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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

Students Wear Moon Suits, Learn Brownfield Clean-Up at NJIT

Tromping around the classroom in oversized moon suits, a class of disadvantaged, young adults from New Jersey's inner cities has been studying this past week at NJIT how to start a career cleaning up hazardous wastes.  The program, run under the auspices of the New Jersey Youth Corps, is part of a larger four-week course of study.  It aims to put people to work, plus teach them life skills, including how to complete a high school diploma.   Recent program graduates will soon head to the Gulf of Mexico to clean up the oil spill.

(ATTENTION EDITORS:  We have terrific hi-res photos of students in the moon suits. Contact Sheryl Weinstein, 973-596-3436, for more information.)

“Learning how to work safely is the first step in the training program to help these students start a career path as environmental technicians,” said Albert Arnofsky, an environmental health and safety specialist with NJIT’s Division of Continuing Professional Education.  Arnofsky, who teaches the class, is a chemical engineer.  He says that when students finish this intensive training they will be valuable assets to New Jersey’s initiatives to recover contaminated properties and create both green properties and jobs. 

Perhaps the most exciting day for the students was learning how to put on the oxygen mask, attach the canister to their backs and step into the oversized lime green or canary yellow plastic moon suits. These outfits are typically worn to clean up contaminated properties and old buildings.

 Once suited up, the students walked around the classroom and out into the NJIT game room and bowling alley, where they played pool, even tossed a few bowling balls down the alley, wearing suits.   NJIT teachers stood nearby providing first-hand instruction on how to walk, work and move in the protective gear.  Students also learned how to function as technicians in the environmental arena.

The program is part of NJIT's ongoing mission to foster economic development at all levels throughout the state. NJIT has been offering health and safety programs like this one since 1990. New Jersey companies hire program graduates at salaries starting upwards of $25,000.  For more information about the program, contact Continuing Professional Education at NJIT (1-800-624-9850).

One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cyber-security, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $110 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com.