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News and Stories

NICKIA GIBSON

Nickia Gibson has always liked science. He attended the University of Delaware and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in biology. Unfortunately, he had trouble finding employment right out of college. All of the employers he approached told him he needed experience – or didn’t reply at all.

Around the same time, he noticed an ad for West End’s Environmental Jobs program on Indeed and decided to commit 5 weeks to the program. Immediately after he finished and posted his resume to various job sites, companies started contacting HIM. Why? Nickia thinks it’s because there is so much demand for the certifications West End provides – 10 in all, including OSHA 10 and OSHA 40 (core requirements for almost any job in the environmental field). Nickia and his class actually completed 11, because the students were interested in additional certifications and requested that they be added – and the program staff readily obliged.

Nickia is grateful for the opportunity to have participated in the program and would encourage others to do the same: “West End’s Environmental Jobs program is a win all-around; it’s free, takes only five weeks, provides the training employers are looking for, and you can get a good job immediately.” Nickia says he still gets messages from employers, even three weeks after accepting his job at Harvard Environmental, Inc., a local environmental consulting firm. “It’s a great program, and you get out of it what you put into it” he remarked.

West End’s Environmental Job Training Program is a career-focused, sector-specific workforce development program that provides environmental job training to prepare unemployed/underemployed Delawareans for entry-level jobs in the environmental sector that pay a livable wage ($15-$20/hr.) and open the door to more advanced career opportunities.

West End recruits and screens candidates and provides general employment training and instruction. Access Training Services, Inc. provides environmental industry-specific training that yields state and/or federally recognized credentials in OSHA safety-related courses that are nearly universal requirements for construction-related positions. Candidates also receive training and certification in Asbestos, Lead and Mold/Microbial Remediation, as well as in Hazardous Waste Operations, Emergency Response, Lockout-Tagout, Bloodborne Pathogens, Aerial Lift and Mobile Scaffolding. Additional recommended training in Forklift Operation and Soil Sampling is provided by external partners. Candidates who successfully complete the program are considered and interviewed for jobs with sector employers.

In order to qualify for enrollment, participants must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Be unemployed or underemployed
  • Be physically fit to do the work (able to lift 50 lbs., work in extreme heat/cold, etc.)
  • Successfully pass a drug screening
  • Successfully pass a background check on the sex offender registry
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Possess a Social Security card, state I.D or Driver’s license; a birth certificate or other U.S. Residence Documents and proof of Selective Service Registration (Males 18+)

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