Private-Public Collaboration

Rutgers VETS     Rutgers NJAES      Metropolitan Reassertion Community Development Corporation     Lower Passaic River Study Area Cooperating Parties Group

The VETS program started through a unique collaboration between a number of public and private parties including Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Essex County, the Metropolitan Resurrection Community Development Corporation (MRCDC) and the Lower Passaic River Study Area Cooperating Parties Group (CPG).

Rutgers recruits and trains area veterans in need of career training and meaningful employment. Rutgers provides trainees with a thousand hours of training in a variety of areas of sustainability with a focus on the raising of fish (aquaculture) with water-based crop production (hydroponics).

The CPG funded the program including design and construction of the building refurbishment, rental of the facilities, equipment purchases, technological oversight and stipends for the 2014 and 2015 Classes.

The building, owned by the MRCDC, was refurbished with new classroom space, work areas, office space, locker rooms and new bathrooms. A greenhouse was built onsite and, in early 2015, veterans began growing hydroponic varieties of lettuce.