The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) was given major responsibility for initiating a training grants program under the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act. The objective of this program is to fund non-profit organizations with a demonstrated track record of providing occupational safety and health education in developing and delivering high-quality training to workers who are involved in handling hazardous waste or in responding to emergency releases of hazardous materials. Since the initiation of the Hazardous Waste Worker Training Program in 1987, NIEHS has developed a strong network of non-profit organizations that are committed to protecting workers and their communities by delivering high-quality, peer-reviewed safety and health curriculum to target populations of hazardous waste workers and emergency responders.

Photo by Ann Studwell


NIEHS Worker Training Program

The NIEHS Worker Training Program (WTP) supports the training and education of workers engaged in activities related to hazardous materials and waste generation, removal, containment, transportation and emergency response. This program encourages innovation for training difficult-to-reach populations by addressing issues such as literacy, appropriate adult education techniques, and training quality improvement. Read about the NIEHS WTP's impact in Alaska.

The Western Region Universities Consortium (WRUC) consists of four university-based programs located in the Western United States. WRUC provides training courses targeted to cleanup site workers, state and county emergency response personnel, hazardous waste and hazardous materials transportation personnel, and waste site assessment workers. Consortium members collaborate with community-based and tribal organizations to provide training for unemployed or underemployed workers, non-English speakers, those who are geographically isolated and/or with limited literacy skills.

WRUC Consortium Members:
Arizona State University
UCLA Labor Occupational Safety and Health Program
University of California at Berkeley Labor Occupational Health Program
University of Washington 

The University of Washington’s NIEHS WTP participates in the three following programs:

  1. Hazardous Waste Worker Training Program This program provides occupational safety and health training for workers who are or may be engaged in activities related to hazardous waste removal, containment or chemical emergency response.
  2. Environmental Careers Worker Training Program This program is focused on delivering comprehensive training to disadvantaged inner city young adults in order to prepare them for employment in the fields of environmental restoration and hazardous materials. Read NIEHS's findings about the economic impact of the ECWTP.
  3. Hazmat Disaster Preparedness Training Program This program will enhance the safety and health training of current hazardous materials workers and chemical responders, to train skilled response personnel, to create materials and deliver training to weapons of mass destruction response workers and to augment prevention and preparedness efforts in a wide variety of high risk settings.

Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Education (PACE) Program

The University of Washington NIEHS WTP participates in the Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Education (PACE) Program in Seattle by providing safety training to PACE students. PACE is a construction training program focused on preparing people for the construction trade apprenticeship programs and high paying careers in the construction industry. PACE is run by ANEW, the oldest, continuously running pre-apprenticeship program in the nation with a successful reputation for training people to enter the construction industry.

To learn more about this program, call (206) 381-1384.

View the DEOHS Environmental Health Story on PACE, "Investing in Those Most at Risk"

View King 5's 2019 feature on PACE/ANEW, "Seattle program helps fill construction jobs as industry deals with worker shortage"

Constructing Hope Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program

UW's NIEHS WTP also collaborates with Constructing Hope in Portland, Oregon to provide construction safety & hazardous waste training to pre-apprenticeship students. Constructing Hope helps participants develop an understanding of apprenticeship opportunities available in the construction trades. Each student gains entry-level skills, familiarity with trade tools, terminology, basic principles, and knowledge of various career opportunities within the trades. Constructing Hope offers a 10-week program with a total of 256 hours of classroom and hands-on training.

UW NIEHS WTP provides training in Confined Space Awareness, First Aid & Adult CPR, 40-hour HAZWOPER, and an OSHA 10-hr course for construction. To learn more about Constructing Hope, call (503) 281-1234 or email View some of Constructing Hope's former student testimonials here.


Project Duration

  • August 1, 2020 - July 31, 2025

Grant Numbers

  • U45 ES006173 (HWWTP, ECWTP, HDPTP)