NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Federal grant money from the Environmental Protection Agency is coming to New Haven. The $500,000 in funding will put high school students to work, saving the environment.

Common Ground High School has been educating students about the environment for over 25 years. Now, a federal grant is letting New Haven hire some of those students.

“It’s 200 paid jobs. It’s about $120,000 in wages in a tough time. Cost of living is so difficult,” U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D -3rd District) said. “We’re going to put youngsters to work.”

They’ll plant trees around New Haven with the Urban Resources Initiative. Some will help increase how much waste gets composted in the Elm City. They will target the six neighborhoods in New Haven most impacted by environmental injustice, and it’s all part of the Green Job Corps. Ana Reyes remembers her time in the corps.

“Prepping our fresh produce for the week to leading hikes with students in our nature year program in the West Rock Forest,” said Reyes, who is now the Green Jobs Corps program coordinator.

The half-a-million-dollar grant will greatly expand it. The idea is not only to be good for the environment and to educate the students but also to get the young people to spread the word about important environmental issues.

“Young people will work together with our partners and city residents to generate meaningful, lasting results related to air quality, climate change, land revitalization, and food insecurity,” Green Jobs Corps Director Crystal Fernandez said.

While Common Ground High School is at the forefront of environmental justice issues in New Haven, this EPA grant actually opens up Green Job Corps opportunities for students in all New Haven high schools.