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Issue 57, July 2016 

CPWR, Trades Take Action in Flint 
Locals train for lead pipe replacement, construction careers

Hard-pressed Flint, Michigan hit national headlines last fall, when independent researchers showed that drinking water there contained dangerously elevated levels of lead. Residents of this city, economically ravaged by declining auto manufacturing employment, now learned that their children were put at risk of developmental problems every time they turned on the faucet.

While our building trades union partners volunteered to assist local residents in many ways, CPWR connected with the Michigan State and Local Building Trades Councils to explore the possibility of initiating a training program for Flint's disadvantaged workers. 

Fixing the problem means replacing the lead pipes providing water service to thousands of Flint homes with safer copper pipes. Fortunately, through funding support from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, CPWR has gained extensive experience training workers in the safe handling of hazardous wastes like lead; unions like the Laborers, Plumbers and Operators have a long history of training workers for water and sewer line construction and repair. So CPWR and the trades teamed up to recruit and train Flint residents for construction careers on this critical infrastructure project -- and beyond.

CPWR's Environmental Career Worker Training Program, aimed at recruiting, training, and placing disadvantaged workers in the trades, was already active in East Palo Alto, St. Paul and New Orleans, and was ideally suited to take up the challenges in Flint.

I'm pleased to report that the first class of 10 local men and women have been enrolled in this new pre-apprenticeship program. They have received an orientation to the building industry and its various trades, and are receiving rigorous Hazardous Waste Worker, Lead Awareness, and OSHA Outreach training led by experienced CPWR and union apprenticeship instructors. Those who complete successfully can look forward to formal admission into the apprenticeship program in one of the participating trades -- and will be ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work rehabilitating Flint's water service.

We have all sympathized with the people of Flint through this terrible year. I'm proud that CPWR and our partners in the trades are able to do something to help as well. 
Pete Stafford
Executive Director
Recently Published Journal Articles by CPWR Scholars

Improving safety climate through a communication and recognition program for construction: a mixed-methods study.
Emily Sparer, Paul Catalano, Robert Herrick, and Jack Dennerlein. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health, May 2016 (Online).

Evaluation of a participatory ergonomics intervention in small commercial construction firms. Ann Marie Dale, Lisa Jaegers, Laura Welch, Bethany Gardner, Bryan Buchholz, Nancy Weaver and Bradley Evanoff. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, June 2016. 





CPWR -- The Center for Construction Research and Training is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created by North America's Building Trades Unions, AFL-CIO. Working with partners like you in business, labor, government, and the universities, we strive every day to make work safer for the ten million men and women who work in the U.S. construction industry! 

CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training, 8484 Georgia Ave. #1000, Silver Spring, MD 20910
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