- A partnership between Waste Management of Alameda County and Oakland, CA-based Civicorps Recycling is giving local residents an opportunity to enter the waste industry through an apprenticeship program, as reported by SFGate.
- In addition to helping local residents earn their high school diplomas, Civicorps operates a nonprofit organic waste recycling program which services more than 800 commercial accounts. Last year, six apprenticeships were created with a starting pay of $20 per hour.
- After two years, these apprentices can become full-time union drivers with $70,000 salaries or also work in non-union administrative positions.
This is one of many new approaches that companies are taking to recruit drivers amid an ongoing shortage that is only projected to get worse. Faced with service interruptions in some areas, companies have since altered their recruitment tactics and compensation offers. A new federal rule allowing veterans to more easily obtain commercial drivers licenses is expected to have some effect. Though a separate rule around curriculum standards could delay other applicants and more can be done to reach certain demographics of potential drivers.
According to Civicorps, Oakland has the only franchise agreement in the country with a nonprofit job training program and its success so far could be a model for other cities. In recognition of the potential to offer more opportunities to the community, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded grant money to a local job training program that lets residents become certified in hazardous waste management and cleanup.
Through the work of EPA and other organizations environmental justice has become more of a concern for low-income communities. Emissions from transfer stations in these communities are part of the ongoing waste reform effort in New York and some Oakland residents have become so frustrated with illegal dumping that they recently brought bags of trash to city hall. Offering job opportunities in the industry won't directly solve these issues but it could help change the dynamic.