Fighting the Opioid Epidemic, SMLR Launches the Nation's First Apprenticeship for Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (December 12, 2017) – The New Jersey Healthcare Talent Development Center at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) will receive $1.3 million in state funding to launch the nation’s first-ever apprenticeship program for Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors, an important step in New Jersey’s ongoing efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.

Governor Chris Christie, Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Aaron Fichtner, Rutgers President Robert Barchi, and Rutgers SMLR Interim Dean Adrienne Eaton made the announcement Tuesday at the Livingston Student Center on the campus of Rutgers University—New Brunswick.


Gov. Chris Christie joins Rutgers
President Robert Barchi for the announcement
Tuesday at the Livingston Student Center
at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.
(Photo: Amanda Brown)

“From research to treatment to recovery, Rutgers is engaged in the fight against opioid addiction on many fronts,” said Rutgers President Robert Barchi, “and we are gratified that the State of New Jersey is now calling on our expertise to provide innovative training for critically needed Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors.”

The apprenticeship will consist of 270 hours of free classroom instruction at Rutgers and 3,100 hours of paid on-the-job training with a participating healthcare employer. Apprentices will learn the science of addiction; counseling techniques; crisis intervention; case management; addiction recovery; and related topics while mastering the 45 state-mandated core competencies. The Rutgers Center for Alcohol Studies, Rutgers University Behavioral Healthcare, and the Wellspring Center for Prevention will assist with training and hiring.

The grant will enable Rutgers and its employer partners to train approximately 200 New Jerseyans to become Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors (CADC) in 2018. While Rutgers and other institutions have offered CADC training over the years, this is the first time it will be delivered as an earn-while-you-learn apprenticeship program.


Journalists, special guests, and SMLR
faculty and staff attend the press conference
Tuesday at the Livingston Student
Center at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.
(Photo: Amanda Brown)

“An apprenticeship is structured to provide clear benchmarks and more rigorous oversight than other training models, which leads to better outcomes,” said Dr. Padma Arvind, Professor of Professional Practice and Executive Director of the New Jersey Healthcare Talent Development Center at Rutgers SMLR. “Our apprentices will learn to spot the warning signs of addiction and provide frontline counseling services to individuals in need of treatment.”

Apprentices who successfully complete the program and pass the state certification exam will be qualified to work as Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors in addiction treatment centers, community health centers, hospitals, and other direct care settings in New Jersey. This fills a critical need in the healthcare industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the employment of substance abuse and behavioral counselors will grow 20 percent from 2016 to 2026 – much faster than the average for all occupations.

Today’s announcement expands a successful pilot program, announced by Governor Christie earlier this year, in which the New Jersey Healthcare Talent Development Center at Rutgers SMLR is providing CADC training to ten case managers at Homeless Solutions in Morristown and the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris Counties. With these new skills, the case managers are better able to assist shelter residents who are struggling with addiction.

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has awarded more than $4 million in grants to the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations in 2017 to create and administer a diverse set of healthcare apprenticeships, including:

  • $1.3 million for the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor apprenticeship program;
  • $1.2 million to renew the New Jersey Healthcare Talent Development Center (video), training community health workers, certified home health aides, certified nursing assistants, medical lab technicians, and paramedics;
  • $1.2 million to create the New Jersey Life Sciences Talent Development Center, training drug safety/pharmacovigilance specialists, lab technicians, clinical lab technicians, clinical research assistants, and dental lab technicians— including a new Digital Dentistry Certificate offered in partnership with the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences;
  • $300,00 to provide specialized training that will enable certified nursing assistants to become licensed practical nurses (LPN) and registered nurses (RN); and
  • $250,000 to support the New Jersey Healthcare Talent Network, which helps to identify and fill workforce gaps within the state’s healthcare industry.

New Jersey’s Talent Development Centers are part of the ‘65 by 25: Many Paths, One Future’ initiative, working to build a skilled, competitive workforce by helping New Jerseyans find pathways to careers.

General Contact
For information about eligibility requirements and how to sign up for the apprenticeship program, please email njhctn@smlr.rutgers.edu.

Press Contact
Steve Flamisch, Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations
848.252.9011 (cell), steve.flamisch@smlr.rutgers.edu
 
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