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

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

State grant will enable Rutgers to train approximately 200 new counselors

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, 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.”
 
– President Robert Barchi

Media Contact
Steve Flamisch
848-252-9011

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.

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

“From research to treatment to recovery, Rutgers is engaged in the fight against opioid addiction on many fronts,” said President 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 health care 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 of Alcohol Studies, Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care, 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.

“An apprenticeship is structured to provide clear benchmarks and more rigorous oversight than other training models, which leads to better outcomes,” said Padma Arvind, professor of professional practice and executive director of the New Jersey Healthcare Talent Development Center at 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.

The announcement expands a successful pilot program, announced by Governor Christie earlier this year, in which the New Jersey Healthcare Talent Development Center at SMLR is providing CADC training to 10 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 health care 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) 
  • $250,000 to support the New Jersey Healthcare Talent Network, which helps to identify and fill workforce gaps within the state’s health care 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.

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

About SMLR 

The Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations is the world’s leading source of expertise on managing and representing workers, designing effective organizations and building strong employment relationships.  

Media Contact
Steve Flamisch
848-252-9011