Budzinski Highlights Opening of Environmental Justice Academy Applications

Sep 21, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) highlighted the opening of applications for Illinois’ first Environmental Justice (EJ) Academy. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s EJ Academy is a training program that will help local leaders cultivate skills to identify and address environmental challenges in their communities. The academy will be hosted in East St. Louis, Illinois and is being co-sponsored by the Kapal Foundation and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

“As communities in the Metro East continue to face persistent environmental health and safety challenges, we have to help raise voices of impacted residents,” said Congresswoman Budzinski.“I’m glad to see the EPA’s Environmental Justice Academy coming right here to East St. Louis to help strengthen our ability to address these longstanding challenges. As a part of the program, local leaders will have access to critical technical training that will help our communities become more competitive for federal and state resources. I encourage folks to sign up and take advantage of this great opportunity.”  

Through the program, participants will have the chance to build new skills including:

  • Using human, social, intellectual, technical, legal and financial resources to make long-term progress in a community.
  • Using consensus-building processes and skills to help ensure successful collaboration and negotiations.
  • Increasing the ability to address communities’ environmental and public health issues.
  • Learning a basic understanding of environmental justice and regulations.

The EJ Academy is currently expected to start in January 2024, and will consist of a 10-month program of courses, assignments and projects tailored to specific community requests. There are no costs associated with participation. Applications will be open through November 3, and any Metro East resident over 16 years old is eligible to apply. More information on the application and how to submit one can be found here.


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