National Workforce Development Success Stories

The DSCEJ has been instrumental in training over 800 individuals in the southern region of the United States in various fields of environmental remediation. They have delivered over 20,000 hours in environmental remediation training and over 20,000 hours in Basic Skills Training.

Training initiatives began in 1995 and funding has been acquired from NIEHS to continue training through 2010.



New Orleans

15 Trained


New Orleans

14 Trained


New Orleans

17 Trained


New Orleans

10 Trained


New Orleans, Dallas

35 Trained


New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Dallas

54 Traines


New Orleans, Atlanta, Shreveport, Baton Rouge

109 Trained


New Orleans, Atlanta, Shreveport, Baton Rouge

83 Trained


New Orleans, Atlanta, Shreveport, Baton Rouge

71 Trained


New Orleans, Atlanta, Shreveport, Baton Rouge

92 Trained


New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Gulfport/Biloxi, Savannah

85 Trained


New Orleans (Including Katrina Small Business Training), Baton Rouge Gulfport/Biloxi, Savannah

149 Trained


New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Detroit, Savannah

82 Trained


New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Detroit, Savannah 

82 Trained


New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Detroit, Savannah

83 Trained


The center has a training completion rate of 85% to 95% of its required target population. The success extends to the placement of these individuals with a rate of 75% to 90%. The center has developed a database of 100 environmental remediation companies in which program graduates have worked and earned as much as $32.00 per hour. Some graduates who had not previously left their city of origin have traveled all over the United States and to exotic locations such as the Virgin Islands and Hawaii to work in the environmental remediation field.

The DSCEJ has successfully collaborated with over 50 agencies including, non-profit, government agencies, for-profit companies and specialists in the environmental arena to help program graduates develop careers and a better the standard of living for them and their families. A few recent program graduates include Chadrick Buchanan of Baton Rouge, Peter Nguyen of Biloxi/Gulfport, Terrie Richard of Savannah, Georgia.


Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Chadrick Buchanan of the Baton Rouge program exhibited both leadership and compassion by tutoring a fellow trainee in mathematics during basic skills. Chadrick began working as a cart pusher at Wal Mart for $7.00 an hour after dropping out of Second Chance Academy in the 11th grade. After graduation from the program, Chadrick was able to get a job with the New England Industrial Engineers at $22.92 per hour. He has since referred several people to the program.


Biloxi/Gulfport, Mississippi
Peter Nguyen of the Biloxi/Gulfport program, was born in Vietnam, and was particularly challenged in English, mathematics, and life skills. He had never interacted with African Americans to any extent, but his determination to succeed won him friends and popularity as the program progressed. He became an ambassador of the program within the Vietnamese community. Peter abandoned his former life?s work as a fisherman and is now working with the State of Mississippi?s Sea Grant Consortium.


Savannah, Georgia
Terrie Richard is employed as a brick layer with D. Stanley Mason and now makes $15.00 an hour. During the time she was enrolled in the program in Savannah, she experienced serious life issues, ranging from living in a Salvation Army shelter that had a mold problem to having difficulty reading and writing. As a matter of fact, at each weekly staff meeting she was constantly bought up when discussing trainees. It was thought that she would not make it through the program because of her low level of basic skills. Terrie worked hard to improve her skills. She received extra instruction from our basic skill instructors, and the program also helped her with her housing problems. Eventually, she was able to obtain housing (a room). It was evident that her self esteem and confidence were boosted by the changes she was making in her life.


New Orleans, Louisiana
For the five years that the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice conducted the Brownfields Minority Worker Training Programs (2000- 2005), the center was under the auspices of Xavier University (XU) and was housed on the fringes of its campus. One of the trainees in year two?s program, Tracy Johnson, walked daily from the off-campus site to the student center at XU to have lunch with his fellow trainees. He observed the Xavier students on campus, and noted the zeal and focus they brought to their pursuit of higher education and a better way of life. Tracy resolved then to use the certifications he was working toward to guarantee himself and then fiancÇe, Shannon, a better way of life.

Little good can be said of the ill wind, Katrina, and its devastating after effects on the population of New Orleans. But, it is indeed an ill wind that blows no good. Katrina has brought about good things for Tracy Johnson. Tracy returned to New Orleans as soon as he could and went back to work in the burgeoning environmental remediation industry. As a native of New Orleans, he realized that he had a golden opportunity to really get ahead of contractors from all over the nation that were converging on New Orleans and snatching up contracts, big and small, from local people. Tracy decided that the time had come for him to make a move and make his mark on the rebuilding effort.

Tracy applied for and received his contractor's license and formed his own company, Shantra, LLC and Cut Masters, LLC, hiring some of his fellow trainees to make up his work crew. He began to solicit work and to compete for contracts. One of the contracts he secured was for the cleanup of a local university's campus – Xavier University, where his dream for a better life began. Tracy put his effort into making that job one of his best, and it was with great pride that he informed his former instructors at the DSCEJ that he had performed that work for Xavier.

Tracy's crew is still out there and will be for some time. The work in the city of New Orleans has just begun. The DSCEJ is proud of Tracy and of the many other young men and women who were certified through our worker training programs and who are now contributing their efforts to the clean up and rebuilding efforts of our great city.


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