NEWARK, NJ — NJ Transit is leading an effort to address veteran unemployment during the COVID-19 crisis by partnering with the nationally successful Edge4Vets jobs preparation program to prepare and connect New Jersey veterans, National Guard members, transitioning military service personnel and their spouses to careers in transportation, according to a Feb. 16 press release.
The program, which will be presented in a series of online workshops, is offered by the Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham University in New York and will be introduced in New Jersey this spring. The program has been implemented in eight states since its introduction in 2011. More than 1,500 veterans and service personnel have participated in the program, and up to eight out of 10 have earned jobs.
“I would like to commend NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett and his team for embracing the Edge4Vets program. Edge4Vets is designed to help the men and women who selflessly served our country in the United States military find meaningful careers as they transition back to the civilian world,” NJ Transit board of directors Vice Chairperson Cedrick Fulton said. “As an Air Force vet, I know how difficult it can be to communicate the similarity of military experience with public- and private-sector employment opportunities. Speaking on behalf of my fellow board members, it’s wonderful to see NJ Transit demonstrate leadership and honor their commitment to hiring inclusion consistent with their strategic plan.”
“NJ Transit employs nearly 12,000 people, including many military veterans, and we have seen firsthand the tremendous value and leadership skills they bring to our organization,” Corbett said. “When you consider the devastating impact that COVID-19 has had on our region’s economy and employment opportunities, I can think of no better way to ‘give back’ and to honor our nation’s veterans.”
“NJ Transit’s leadership in hiring veterans is appreciated by every one of the more than 320,000 veterans in the state,” said Col. Lisa Hou, interim commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “The talents veterans bring to the agency will pay dividends for years to come.”
“Edge4Vets gives veterans and other military personnel the support business leaders say they need most; that is, we teach them how to translate their military strengths, including values and skills, into tools for success in the civilian workplace, then we connect them to jobs that can lead to careers,” said Tom Murphy, founder of Edge4Vets and director of the Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham.
In the workshop series, veterans learn how to create a personal Plan4Success, which allows them to articulate their military strengths with statements in four areas: vision, values, skills and an action plan.
The workshop series includes two 90-minute Zoom sessions, with two weeks in between. During that interval, participants take the online Edge4Vets course at their own pace to refine the Plan4Success they start work on in the first session and finalize it before bringing their completed plan to the second session. In the program, veterans learn how to translate their military strengths into tools for civilian success, then get connected to human resource representatives for employment opportunities.
HR reps from NJ Transit will provide support during the workshops to help participants craft their personal Plan4Success and gain an edge to get hired. Recruitment of military personnel for the workshop series will be supported by the NJ Department of Labor through its One Stop centers, colleges — including Montclair State and Rutgers universities — and other organizations, such as the Military and the Family Support Center at Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst, the Veterans Administration and others.
This leadership effort by NJ Transit will be the first implementation of Edge4Vets in the state.