The Rutgers School of Public Health, in collaboration with its partners, has been awarded a five-year, over $10 million grant by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health (Grant No. U45 ES006179), to continue to lead the New Jersey/New York Hazardous Materials Worker Training Center. Rutgers will partner with other academia, labor organizations, and the public sector, including: CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College, University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions, Universidad Metropolitana (Puerto Rico), New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, New York District Council of Carpenters, New Jersey State Police, and World Cares Center, to effectively provide training to the target populations.
[Photo: Dr. Mitchel A. Rosen]
Dr. Mitchel A. Rosen, principal investigator, notes “this unique consortia of organizations combine their technical, outreach, educational, and community advocacy experience and skills to provide workers with the critical knowledge and skills needed to prepare, respond, and recover from hazardous materials incidents and disasters, and to clean-up hazardous waste sites.” Dr. Rosen is an assistant professor and director of the Office of Public Health Practice at Rutgers.
The NJ/NY Hazardous Materials Worker Training Center has a long history of effectively providing hazardous materials knowledge and skills to over 450,000 workers since 1987. The courses develop competency in workers to critically analyze dangerous situations, and enable them to identify safe work practices. The Center will train over 50,000 workers and hold more than 2,250 courses over the next five years.
The Center will also provide training to meet the needs of workers responding to disasters. Over the years, the Center has effectively provided critical training to those responding to manmade disasters (9/11) and to natural disasters (Avian flu, Superstorm Sandy). Further, the Center will prepare individuals facing unemployment or chronic under-employment and who come from disadvantaged households in predominantly minority communities for environmental careers in the construction trades and place these individuals in meaningful and well-paying jobs as unionized apprentices or in related fields.