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Navajo program trains people to clean uranium mines via Carolsbad Current-Argus

FARMINGTON — More than 70 years after Navajo land first was poisoned by the mining and milling of uranium ore, its people have a chance to right some of those wrongs.
About 20 students will graduate today from a new program that trains Navajo to help in the cleanup of uranium. The graduation ceremony will be at 6 p.m. at the Gallup Community Service Center.

The program teaches students how to measure and detect radon, one of the toxic products of uranium. They also are trained in a 40-hour hazardous waste and emergency response course, first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and basic job skills.

“A lot of this work is a new type of life for a lot of these folks,” said Viola Cooper, national project manager for the Superfund Job Training Initiative.

The initiative is a nationwide program that visits contaminated communities and gives people the skills to find careers in cleaning up hazardous waste.

“The students could be someone from 16 to 60, but someone that wants to change their life around,” Cooper said.

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  1. norma field says

    No doubt jobs are precious. Yet how much care is given to safeguard the health of these workers, “from 16 to 80”? And how ironic that these Native Americans are given employment opportunities that consist of cleaning up the hazardous waste that has bespoiled their land.

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