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This article was prepared for the January 15, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Between the Lines

Last week’s cover story, headlined "Trainers’ Taj

Mahal," covered Mercer County Community College’s new $10 million

convention center. Not only will it house the non-credit courses and

training opportunities that Mercer offers, but it can also be rented

out for conventions and seminars.

The headline drew a heated response from Ken Foxton, who has his own

training business, New Horizons, with offices at Canal Pointe and

in Pennsylvania:

I JUST FINISHED reading the front page article on the MCCC training

center.It was informative to learn about MCCC’s and some of the other

conference centers in the area that offer room rentals and what you

get for your money. I was disappointed that your article did not mention

the other training centers in the area that this state-funded center

will compete with and what they have to offer businesses and individuals.

We are all working towards a better educated workforce and there is

more than one option available.

I would hope in the future such articles will encompass all of the

players in a particular industry.

Kenneth L. Foxton

President, New Horizons CLC

Foxton has a good point. For-profit companies often feel as

if the playing field is not level when they have to compete with the

not-for-profit organizations. To take just one example, health clubs

often resent the low fees made available by the YMCAs and YWCAs who

not only don’t pay taxes but can attract volunteer help. Similarly,

New Horizons teaches the very same courses that the community college

offers for both credit and noncredit. The credit courses get government

subsidies, and the noncredit courses are self supporting. Yet often

they are less expensive than those from a commercial firm, such as

New Horizons or other for-profit competitors like Chubb and DeVry.

We at U.S. 1 Newspaper sometimes feel the same way, because we too

have competition from not-for-profits — the chamber and trade

association magazines and directories.

That’s one of the reasons why we make a special effort to include

the for-profit competitors. We did that with the "Trainers’ Taj

Mahal" issue. We sent our photographer to take a picture of a

for-profit Ramada Inn’s National Conference Center in East Windsor.

We chose this one because it has just re-opened after a major renovation.

We also called each and every conference center in the vicinity, from

the non-profit Vincentian center on Mapleton Road to the new Lafayette

Yard Marriott to the Doral Forrestal on College Road, asking for rates

and details. This four-page list is more than a solace to our conscience

— it is a useful tool for anyone who is even thinking about holding

a a conference.

Unfortunately for Foxton and others in his field, the article focused

on conference centers, not trainers. The next time we do a big training

story, we hope he will send us information on his courses.

And in the meantime, the for-profit businesses can effectively compete

with the non-profits — whether by being more convenient, more

client oriented, or just plain better. Here at U.S. 1, we still still

think that competition is healthy.

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