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Dillard University

WETP Cooperative Agreement Awardee:

Principal Investigator/Institution

Beverly Wright, Ph.D.

Tel (504) 816-4005
Fax (504) 816-4032


Dillard University
Deep South Center for Environmental Justice
2601 Gentilly Boulevard
New Orleans, Louisiana 70122 ( Exit NIEHS Website

Program Contact

Myra M. Lewis, Ph.D.
Assistant Director

Tel (504) 816-4036
Fax (504) 816-4032


Deep South Center for Environmental Justice
Dillard University
2601 Gentilly Boulevard
New Orleans, Louisiana 70122

Target Training Populations

Dillard logo

Mississippi River Chemical Corridor (New Orleans - Baton Rouge):
Thirteen communities in parishes along the Mississippi River Chemical Corridor have been targeted for recruitment and outreach. They include: Ascension parish, Geismar, Louisiana; St. Charles parish, Norco, Destrehan, and New Sarpy, Louisiana; East Baton Rouge parish, Alsen, Baker, Scotlandville and Prescott; St. James parish, Convent, Louisiana; Orleans parish, Central City, Treme, Agriculture Street Landfill, and Algiers, Louisiana. All of these communities are located in the corridor and are predominately African American with high unemployment and poverty rates and are located in close proximity to hazardous waste facilities and/or Superfund sites.

Detroit, Michigan Area Training:
For decades, Detroit has been known as the Motor City - hub of the automobile industry. As a result, a considerable portion of the city has been subject to heavy industrial activity, and a number of Detroit properties have become contaminated. Over 45,000 contaminated sites have been abandoned by their owners and forfeited to the city due to unpaid taxes. The legacy of dumping has placed the citizens of southeast Michigan at greater risk for adverse health impacts such as lead poisoning, upper respiratory conditions and various forms of cancers in disproportionate measures. In addition, the legacy has left a community largely impaired by disinvestment of economic resources.

Dillard University will work with Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice (DWEJ) in this Detroit community. DWEJ is a nationally known community-based environmental justice organization that has been involved in environmental job training for over eight years. As part of the Midwest Consortium for Hazardous Waste Worker Training, and in partnership with the Southeast Michigan Coalition on Occupational Safety and Health, DWEJ implemented the Minority Worker Training Project (MWTP) and Community Hazard Awareness Training (CHAT) that trained and certified low-income and predominately unemployed community members to work in the environmental remediation field. All those who successfully completed the training are now employed, and two members have become adjunct trainers in the program. In addition, DWEJ conducted several hundred short courses on toxic use reduction, persistent bio-cumulative toxics, hazardous waste community awareness and emergency release training.

Savannah Target Community:
The Savannah community targeted for outreach and recruitment is Hudson Hill. The Hudson Hill neighborhood lies north of Bay Street between East, North, and West Lathrop Streets. The population of Hudson Hill declined from 1,367 to l,003 between 1990 and 2000, a loss of eight percent. The number of housing units also declined from 523 to 405 during this period, a loss of 22.6 percent. Much of the loss of population and housing occurred in the Bayview and Clearview areas, where population declined from 577 to 274 between 1990 and 2000.

Program Description

The HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Consortium will consist of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Dillard University (DU/DSCEJ) in New Orleans, Louisiana in partnership with the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University (CAU/EJRC) in Atlanta, Georgia, and in collaboration with Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (SUBR), the Citizens for Environmental Justice (CFEJ) in Savannah, Georgia, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice (DWEJ), and union organizations, minority-owned and institutional based training providers, and local, state, and federal agencies to implement a five-year Minority Worker Training Program. The main goals of the program are to: (1) build the capacity of community-based organizations; (2) provide socio-economically disadvantaged community residents, 18 years of age or older, with the skills needed to work with businesses and contractors involved in environmental remediation; (3) work in partnership with unions that offer apprenticeship programs; and (4) develop the capacity of HBCU academic institutions (DU, CAU, SUBR) to deliver technically sound worker health and safety education and training. The multi-site training program will be implemented in three (3) states and in two regions of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) - Region IV and Region VI. DU/DSCEJ will have overall responsibility for the administrative and fiscal management of all program activities. DU/DSCEJ will also provide direct services and will oversee activities conducted at the training sites located in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. CAU/EJRC will provide direct services and will oversee activities conducted at the training site located in Savannah, Georgia. This project represents a unique opportunity to link historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), community-based organizations (CBOs), community colleges, high schools, unions with apprenticeship programs, and government agencies, with the overall goal of improving urban environments, promoting community involvement, and creating a work force of trained community residents ready to assist government, businesses, and contractors in the environmental remediation of communities.

Dillard University under the Minority Worker Training Program will implement a multi-site (New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Detroit and Savannah) training plan, designed to provide construction and environmental training to eighty (80) socio-economically disadvantaged community residents each year, for a total of four hundred (400) community residents trained at the end of the five-year cooperative agreement. Residents will be 18 years old or older and will be recruited from targeted environmentally challenged communities, located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, LA; Savannah, GA; and Detroit, MI. The program will involve seven major components implemented over a 12-month training period. The major program components are: (1) Program Planning; (2) Outreach and Recruitment; (3) Basic Skills Training; (4) Technical Training; (5) On-the-Job Training/Community Service; (6) Job Development and Placement Assistance and Tracking; (7) Quality Control and Evaluation.

Project Duration

  • September 1, 2005 - July 31, 2010

Grant Number

  • U45ES10664

Other Participating Organizations Department of Health & Human Services National Institutes of Health
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Last Reviewed: May 07, 2007