Building off the successful Vet2Vet helpline started by the school, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey is reaching out to returning servicemen and women through a new job training initiative.
The program, Jobs4Vets, will sponsor 25 military personnel to go through a five-week program, beginning in November, to learn skills in environmental remediation and restoration.
Trainees will receive instruction in asbestos removal, lead abatement, construction safety, hazardous waste site and disaster site worker courses. After the training is provided, UMDNJ will assist the veterans in their job search.
"That's our sweet spot. We're funded by the National Institute of environmental Health Sciences, and we've been funded since 1988 to do training around environmental safety issues," said Mitchel Rosen, director of the Office of Public Health Practice for the UMDNJ-School of Public Health.
Rosen said the addition of job training to the list of services being made available to veterans was hashed out over a conference call in June with a board of advisers after it was determined there was no specific outreach being done for military members returning to New Jersey.
"In New Jersey, there's lots of hazardous waste sites, there's still asbestos remediation and lead remediation going on, and it's important that we have people who are trained properly to clean up these sites," Rosen said. "There's a need for doing cleanups, and it's good to hire local people and it's important that veterans are coming back and finding gainful employment."
"Filling those voids with people who are returning and looking for jobs is something that can be accomplished by this program," Rosen said.
UMDNJ received $90,000 to get the program off the ground, and is being assisted with some of the construction courses by the New York City District Council of Carpenters.