Real Estate Development News

Equipping local contractors with lead-safe practices!

Equipping local contractors with lead-safe practices!

Posted: 12-02-2011

An estimated 90% of all childhood lead poisoning cases in Kent County are the result of deteriorating lead-based paint and lead dust found in the home. This dangerous dust can be found in any home built before 1978, which accounts for more than 85% of the housing stock in the City of Grand Rapids. Lead Poisoining is 100% preventable if the correct precautions are taking when making renovations or repairs.

In an effort to ensure that local contractors are aware of the risks involved in working with Lead and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and homeowners, LINC staff facilitated several opportunities for local residents to improve their certifications and skills in Lead Safe work practices over the past three months.

The positive turn-out to these training opportunities demonstrated the eagerness of the community to work together to prevent lead poisoning. 16 local individuals were trained and received the Lead Supervisor certification from the state of Michigan through a four-day training and the completion of a 12 page test.

11 individuals were certified in the Renovate, Repair, and Painting Program a requirement of the EPA for contractors doing work on pre-1978 homes. Three of those individuals were mentored and became licensed home builders.

Many of the individuals taking these courses have been out of school for quite a while, but were eager to learn and stayed engaged throughout the trainings. Over 90 percent passed their exams!  As of today, 68 percent of those trained now have jobs after being unemployed and 22 percent enhanced their current job skills. The remainder are still looking for employment, but are hopeful that the Lead Safe credentials will aid in future employment prospects.

All of these training efforts were made possible from a $15,000 grant from HUD and use of the Section 3 mentoring funds that were set aside by the City of Grand Rapids.

LINC staff, Brian Hudson and Debra Wadlington, worked extensively to coach and encourage training participants to "show up" and complete the hours of training, studying and test taking. With these new credentials, contractors will be better qualified to work on lead-hazard jobs, protecting themselves, their coworkers and the families occupying the homes.