The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ) has been implementing workforce development programs for the last fifteen years. The first 10 years was under the auspices of Xavier University. In 2005, the center began operating under the auspices of Dillard University.
The program administration, under the leadership of Dr. Beverly Wright, approaches workforce development training in a holistic manner, addressing the academic, social, psychological and physical needs of the trainees. The training program's structure includes outreach and recruitment, basic and job readiness skills development, career training, job placement and tracking. The DSCEJ has managed to maintain a 75% to 90% job placement rate over the years. Several initiatives were developed to achieve this success rate including development of a Worker Training Advisory Board and fostering relationships with environmental remediation employers. An advisory board consisting of environmental community leaders and employers are active in outreach and recruitment, mentoring and job placement. Relationships are developed with potential employers to ensure placement of program graduates. Collaborations with community partnerships, resource agencies (Job1, Job Corp, Lion's Eye Center, etc.), local churches, and local government offices were also developed to support various components of the program's structure. Past training populations have included trainees who were unemployed and underemployed, and those lacking basic academic and soft skills. The center has experience in training the economically disadvantaged as well as those who have been incarcerated.