Campus is First in State to Host Program to Help Vets Break into Life-sciences Industry
LOWELL, Mass. – Twenty-five veterans earning degrees at UMass Lowell are participating in a program designed to teach them to translate their military strengths into success in one of Massachusetts’ fastest-growing industries.
UMass Lowell is the first university in Massachusetts to work with Edge4Vets
to provide specialized training as well as connections with prominent companies in life sciences as a way to offer the student-veterans entry into the field. Among the benefits of the program are guaranteed interviews for internships with major employers.
More than 1,400 student-veterans attend UMass Lowell, which is ranked among the most military-friendly schools in the nation by G.I. Jobs magazine. Home to award-winning ROTC units and an active student-veterans’ organization, the university in 2011 established an Office of Veterans’ Services and dedicated space on campus to serve this population’s specific needs.
“Vets win in Edge4Vets
because they get hands-on support to translate their military strengths, while the companies win because they get job-ready veterans who know their skills and are geared up to help the company succeed,” said Tom Murphy, the creator of Edge4Vets
and director of the Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham University.
Murphy developed Edge4Vets
using his experience as an educator, including as a teacher at Boston’s Don Bosco Technical High School, and training professional as well as the inspiration he found in the resiliency of the human spirit following 9/11. Leading up to Sept. 11, 2001, Murphy had been working as a consultant training workers in the aviation industry. After the tragic events of that day, Murphy found solace in talking to his colleagues in aviation in Boston, New York and Washington about how they used their personal strengths to create their paths to recovery and wrote the book, “Reclaiming the Sky: 9/11 and the Untold Story of the Men and Women Who Kept America Flying.”
– which began three years ago with veterans studying at Fordham and expanded in New York and then to South Florida – is earning a national reputation for success in helping veterans translate their military strengths, including strong core values and skills, then get support to apply them in civilian jobs.
workshops, a series of three, three-hour training sessions, began Friday, Feb. 28 at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center and continue Friday, March 7 and Friday, March 28. Veterans who complete the course will earn a guaranteed interview for a summer internship with one of four companies sponsoring the Edge4Vets
program. In addition to Murphy, speakers at the kickoff event included UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan.
The initiative is being led by Covidien with support from Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Fresenius Medical Care and Haemonetics, and builds on success of an Edge4Vets
pilot offered this past summer in Boston to 25 veterans. That pilot, also a series of three workshops, prepared veterans for jobs in life sciences and succeeded in placing 30 percent of the participants, including Chris Reinke, who was hired by Covidien and is participating in the UMass Lowell workshops as a mentor.
“There is a great opportunity to marry the recruitment challenges facing the life-sciences industry with the special skill sets veterans offer,” said Michael Dunford, senior vice president of human resources at Covidien, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and the leader of the project. “Increasing accessibility to jobs and careers in life sciences is critical for veterans. Internships are valuable because they can jump start the job-search process for veterans while they’re still working to earn their degrees.”
Executives from sponsoring companies will participate as mentors during the workshops where student-veterans will be instructed in how to gain clarity on their strengths, develop confidence expressing them and make connections to build a network of contacts that can land them a job and career and the life they want once they finish their degree. Interning with a participating company could open the door for UMass Lowell student-veterans to secure a permanent job once they’ve completed their studies.
“This program will provide student-veterans with an invaluable opportunity to learn how to leverage their education and experience to find success after graduation. The workshops’ themes of clarity, confidence and connections focus on three key areas for veterans,” said Janine Wert, UMass Lowell’s director of veterans’ services.
Following the leadership offered by UMass Lowell, the goal is to offer Edge4Vets
workshops to veterans at colleges and universities throughout Massachusetts, according to Murphy.
The Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services is partnering with Edge4Vets
through its “Boots to Business” program, which will offer veterans access to mentors to continue the development they begin in Edge4Vets
. The program also is supported by the Boston Private Industry Council, which creates awareness with businesses throughout Greater Boston.
Edge4Vets is offered by the Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham University in New York. The program draws on resiliency principles reflected in the stories of 9/11 aviation heroes profiled in the book “Reclaiming the Sky” by Tom Murphy, who directs the institute. Edge4Vets was introduced for veterans studying at Fordham in 2011 and is now being offered to veterans citywide in New York. In 2013, the program was expanded to support veterans in Boston and South Florida. See more at edge4vets.org.
About UMass Lowell
UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its 17,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health and environment, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers. www.uml.edu