LOS ANGELES — Cleaning up hazardous waste is not for the faint of heart, but that’s exactly what 25-year-old Marquis Godfrey is learning to do, by first donning an oxygen tank.

“I never thought I would be using this,” he said.

It helps him breathe inside a hazmat suit, part of a 6-week training at the Los Angeles Conservation Corps learning how to clean up hazardous waste, such as mopping up chemical spills.

The South LA native is taking part in the Brownfields Training Program funded with a $500,000 dollar grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, where 80 workers learn to clean up and revitalize environmentally toxic sites, especially in underserved areas including Boyle Heights and South LA.

Godfrey says it’s a chance to have a career, not just a job.

“I don’t like sitting in one spot all day and then we come out and do hands-on activities, so that’s pretty cool,” he said.

Brownfields sites are vacant properties such as empty factories, warehouses, old gas stations that are now contaminated according to Denise Haynes, a former LA Corps member who now oversees the training program.

“They’ll become aware of all the different toxins and things that happen in their community,” she said. “A lot of people are not aware that a gas station is basically toxic. They are not aware a cleaners can be toxic.”

According to the California Environmental Protection Agency, there are almost 90,000 brownfields site in the state.

Haynes says historically underserved communities typically lack the resources or workforce to clean up these hazards, but the training program can change that.

The LA Conservation Corps reports since 2005, 499 of its 641 trainees have landed environmental jobs.

They’re equipped with skills including properly handling and disposing of hazardous waste, removing mold and lead and applying pesticides.

After Godfrey passes his final exam, he’ll leave the program with multiple federal, state and industry certifications, ready to work.

“We already got the knowledge for it so we’re already one step ahead of the game,” he said.