LOWELL, Mass. – A career-building program that helps student-veterans land jobs will host former participants on Tuesday, Aug. 5 at UMass Lowell, where they will share their success stories with their peers.
The Edge4Vets workshop series takes participants from boots-on-the-ground experiences to business-suit opportunities by helping them translate their military strengths into tools for the civilian workplace. In February, UMass Lowell became the first university in Massachusetts to offer the program to its student-veterans. Since then, more than half of the UMass Lowell student-veterans who have completed Edge4Vets training have been hired for jobs or have held internships in the life sciences field, one of Massachusetts fastest-growing industries.
Serving as Edge4Vets mentors throughout the program are professionals from companies such as Covidien, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Fresenius Medical Care and Thermo Fisher Scientific. They represent the Edge4Vets sponsors who help participants assess their skills, develop confidence and make connections for internship and job interviews.
UMass Lowell student-veterans working at Covidien, Fresenius Medical Care and John Galt Staffing Inc., as a result of their Edge4Vets participation will share their stories on Tuesday, Aug. 5 during a session of the latest round of training, which will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, 50 Warren St., Lowell.
“The Edge4Vets workshops give student-veterans a chance to hone their skills, refine their resumes and collaborate with professionals from the business world. That’s why participants find this program so valuable,” said Janine Wert, director of UMass Lowell’s Office of Veterans Services
In just five months, Edge4Vets has become so popular at UMass Lowell that the university is offering the workshops to 20 more student-veterans this summer. Plans call for expanding the program’s enrollment to 50 to 75 people in October, adding professional mentors from more industries and opening the classes to participants from other colleges and universities from across Massachusetts.
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. The university is also home to an award-winning ROTC unit and active student-veterans’ organization.
“Edge4Vets helps veterans do what businesses say they must do to succeed, and that is to translate their military skills into tools for civilian success,” said Tom Murphy, founder of Edge4Vets and director of the Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham University.
An employee-training expert, Murphy is the author of “Reclaiming the Sky: 9/11 and the Untold Story of the Men and Woman who Kept America Flying,” which focuses on the on-the-job courage of aviation workers on that day and beyond. The lessons Murphy learned as a result of his own experiences and writing the book led him to develop Edge4Vets. Since it began in 2011, the program has assisted hundreds of veterans in New York, Florida and now Massachusetts.
The special skill sets veterans offer help meet the recruitment challenges facing industry and jumpstarting the job-search process for student-veterans while they’re still earning their degrees is critical, according to Mike Dunford, senior vice president of human resources at Covidien, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and leader of the Edge4Vets program in the Commonwealth.
The Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services works with Edge4Vets to match participants with mentors who help them continue their professional development beyond the workshop series. The program is also supported by the Boston Private Industry Council.
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, 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