CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the Enterprise Center one of 21 national Brownfields Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Grants to recruit, train and place unemployed or underemployed Chattanooga residents in skilled environmental positions.

The job training grant will offer 60 Chattanooga residents the opportunity to gain full-time, long-term employment, potentially generating $1.7 million in annual employment dollars in the community.

"By bringing this training opportunity to Chattanooga, the Enterprise Center continues to be an asset to this community by creating jobs and paving the way for the further diversification and expansion of the local economy," said Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield.

As of May 2011, more than 6,600 individuals have been trained in the EPA Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training program, with more than 4,400 placed in full-time employment in the environmental field upon graduation.

Trainees earn valuable certifications and grow strong skill sets. Program classes include OSHA certifications in hazardous waste operations and emergency response, construction and general industry.

Additional training and awareness courses include aerial lift training;  fall protection and confined space entry preparation; heavy equipment operation; first aid, CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) education; lead-based paint awareness instruction; underground storage tank awareness; mold and asbestos remediation; and Class A Commercial Drivers License (CDL) training.

Graduates will receive extensive support from the Enterprise Center and Tennessee Career Center in obtaining full-time, long-term jobs in the Chattanooga community. Through concentrated marketing to well-known local businesses specializing in green jobs, graduates are ensured one-on-one employer interviews and job fairs to aid with their employment search.

The environmental job training program is slated to begin classes in September in Chattanooga. Prior to acceptance in the free program, individuals must meet eligibility requirements and commit to the full-time 13-week training. Applications are available at the Tennessee Career Center at Eastgate Town Center, online and on the Enterprise Center's website. Applicants should return completed applications to the Tennessee Career Center.