA 18706

or email it to e.hughes@earthconservancy.org. You can also contact us or your local PA CareerLink® office for more information. Please note, veterans will receive preferred entry.

What happens next? 

Staff will review your application for general program eligibility. If you qualify, you will then be invited for an interview. Assessment screening for math and literacy skills through our PA CareerLink® partners will occur after that.

Want to learn more? Interested in meeting the instructors? Apply? Then attend a public Informational Session at the PA CareerLink® Luzerne County office located at 32 East Union Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701. Registration is encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome: visit the EWT Program Event Details page and click on the blue “REGISTER” button.

The EWT Program has been funded in part through a grant from the US EPA and the support of the following partners: the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Penn State Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne/Schuykill WorkForce Investment Board, Lackawanna County Workforce Investment Board, Northern Tier Regional Planning & Development Commission, Pocono Counties Workforce Investment Board, Pennsylvania CareerLink®, Employment Opportunity & Training Center-EOTC, and the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation.