For immediate release

Advocates to Healey Administration: Don’t Let Trash Slow Climate Progress

On Stop Food Waste Day, 24 organizations urge accelerated executive branch action on organic waste crisis

Elizabeth Schroeder, Senior Communications Strategiest

April 22 —Industrious Labs, Indiana Conservation Voters, Citizens Action Coalition, and Mighty Earth have launched the Sustainable Steel Community Cohort (SSCC) in Northwest Indiana. This initiative aims to support the steel industry by helping bring the benefits of sustainable steel to Northwest Indiana, including increasing good-paying union jobs and slashing air pollution.

“Today marks the launch of the Sustainable Steel Community Cohort in Northwest Indiana, an important step toward harnessing community power to ensure steel communities thrive,” said Lee Helfend, Senior Field Strategist at Industrious Labs. “Together, we’re fighting for a future with cleaner air, healthier communities, and more good union jobs.”

The demand for cleaner steel is growing across the United States, with the automotive, construction, and energy sectors alone requiring 6.7 million metric tons. However, despite being home to three of the nation’s seven remaining integrated steel mills, Northwest Indiana has not yet seen significant investments in modernizing its iron and steelmaking facilities. A recent report underscores the need for Indiana to invest in sustainable steelmaking to secure early adopter incentives, including access to billions of dollars in federal funding and private contracts for sustainable steel.

This contrasts sharply with developments elsewhere, such as Cleveland-Cliffs' project to convert its Middletown Works facility in Ohio from coal-based to hydrogen-ready steelmaking. This project is projected to invigorate the local economy in Middletown by creating 1,200 union construction jobs and 170 permanent positions while retaining 2,500 existing jobs.

"Indiana Conservation Voters supports this initiative because there is a huge opportunity to transform the iron and steel industry in a way that creates union steelworker and construction jobs, spurs local investment, and secures the economic and environmental future of a region that has too long been left behind,” said Chris Chyung, Executive Director with Indiana Conservation Voters.

The SSCC seeks to bridge this gap by fostering community support, targeted investments, and advocacy to enable similar upgrades in Northwest Indiana. By combining political education with storytelling training, the cohort will empower participants to develop strategies that enhance the local economy, improve worker health, and mitigate industrial impacts on land, water, air, and community health.

“Northwest Indiana's three mills release thousands of tons of hazardous air pollution annually, ranking among the state’s primary contributors to health-harming pollution,” stated Matthew Groch, Senior Director at Mighty Earth. “The SSCC is an opportunity to build the community power necessary to advocate for solutions that will create sustainable steel jobs, ensure a healthier future for the region and address the steel industry’s significant carbon emissions."

The program will run for five months, starting this June, and will include half-day sessions on select Saturdays at the Dean and Barbara White Community Center. Participants will receive a stipend for each class, totaling $1,000 for completing the program. Residents of Lake County, Porter County, and the surrounding areas are encouraged to apply.

"Today, steel manufacturing employs 28,000 Hoosiers, half as many as in 1990. Our research suggests that this trend of decline may continue unless Indiana’s steel industry shifts towards low-carbon steelmaking," said Ben Inskeep, Program Director at Citizens Action Coalition. “Through this initiative, we aim to provide a platform for the community to advocate for a future where we not only protect and grow our workforce but also lead advancements in sustainable steel production, ensuring clean air and a healthier environment for all.”

For more information about the Sustainable Steel Community Cohort or to apply for the program, please click here.


About Industrious Labs:

Industrious Labs is focused on scaling campaigns and building a movement to clean up heavy industry through network and capacity building, research and analysis, data-driven campaigns and sharp communications.