Corrections or additions?
This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the May 14, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Job Fair for Tool Buffs
You’re a whiz with a buzz saw, and since you lost your
job, you have been able to spend far too much time in your basement
workshop. Now could be your chance to look for a different line of
for contractor-grade woodworking tools at Lawrence Shopping Center,
2495 Business Route 1. He is staging a job fair on Saturday, May 17,
from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sunday, May 18, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Rook grew up in Levittown, where his father sold machine tools, and
trained as an accountant, serving in the United States Air Force in
England, Korea, and the southern United States from 1975 to 1993.
Then he worked in the Sears hardware department for several years
before moving to Woodworkers Warehouse. At the job fair he will also
be interviewing people for the store. And because he himself switched
from a white collar job to a hands-on job, he encourages others to
do the same. "I take anybody from a guy with an interest to
who has been in this field and got laid off," he says.
"We will not stop at just having a job fair," says Rook.
will also start a resource book for our customers looking for work
and a section for employers looking for workers." Bring plenty
of resumes with you, he suggests, and be ready to be interviewed right
away. Contractors and cabinet makers: You are invited to recruit at
the job fair, and it’s free, but register at 609-895-9200 or fax
Based in Lynn, Massachusetts, Woodworkers Warehouse opened in Lawrence
in 1998 and has other stores in Flemington, Lumberton, Edison, and
Hatboro, Pennsylvania. When asked how he competes with the Home Depots
of the world, Rook claims that the contractor who built Home Depot
shops at his store. "We have the largest tool collection,
dust collection and router bits," says Rook, citing such upscale
brands as Delta, DeWalt, Makita, Milwaukee, Bosch, and Freud. He also
offers hand tool repair and a sharpening service. The latest
tool, he says, is a $1,199 jet supersaw with miter table that slides
and has a nice miter gauge "for us older guys who can’t see as
"We’re a hangout place," says Rook, who with three full-time
and three part-time workers is open seven days. "We get homeowners
who come in with projects they have in the back of their minds that
they want to do, and we give some suggestions. Or we get a self
handyman with a problem, and we work with them to solve it."
Rook sends those with more enthusiasm than experience to Alan C.
who has a woodworking school, the Arts at ACS, at 213 Bunting Avenue
in Hamilton (609-396-9783; fax, 609-989-4777,
Founded by Siswein, who designs and makes custom furniture, the school
opened last year.
Siswein, 47, went into his father’s industrial scrap metal business
in eastern Pennsylvania and worked in that business for 26 years at
such companies as Delaware Metals in Philadelphia and Krevitz Metals
in Bensalem. Woodworking was his hobby, and he took classes at Bucks
County Community College. "A couple of friends were decorators,
knew furniture making was my hobby, and asked me if I could design
some entertainment centers," he says. "Seven years ago I
designing and making custom furniture — including solid wood,
such as tables — full time."
In Hamilton he found a suitable building that he could share with
three other woodworkers from the community college and opened ACS
Custom Design. He started the school last year: "Woodworking is
very self gratifying, but just being a woodworker, it’s tough to make
Now he holds evening classes for from three to five people in his
well-equipped shop. He and his business partner, Stephen Dellaira,
also aim to add cooking to the school’s curriculum, but at a different
These classes are not for those who want to do construction work,
he warns. "Contractors are not furniture builders. We teach how
to use hand tools, such as special saws for furniture making, how
to buy used equipment, how to sharpen it, and how to tune it."
Students in a four-week 14-hour course, costing $160, start with hand
tools and progress to power tools, and it’s OK to be a rank beginner.
"We have people in here who never touched a tool in their
says Siswein. Those more experienced are happy to work with his
tool selection, trying out tools they may have never seen before.
His competition is the vo-tech schools, but he says that most of them
"sell shop time with a little guidance. Our program is broken
down into actual classes."
Is there enough work to go around? Says Siswein: "If you are
to work for a custom shop there is work at $12 to $15 an hour for
— Barbara Fox
College acceptance letters for this year’s crop of high
school seniors have arrived, as have financial aid packages. And cries
of anguish can be heard across the land. "Financial aid awards
are falling very short this year," says
in Madison Financial Aid Consultants. She advises parents on
for paying for college and finds that overall "people have grander
expectations of getting more than they’re eligible for."
Still, even at this late date, there are smart moves that parents
can make in funding college for their children. There are dumb moves
too, moves that appear quick and easy, but that can hurt siblings’
college plans, and cause retirement to be postponed until age 102.
Ziering talks about plans and pitfalls when she gives a free seminar
on "What to Do When Financial Aid Is Not Enough" on Tuesday,
May 20, at 7 p.m. at Princeton High School. The talk is co-sponsored
by Fairleigh Dickinson University. Call 973-514-2002 for more
Ziering sometimes turns to her father for advice on complex college
funding strategies. "My father was a successful business
she says. "He put five of us through college, and I had no idea
how he paid for it." Now, when she comes up with an idea for
tuition, she runs it past him and often hears "`Yes, I did that
for you guys.’"
A graduate of the University of Miami in Coral Gables (Class of 1983),
Ziering majored in finance and went to work as a financial consultant.
In advising middle to upper middle class clients, one of the biggest
concerns she ran into was the question of how to pay for college.
It was often a greater concern than retirement, and most parents did
not know how financial aid was calculated, or, if they were not
for financial aid, how they were going to meet tuition bills. "It
became clear," she says, "that college planning was a terrific
She read all she could, attended seminars, and then, six years ago,
opened her business in Chatham (973-514-2002,
At this 15-person business, the first consultation is free, and
then pay from $250 to $1,295, depending on services rendered. She
also meets with parents in a number of temporary offices around the
state, including one in Princeton at HQ in Forrestal Village. After
seeing six years worth of students into college, while working hard
to make sure the education did not bankrupt their parents, Ziering
offers the following advice:
of options for the parents of youngsters who are heading off to
in the fall, there are even more strategies for the parents of
who are just a year or two into high school. One of the best, which
has perhaps the most potential to reduce college bills — sometimes
to zero, is the one Ziering’s babysitter used.
An excellent student, she applied to Duke, the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill, Northwestern University, Tulane, and the
University of Rhode Island. All accepted her. She knew that graduate
school was in her future, and researched acceptance rates from all
of the schools at which she had been accepted to the graduate schools
she wanted to attend. She discovered that the rates were about equal.
Then she weighed financial aid packages. The University of Rhode
in its offer, told her, Ziering paraphrases, "You will raise the
bar for our students. We will pay full tuition." Her babysitter
decided to take the school up on its offer.
"I was so proud of her," says Ziering. She finds that most
students, and most parents, strive mightily for the most prestigious
school possible. "A lot of parents will go to any lengths and
pay any price," she says. But, she points out that in most cases
the prestigious school will not enhance opportunities later in life.
"Did all the professors at Harvard go to Harvard?" she asks.
She does admit that a handful of the absolutely most prestigious
confer contacts that are often worth the price of admission, but she
says the number of such schools is small. She also says that a small
percentage of students are so vastly superior to the rest of the pack
that the most prestigious schools will compete for them, dangling
generous financial aid packages.
students, Ziering insists, a first-class strategy is to consider
at which they will shine. Schools that are so eager to have them will
offer big packages. If graduate school is a goal, and these schools
send students to top graduate schools, such a decision could well
be a slam dunk, and one that could save the parents’ retirement nest
Are parents — and their striving children — willing to listen
to talk of passing on four full-tuition years at Princeton to attend
State U. on a full scholarship? Not if planning is put off until
year, Ziering finds. By then, the goal of prestige at any price has
hardened into an obsession. "After the process has begun, they
do not hear," she says, "but if they get the information
they are more accepting."
Most students, Ziering says, "pick schools haphazardly." They
may have a friend whose brother went to a school or the school may
have a "cool" reputation in his high school. Furthermore,
she says that guidance counselors often do not take cost into account
when recommending schools. It is not uncommon that they are driven
by a desire to get as many of the school’s students as possible into
the most prestigious schools. It may be up to the high schooler, and
his parents, to factor cost into the decision — and to do so
help children to qualify for larger financial aid packages. Here,
entrepreneurial parents may have an edge. Ziering says there are any
number of ways in which families that own businesses can take
of perfectly legal accounting and tax strategies to up the amount
of financial aid for which they are eligible. They can also put their
child on the payroll, having him, for example, program computers,
make deliveries, or work on marketing campaigns. Advantages include
the fact that the youngster’s earnings are taxed at a low rate.
Even wage-slave families can take advantage of this strategy, paying
children to network the household computers, cut the grass, or care
for younger children during the summer.
money to children in the form of payment for work done is a good idea,
Ziering says that maintaining large college savings accounts in their
names is generally a bad idea. "This is very common, and it is
an error," she states. This is so because financial aid formulas
demand that the student use a higher percentage of his assets to pay
for tuition than his parents need to. In most cases, Ziering
liquidating children’s college funds and repositioning the money,
possibly in such a way that it is paid out over time.
the time to look into financial strategies to best position this
as well as other assets. What is not worth a great deal of time, in
Ziering’s opinion, is hunting among the hundreds of small scholarships
offered by a wide range of organizations. "It just won’t make
much of a difference," she says. Besides, the scholarships will
reduce the money the college will give in the form of financial aid.
packages in, and the full realization that college is going to cost
a lot of money — a huge number of after-tax dollars — sinking
in, many parents are going in to what Ziering terms "crisis
The first move? The intuitive solution? Mortgage the house. Once
Ziering goes against conventional wisdom. "Taking out a home
loan is a frequent recommendation," she says, "but I never
suggest taking on debt without a clear and decisive plan for paying
Among the dangers is that all the money will go straight to the oldest
child’s tuition. "What if you have three children?" Ziering
posits. "What do you do for the other two?"
Even if there is only one child, and if the family believes that
back the loan will not be a problem, Ziering says that any cash from
a home equity loan should be carefully positioned, perhaps in a
product that dispenses money in incremental stages.
to dispute financial aid offers. This can be done not only before
freshman year, but also throughout the student’s college years. Should
a family need to assume the care of an elderly relative, for example,
or should a parent suffer health problems or lose a job, the award
could be adjusted.
the interest on the loans, Ziering points out, but parents typically
can deduct only a certain portion.
tuition and retirement savings as two trains, barreling down the
one just a little behind the other. Taking an eye off the cash flow
required for a comfortable retirement is a bad idea, particularly
since there are more options for funding college at a late date than
there are for funding retirement at a late date. Or, as Ziering points
out, "You can borrow for college, but you can’t borrow for
Downsizing follows a down economy as surely as
allergy attacks follow the first pollen bursts of the spring. Along
with downsizings come severance issues. Surprisingly, a new study
by Right Management Consultants finds that U.S. companies have an
easier time casting off employees they can no longer afford than do
their counterparts in many other countries.
office, speaks on "Benchmarking Severance Plans: What Other
Are Doing" at a seminar that is part of the Employers Association
of New Jersey’s 87th annual membership meeting on Tuesday, May 20,
at 9:30 a.m. at the Somerset Marriott. Other seminars are "Firm
but Fair: Evaluating Job Performance" by
EANJ, and "Can I Make an At-Will Termination?" by John Sarno
of EANJ. Cost: $100. Call 973-758-6800 for more information.
Paradise, a New Jersey native, studied art history at Rutgers (Class
of 1983). Before joining Right, a 2,000-person HR consulting and
transition firm, she worked in business development centering on
property issues for Ford, Pepsico, and Kawasaki, and she developed
a sales learning approach for AT&T Solutions.
In its recent study, Right polled HR executives in 33 countries about
their severance practices. Fifteen hundred executives, 819 of them
representing organizations in the United States or Canada, returned
Paradise says the biggest trend the study uncovered is that there
are substantial legal constraints on termination. Surprisingly, the
United States, a country most often thought of as litigious and highly
regulated, has side stepped this global trend. In the United States,
says Paradise, only two percent of respondents cited legal constraints
as being significant in lay-off decisions. The top legal constraint
cited was the need to provide advance notice of lay-offs to affected
individuals, the government, and unions.
Half of the study’s respondents said that their organizations have
formal, written severance policies. Thirty-four percent have informal,
unwritten policies, while 15 percent have no policies. In the United
States, 58 percent of respondents claimed formal policies, while in
Japan the number jumps to 91 percent. Japan’s statistic reflects an
important factor in whether or not a company formalizes its severance
policies — the legal climate. Another important factor, says
is the maturity of the company. In other words, one would expect to
find detailed procedures at General Motors, but possibly not at
Mom and Pop Discount Auto Sales.
As for the manner in which severance is paid, the Right study found
that the vast majority of companies prefer a single, one-time payment,
while 19 percent pay severed employees over time. Just eight percent
of all respondents reported that their organizations make supplemental
payments to former employees who don’t find another job. Typically,
says Paradise, these generous employers are based in Europe or in
While full-time employees nearly always qualify for some severance
payment, 58 percent of respondents report that their organizations
make payments to part-time employees as well. Sixty percent of
report that medical benefits are provided to severed employees at
Around the globe, about two-thirds of all employers require that their
former employees sign a release before any money, benefits, or
services begin to flow. But in the United States that number jumps
to 80 percent, and it goes even higher in Canada.
With corporations operating around the globe, a knowledge of the way
severance is handled in other countries becomes vital. Right’s survey
points out, for example, that:
is considered unjust, harsh, or unreasonable. Economic justification
will be considered and reviewed, and a six-month due to illness is
and they must be given notice according to common law as it relates
to severance, a contract might state six months and the employer may
be ordered to extend it for six more months if the contract did not
clearly state the reason for termination.
contract the same as one with a long-term employment contract without
an expiration date.
implementation of an early retirement program is the most practical
way to terminate employees. In order to accelerate voluntary
companies have to make significant additional payments, triggering
possible cash restraints.
a big one is that some companies are extending the time for which
they pay for ex-employees’ outplacement services. The reason, not
surprisingly, is that "it’s taking longer to land a new job."
<d>Sherry Anderson is a green — but with gold
underpinnings. She has been with the Girl Scouts as a staff member
for 16 years. For the 15 previous years she was a Girl Scout
and she spent seven years of her childhood in a Girl Scout uniform.
That’s a lot of green, but there’s more. Administering True Colors,
a personality assessment program similar to the Myers-Briggs test
that uses colors as classification tool, she quickly discovered that
she was a "gold."
Anderson is associate executive director, membership and adult
for the Girl Scouts of Delaware Raritan, covering Mercer and Middlesex
counties (732-821-9090, www.gsofdr.org). She leads the Central Jersey
Women’s Network in a True Colors program on Tuesday, May 20, at 6
p.m. at the Radisson Hotel in Princeton. Cost: $35. Call 908-281-9234
for more information.
Anderson grew up in Hamilton, and lives in a Victorian home in
with her husband, Steve Anderson, who makes cabinets and fine
She says she has lived "within a five mile radius" all of
her life. Her husband has stayed even closer to home. He was born
in Dr. Farmer’s Hospital in Allentown, and is now talking about
Anderson doubts that his heart is in it, though. "He has a sign
in his shop," she recounts. "It says `find a job you like
and never work another day in your life’."
Anderson is not even talking about retirement. "I started
for the Girl Scouts) when my daughter was a Brownie," she says.
"I was having so much fun that I just stayed on. Then a job came
open. I love it."
She devotes much of her time to the Girl Scouts’ adult education
Adult education? Yes indeed. Anderson reports that her council alone
counts 5,600 adult volunteers. Her division teaches them everything
from CPR and camping skills to leadership and conflict resolution
to best practices in working with a diverse group of girls. Some of
the training is required and some is optional.
The True Colors program, which was not developed by the Girl Scouts,
but rather is a product of a private California-based company, falls
under diversity training. "We recognize every girl’s
says Anderson, "their culture, family, religion, ethnicity. We
make leaders aware of all of those things." In addition to more
obvious differences, the girls have different learning styles, and
some learn more quickly than others. Each learning pattern must be
While True Colors helps leaders understand the personality differences
underlying the girls’ approach to tasks and their interactions, it
also promotes understanding among staff members and volunteers, and
would be an ideal tool in a company setting.
An advantage it has over other personality assessment tools is that
it is so fast and easy to get it going. Anderson explains that each
member of the group taking part in a True Colors assessment is given
four cards, each with pictures on the front and a list of
on the back. Participants rank themselves from one to four — least
like me, most like me — on each characteristic to see whether
they are "green," "gold," "orange," or
Greens are analytical and logical; golds are organized, and love to
make lists; oranges are impulsive, and just want to have fun; blues
are emotional, and more concerned with feelings.
Sometimes True Colors have trouble sorting themselves out. This is
to be expected, says Anderson, explaining that few people are pure
gold or blue. And it’s a good thing, too. "Colors taken to the
extreme are dysfunctional," she says. But everyone has to pick
a dominant color. With the sorting in progress, each color sits around
a table with others of its kind. Often, this phase resembles a reunion
of long-lost relatives, who may quickly, and gleefully, agree that
"We hate oranges!"
Other times, more sorting out is in order. Anderson, a warm,
person despite the fact that she says "blue is my weakest
leads the process. "I’ll ask what would you do if you won the
lottery?" she says, chuckling at how predictable the responses
are. Golds invariably say they would put the money away, for example,
while oranges say they would immediately embark on a big vacation
Another telling question: What kind of car would you buy if money
were not an object? The oranges are torn between cool all-terrain
vehicles and sports cars, while the golds want something, says
that is "pretty sturdy, good quality, reliable." The blues,
who relish relationships, invariably opt for minivans. And how about
the greens? "They have trouble making a decision," says
These are the folks who closet themselves with stacks of Consumer
Reports and spend hours reading car reviews and checking crash test
While it is undeniably great fun to take part in a True Colors
just how useful is it? Listening to Anderson tick off examples of
True Colors in action, it is striking that such a simple program
to be able to enhance group functioning so much.
"I have to think about that when I work with blues. I try to give
more compliments." She might also reward good work by blues with
a personal item, while the golds on her staff, the organized group
that is less concerned with personal relationships, might be just
as happy with a note praising good performance.
while the fun-loving oranges would just as soon get their information
on the fly. An orange with a green boss might do well to present
in a folder rather than try to get it across while whizzing by on
the way to a long lunch.
Likewise, the green boss might do well to think of sparing an orange
staff the agony of sitting still through lengthy meetings.
His report might well be more thorough than the one an orange would
turn in, but it might not be ready as quickly.
program is the reminder it brings that people — and even whole
departments — do work differently. While diversity programs often
focus on ethnic differences, these often pale next to ways of
life and work that are determined at birth, honed throughout life,
and very difficult to change.
will become so much easier — at home and at work. Anderson’s
proves the point. "My daughter is an orange," says the gold.
"We had a lot of conflicts when she was a teenager."
But now, the orange daughter is a mother herself, and looking forward
to becoming a Girl Scout volunteer in the fall when her four-year-old
daughter becomes a Girl Scout, and adds just
in the organizational stages of establishing the New Jersey Gun Safety
Foundation (NJGSF). Because firearms have remained virtually
in recent years, the NJGSF will be committed to providing programs
to reduce the growing number of firearms deaths and injuries.
Halberd Match Consulting has developed "smart gun technology,"
personalized guns that can be fired only by their intended owners,
thereby reducing unintended gun injury (U.S. 1, January 2). The NJGSF
will actively promote such technology through litigation, legislation,
and public education efforts. Other program priorities include
efforts by state-based groups as well as restricting gun access among
youth and other high-risk users.
The NJGSF will also be engaged in research spanning topics such as
"Guns as Consumer Products," "Restriction of Gun Access
among Youth," and "Technology for Safer Guns." Shpuntov
is looking for financial contributions to spearhead the foundation.
Mercer Street Friends Food Cooperative has received
$1,660 collected at area ShopRite stores during special anti-hunger
events. ShopRite selected Mercer Street Friends as the recipient of
its anti-hunger initiative because of its central role in fighting
hunger in central New Jersey.
"The money comes at a crucial time for the hungry in central New
co-op. "Our food bank is facing a tremendous strain and we are
stretching our physical and manpower resources to distribute even
more food for the thousands of people coming to food pantries and
The regional food bank distributes more than 100,000 pounds of food
each month from its Lawrenceville warehouse, meeting the needs
of 15,000 people, up from 10,000 a month just 18 months ago.
"For the past year or so," says Stoolmacher, "food
and meal sites have expressed a widespread and deepening concern about
the rising number of people coming to them for food baskets or meals.
Some agencies have reported a 40 percent increase in the need for
Hamilton hosted a Prom Dress Drive.
The goal was to collect 100 prom dresses for needy teens facing an
expensive rite of passage. Instead, the drive pulled in more than
200 prom dresses, which were sent to Tender Hearts, where girls can
choose from among them.
Prom dresses, typically worn just once, can cost $300 or more, and
many teens cannot afford to purchase one. For that reason, Wild Oats
came up with the idea of a prom dress drive. For more information
benefit, Spring Sensations, held on April 5 at the Doral Forrestal,
raised $160,000 for autism intervention programs. Sponsors included
facilities thanks to
(Class of 1942), whose $1.25 million gift has funded a complete
of the 79-year-old chemistry building on the Douglass campus.
The restored building, renamed the Regina Best Heldrich Science
was unveiled on Friday, April 25.
of CancerCare’s Greater Mercer Area board. Also joining the board
are Richard Anderson of
practicing in Lawrenceville, and Dr. Michael Kane of the Cancer
of New Jersey.
Somerville is a vice president, senior financial advisor, wealth
advisor, and certified financial manager at Merrill Lynch. He has
worked for the company for over 20 years. A Princeton resident,
has worked with CancerCare for three years.
The largest non-profit of its kind, CancerCare provides free
services, including counseling, education, financial assistance, and
practical help to people of all ages, with all types of cancer, and
at any stage of the disease. For more information, call 800-813-4673
or visit www.cancercare.org.
Unemployed workers can now use the Internet to claim
their continued unemployment benefits. The website address is
The online process for filing a claim is similar to the paper and
pen process. If the user is eligible, he or she is advised of the
amount of the check to be issued.
The Internet application for continued benefits is available Monday
through Friday, including holidays, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Anyone
to claim benefits on the Internet must file on their
reporting date. Anyone missing an assigned reporting date should file
on the Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday immediately following that
to offer 90-minute workshops dealing with women’s issues on Saturday,
October 18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Bucks County Community College.
The event is hosted by the Bucks County Community College. Call
Corrections or additions?
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