Limitless Vistas and BFA Partner on water and wastewater treatment job training

Sam Reynolds, EPA Region 6 Job Training Grant Project Manager and a key LVI sponsor, said he was “highly encouraged that S&WB and Veolia Water would take such an active interest in reaching out to the LVI Water and Waste Water program.” He added, “it’s critical that industry and other end users of EPA funded programs be at the table and engaged and this partnership accomplishes that.”

The Sewerage and Water Board, Veolia Water, Limitless Vistas and BFA Partner on water and wastewater treatment job training. The students have started Phase II of the training program which will prepare them for entry level jobs in the water and wastewater treatment utility sector. New Orleans, LA  August 22, 2011 – Earlier this month at-risk youth from Limitless Vistas (LVI), a job training non-profit, started the second phase of a summer internship program designed to introduce them to real and sustainable entry level job opportunities in the water and wastewater utility sector. This program was designed by LVI and partner BFA Environmental, as a way to help fill the tremendous employment needs in the environmental utility industry as baby boomers enter retirement age. “The effort began over a year ago,” recalls Patrick Barnes, founder of LVI and president of BFA, in a meeting with the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (S&WB). The S&WB through Executive Director Ms. Marcia St. Martin first expressed an interest in assisting LVI by providing training facilities and staff. Their interest quickly expanded into support, culminating in internships for 10 students at Veolia Water North America Operating Services, LLC (Veolia) and S&WB facilities. Limitless Vistas is an organization that was founded in 2006 to train inner city youth for careers in the environmental and green jobs industry. “This program exists for the benefit of our students, not for profit,” said program Director Matilda Tennessee. Students are introduced to the technical aspects of environmental work as well as the value of working in their communities, through service learning. LVI’s training techniques include classroom and hands on application in the following areas; home weatherization, construction, coastal restoration brownfield site assessment and clean up, and since 2010, water and wastewater treatment operations.

This is the only youth program in the New Orleans area that is preparing inner city youth for jobs in the water and wastewater industry.Graduates earn a variety of technical certifications, scholarships and credentials and upon graduation will earn an average starting salary of $12.50/hr. Since its inception LVI has provided job training for over 250 at-risk young people in the New Orleans area. What the Students Feel Calvina McDowell, an LVI participant who is currently working as an intern at the S&WB, has used LVI scholarship money to attend summer classes at Delgado Community College and plans to apply for an internship at the EPA next summer. “The classes we took with Mr. Simon (Geologist and LVI Instructor) helped us be more familiar with the verbiage used in the industry before working at the plants,” she said of the classroom portion of the LVI Program. This summer’s programs started when ten students took a tour of the East Bank water treatment facility operated by Veolia. Subsequently nine were selected for summer internships in the areas of operations, maintenance, wastewater, and administration.

The first phase of observational internships at Veolia was completed in mid July and the students are currently working at the Carrolton and Algiers treatment plants rotating through duties which include taking water samples and testing the water for various chemicals used in the water purification process. “I enjoyed working at Veolia, it was very interesting. You don’t always think about where the water goes when you flush the toilet and now I know,” Ms. McDowell said. Another student, Territa Fleming added, “Interning at Veolia and the S&WB has taught me the importance of hard work and perseverance. Seeing first hand the rewards of hard work and perseverance gives me inspiration to keep moving forward toward my goal of obtaining a post-secondary education and having a successful career”.

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With Restore money, Louisiana should strengthen coast and provide job training

From oiled marshes and decreased oyster harvests to rising poverty rates and loss of livelihoods, Louisiana has suffered in many ways from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Soon, we will have a chance to repair and restore both our environment and our economy, as the Restore Act sends billions of dollars in Clean Water Act fines to the Gulf Coast states.

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Orlando Sentinel reports on BFA

Kevin Spear | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted April 24, 2006

If it’s wise to save money for rainy days, then maybe there’s some wisdom in saving rain for days when you’re poor — water-poor that is. It’s an idea that’s taking hold in fast-growing Central Florida to prevent future water shortages: collecting water during rainy season, storing it and then using it during the dry season. But it’s not an easy task. Storing any significant amount of water could require hundreds of giant tanks or very large reservoirs. There is a cheaper and more effective way, environmental authorities say. In Orange, Seminole and Volusia counties, experts are probing deep underground for formations of porous rock that will hold hundreds of millions of gallons of water. The water would be treated to drinking quality and injected into a well. The underground rock would keep the water in place so it can be retrieved later through the same well. That’s “aquifer storage and recovery” in expert jargon. More important than what the technology is called is what it can do.

“You can store massive amounts of water,” said Ronald Ferland, an Orlando environmental consultant for a storage project in east Orange County…


Louisiana Weekly Reports on BFA

The Orlando, Florida businessman, owner of Barnes, Ferland & Associates, Inc., came to New Orleans about a year ago to help out with recovery efforts. Contracted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to lend his firm’s expertise in environmental engineering, Barnes decided to duplicate a program he initiated in Florida years ago to engage unemployed and underemployed young people in creater brighter economic futures for themselves while protecting the community against environmental hazards.

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Employing Gulf Coast Residents in Coastal Restoration Projects

NEW ORLEANS, LA — Today AECOM, a leading global provider of professional technical and management support services in more than 140 countries around the world, and Limitless Vistas, Inc. (LVI), a nonprofit organization based in New Orleans, LA, announced a partnership to train and employ some of the region’s most at-risk youth for new jobs in environmental restoration.

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Patrick Barnes Honored as a White House Champion of Change For His Community Resiliency Leadership

BFA President, Patrick Barnes, is being honored as White House Champion of Change as a Community Resiliency Leader for his passion, commitment and tireless work in the community as it applies to Environmental Issues.champions_banner_0I am truly honored to be recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change Community Resiliency Leader. From early in my career as an environmental geologist working in New York and New Jersey, I was struck by the fact that the far majority of the contaminated sites I worked on were in poorer or minority communities. You also couldn’t help but notice that the employees of consultants and contractors doing the environmental assessment and cleanup work did not look like the residents of the area, and often lived directly adjacent to the source of pollution. Adding insult to injury, when additional staff was needed to complete the work, these contractors would routinely bring employees in from other areas. This dichotomy was even starker as my career took me to environmental projects in North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana.In 1994, shortly after establishing Barnes, Ferland and Asscociates, Inc (aka BFA Environmental), in Orlando, Florida, I read “Dumping in Dixie” by Robert Bullard. The book chronicles the tremendous disparities that exist in the siting of hazardous waste facilities, landfills, and industrial plants, and how such facilities are routinely placed in poor and minority communities. Also in 1994, President Clinton signed Executive Order 12898, formally mandating that federal agencies make achieving environmental justice a part of their mission.

It was during this time that I decided the most effective approach for achieving environmental justice, at the grassroots level, would be for firms who are involved in environmental assessment and remediation to be actively engaged in teaching the residents of impacted communities about the environment and how to safeguard and protect it. Additionally, the results would be maximized if much needed job training were provided to at-risk members of these communities in conjunction with this outreach.In essence, the infrastructure repair and environmental restoration needs—which are greatest in poor and areas—represent a great opportunity for renewal, and residents of such communities should have the chance for a direct economic benefit from that opportunity.This issue all came into clear focus for me after the destruction caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita along the Gulf Coast. These disasters exposed the tremendous lack of proper environmental infrastructure in poor communities.