Mitigate Merger Madness

Stamping Out Sexual Harassment

Entrepreneurial Training Institute

Grant Application Deadline Nears

Tuition Help

Corrections or additions?

These articles by Kathy Spring were prepared for the September 10,

2003 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Red Cross Disaster Training: Ivan Walks

<B>Dr. Ivan Walks, who headed the District of

Columbia’s

health department during the incomparably horrible September of 2001,

is not a big fan of duct tape as a disaster preparedness tool. But,

interestingly, while he chuckles over the tape solution, Walks, who

now heads up his own disaster preparedness consulting firm, says 1950s

bomb drills, which had children crouching under desks to save

themselves

from radiation, were a pretty good idea.

Walks, a smart, funny man whose common sense view of disaster

preparedness

is uncommonly calming, gives the keynote address at the Red Cross’s

"Disaster Preparedness and Business Continuity Conference"

on Wednesday, September 17, at 8:15 a.m. at the Westin hotel in

Forrestal

Village. The cost for the event, which also features a number of other

speakers, is $175.

"I grew up in Southern California," says Walks. In that part

of the country, disasters — most commonly in the form of

earthquakes,

but also mud slides, rock slides, and wild fires — are common.

He, therefore, became familiar with disaster preparedness as a young

child.

"On the first day of school, we all brought a shoe box," he

recounts. "We put in our favorite non-perishable food —

Twinkies

were big — and a sealed letter from mom or dad." In the

letters,

he says, parents would write something like "`Ivan, I know

something

is happening. We’ll come and get you as soon as we can. Don’t

worry.’"

The boxes were piled into a corner, where they were on full view all

year, but the children rarely gave them a thought. That, says Walks,

is how disaster preparedness should work. A specific, concrete plan

should be in place, everyone should know about it, but it should not

cast a dark shadow.

Walks’ father, a Presbyterian minister, and his mother, a school

principal,

made education and social responsibility the twin pillars of family

life. "My father had a small church," Walks recalls, "but

he had day care, Head Start, a jobs program, and a health clinic."

Walks, who emigrated from Guyana with his parents as a young child,

is one of seven siblings — "we all have college degrees,"

he says. Surrounded by family in his early years, Walks has kept up

the tradition. In fact, the large, extended family in which he now

lives was, in a sense, started by his mother. "She introduced

my wife and me," he recounts. "She said `I met this girl,

and you have to meet her.’"

It turns out that his mother and his wife, Dawn Walks, a consultant

who holds a Ph.D. in education policy, attended the same private

school

in Georgetown, Guyana. Every few years, reunions are held for all

students, no matter what their year of graduation. The two women met

at a reunion, and Walks’ mother decided then and there that Dawn would

be the perfect wife for her son.

"My parents have been married forever," says Walks. "My

dad told me, `I always wanted a woman who loved me, but didn’t need

me.’" His father found those qualities in his mother, and says

Walks, his mother saw them in Dawn. The two now live outside of

Washington,

D.C. Their household includes their three children, Dawn’s parents,

and the two children of her brother, who recently died of cancer.

Walks’ oldest daughter is in medical school at UCLA, where he

completed

his own advanced medical training. He earned his M.D. from the

University

of California at Davis. And where did he earn his bachelor’s degree?

"I didn’t," says Walks, as he launches into a story.

"When I was being considered for the job with the District of

Columbia," he says, "my interviewer discovered that I didn’t

have a bachelor’s degree." Excited to have uncovered a potential

scandal, the interviewer called his medical school with the news.

"She got the dean on the phone," Walks recounts. "He said

`only the brightest and the best are admitted without a degree.’"

It is a mark of Walks’ confidence, and of his charm, that he tells

the story with humor, but without a trace of arrogance.

Walks indeed landed the job as the chief health officer of the

District

and as director of its Department of Health. Despite being a fan of

Tom Clancy books, one of which, he says, has a plot eerily similar

to the events of September 11, Walks could not have known that he

was accepting a normally low-profile job at a time when unprecedented

disasters were just around the corner.

The first was the crash of a terrorist-piloted plane into the

Pentagon.

Like so many other people, Walks was personally touched by the

tragedy.

"I had a good friend on that plane," he says. Unlike most

other people, Walks had to protect the physical well-being of the

residents of the District.

"On September 11, I was at work in the same building as the

headquarters

of the D.C. school board," he says. "It was chaotic. We didn’t

have a lot of direction." One decision he did help to make was

to keep the schools open. In a way, the reasoning for this decision

went back to his shoe box days in disaster-prone California. "It’s

really much better that the schools stay open," he says. "It

was a key decision."

Keeping the children in school helped to reduce the gridlock that

would have been caused by parents rushing to school buildings. It

also allowed parents who were needed at work to stay there, and to

concentrate on the many vital tasks at hand with at least some peace

of mind as regards their children’s whereabouts and safety.

The District got through September 11, but was soon knocked down by

an even sneakier sneak attack — and a much more nebulous one —

when anthrax made a high-profile appearance on Capitol Hill, and a

low-profile, deadly appearance in the area’s main post office.

Walks says he and his department did some things right in that

disaster,

but also made some mistakes, and that the mistakes had lethal

consequences.

On September 24, Walks sent official memos to hospitals in and all

around the District describing the symptoms of anthrax, small pox,

and e-bola, the type of diseases that he thought terrorists might

try to spread. He asked that the hospitals call his office if anyone

with suspicious symptoms arrived at their doors.

"The first verified case in the D.C. area was in Virginia,"

Walks says. "The hospital called us because we had asked them

to." His conclusion: It’s vital to be proactive.

At the same time, Walks freely faults himself for

missing

the danger to the District’s postal workers.

Before anthrax arrived in Washington, D.C., it had struck at a tabloid

newspaper in Florida. There, a journalist opened an envelope

containing

the substance, became ill, and died. But there had been no reports

of illness among the postal workers who must have handled the letter.

"It was a case where we knew too much," says Walks. "You

can know too little, but you can also know too much." Using the

Florida incident as a model, health officials in Washington, D.C.,

rushed to screen, protect, and treat anyone who might have been nearby

when one of the letters sent to Capitol Hill were opened.

The subsequent scramble to protect the powerful, and their staffs,

received no end of media attention. Meanwhile, postal workers were

largely ignored. When several became ill, and two died, the situation

quickly became ugly.

"It broke down along race lines," says Walks. "Race and

class." There was an assumption that Congressmen were treated

aggressively — probably too aggressively — while the largely

black, relatively poorly paid postal workers were given short shrift.

Because of their race and class, their lives were less important.

Walks disputes that line of thinking, but does not duck

responsibility.

"You get stuck thinking you know more than you know," he says.

"No one thought the post office workers were at risk. When they

began to get ill, then everybody looked really stupid." Walks

includes himself in "everybody."

"I said `You idiot! You’re a scientist. You know spores are

smaller

than the envelope.’"

In meetings with letter carriers, Walks assured them that "it

wasn’t that you guys were dismissed because of race. No one knew."

Further, he let the postal workers know that their postmaster, a

powerful

white man, had been in the back room at the Brentwood facility, the

site of greatest contamination, after it was known that the

contaminated

letters had passed through there.

"It was a big mistake, but in hindsight, who knew?" says

Walks.

The challenge now, he says, is to assess what can be done differently

in the future. That, in essence, is the business of his company,

D.C.-based

Ivan Walks and Associates (www.ivanwalks.com). Major clients

include

computer giant Oracle and E-Team, a prominent crisis management

software

company. Walks works with clients and lectures and writes on the

subject

of how to prepare for crises of all sorts. His down-to-earth advice

includes:

Don’t tape the duck. At a time when duct tape was making

appearances on all the major morning talk shows, evening news

broadcasts,

and late-night comedy programs, Walks attended a microbiology

conference.

"All of the participants were given stuffed ducks," he

recalls.

"They had all been wrapped up in duct tape." The props were

an introduction to a talk on "What do you do now that your duck

is taped?"

"I like Tom Ridge," says Walks, referring to the Homeland

Security chief, the man who first floated the idea of duct tape as

a first line of defense in case of attack. But he doesn’t think much

of instructing an anxious nation to run out and buy fat rolls of

sticky

grey tape.

Neither is he impressed by color-coded warnings that an unnamed

something

could soon happen somewhere.

<B>Create a plan. Here is where the Cold War era

civil defense drills come in. Boomers like to laugh at the drills

that had them diving under their school desks to practice readiness

for nuclear attack, but Walks says the drills were not as crazy as

they now look. No, a half-inch-thick wooden desk top would not keep

out radiation, but getting kids under them, in his opinion, could

save lives.

In a crisis, any crisis, he explains, you do not want people running

all over the place. You want them where they are not in the way —

not hindering rescue efforts. And you want them where they can easily

be accounted for, and led on to the next step.

Children who had been drilled in both the desk diving routine and

in how to line up for a fire drill were children who could easily

have been led to safety, if not in a direct nuclear attack, then in

far more common crises, such as hurricanes, fires, or attacks by a

random maniac.

Do something, almost anything, constructive. The same

is true for adults. Groups of employees who practice an evacuation

routine are more likely to be able to help one another get to safety.

Besides, says Walks, just being able to swing into action, just having

assigned tasks to carry out in case of a disaster, creates calm in

the troops.

Be a responsible employer. As if they didn’t have enough

on their plates, employers are now being asked to be the first line

of protection for the entire community. Many, says Walks, are taking

their responsibility seriously. Ways employers of any size can make

a difference include encouraging their workers to prepare a crisis

plan for their families and helping workers to draw up alternative

ways to get home if mass transit is down or roads are closed.

While employers are helping their employees, they are also helping

themselves. Workers who know that they can get in touch with family

members quickly in an emergency, and have a pre-designated place to

meet them, are more likely to be able to keep their minds on widgets

and budgets in uncertain times.

Find and stock a safe room. Large employers, says Walks,

are looking throughout their facilities for a room that could house

their employees in case of an emergency. The ideal room, he says,

would be a large one with no windows in an interior space. Once

identified,

the room should be stocked with water, non-perishable food, and

battery-powered

communications devices, perhaps including a computer, a radio, and

a television.

Designate captains. A safe room is no good if employees

don’t know where it is, or how to get to it. Identify calm,

responsible

employees and give each one responsibility for accounting for

co-workers

on their floor, or even those on one section of a large floor, and

leading them to the safe room, or through an evacuation procedure.

Stay healthy. When he took charge of Washington, D.C.’s,

health department, Walks found that fully 40,000 of the District’s

school children had not received their immunizations. He launched

a publicity campaign aimed at getting that number down to zero. Using

print and broadcast media, he informed parents that it was "No

shots, No school." By the time that he left office there were

just four children who had not yet received all of their vaccinations.

To his mind, this program was disaster preparedness, and very possibly

the best kind of disaster preparedness. "What if some really vile

terrorist decided to make the children sick?" he asks. So many

unvaccinated youngsters would make a city an easy target. And once

the children were sick, the parents would become ineffective workers.

"I have an eight-year-old and a four-year-old," he says.

"When

they’re sick, I either don’t come to work, or can’t concentrate at

work." Multiplied across the workforce, the effect of such an

attack could be devastating on a number of levels, including business

continuity, an area which he says is not getting enough attention.

While children need their vaccinations, adults need to move fitness

to the top of their list of priorities. A strong immune system, Walks

points out, is the best defense in a time of unusual stress and of

crises of all kinds. Fit individuals are in a good position to ward

off at least some of the effects of some kinds of biological attacks.

And as we saw just a few weeks ago, they are much better able to walk

home in case of a black-out.

The best preparedness is like the stack of shoe boxes in Walks’

childhood classrooms. Because the stack was the result of a

coordinated,

well-communicated plan, it showed that there is no room for

complacency,

a danger he sees creeping up on us just two years after the

unparalleled

horror of September 11. Because the stack was taken for granted once

it was assembled, it showed that normal life can — and must —

go on once a plan is in place.

"The only way we can turn an advantage over terrorists," says

Walks, "is to think of what we can prepare for and prevent, while

weighing that against the preservation of a lifestyle."

Top Of Page
Mitigate Merger Madness

<B>Kathleen Reddick, professor and training

consultant,

has witnessed some brutal lay-off dramas. Perhaps the worst, the one

she can’t get out of her mind, involves a professional woman, an

accountant

in a Manhattan office, who she describes as "big, you know, tall,

really tall." Reddick was on a consulting assignment when the

woman, made redundant in a merger, was called into the HR office to

receive the news of her lay-off.

"She came out with two little shopping bags," Reddick

recounts.

"They were more like make-up bags." The bags were as

diminutive

as the woman was large, and it was the contrast that struck Reddick.

"She had to stuff all of her shoes in those bags," she

continues.

"In New York everyone has 10 pairs of shoes under the desk, and

she had to stuff all of them into those tiny bags."

The incident occurred several years ago, but Reddick still smarts

as she pictures the woman, accompanied by a security guard, making

her way to the street, and leaving all of her dignity behind.

"It’s

bad enough to have to go home and tell your family you’ve lost your

job," says Reddick, "but to have to go into the subway like

that . . ."

Reddick, professor in the department of business and economics at

St. Elizabeth’s College, and director of graduate programs in

management,

talks about how to create a corporate culture where such dramas are

not played out when she speaks on "Human Resources: Reinventing

the Employee Environment" on Wednesday, September 17, at 9 a.m.

at the New Jersey Society of Association Executives at the Sheraton

Woodbridge. Other panels address "CEO Contracts,"

"Promoting

Your Industry’s Image," "Special Events: Innovative Ways to

Help Reinvent Non-Educational Programming," and "Technology

Strategy." Call 732-339-9085 for more information.

Reddick, a Manhattan native who was raised in East Orange, has been

at St. Elizabeth’s full time for four years. She is a graduate of

Seton Hall, where she completed her bachelor’s degree as an adult,

and went on to earn a master’s degree in business administration and

a doctorate in HR training and development, with a specialty in adult

learning theory. While going to school, she raised two children and

worked full time, and that was just part of it. "I was president

of my alumni association, president of the parish council, and

president

of the home school association; my husband was president of the Little

League; and that was just the tip of the iceberg."

Reddick didn’t add "commuter" to her list of activities, but

it must have been part of the picture, because she lived in Union

and worked, for a number of years, at setting up training departments

for libraries in the five boroughs of Manhattan and in Westchester.

Her job took her to the New York Public Library and also to a

fascinating

array of specialized libraries, including those of the French

Consulate,

the New York Fire Department, MOMA, and Carnegie Hall.

Much as she loved the work, it became a "burn-out job," she

says, largely because of the travel involved. "I was in a

different

borough every day," she says.

Her work with the libraries included teaching head librarians how

to teach the librarians under them to use the Internet, a new and

frightening development for professionals who had earned their MLS

degrees in the pre-You’ve Got Mail era. The librarians had to learn

not only for themselves, but also so that they could pass the

knowledge

along to their patrons. Not everyone welcomed the change.

"Lots of people have a fear of returning to school, especially

if your livelihood depends on it," she finds. This was true with

the librarians, and it can be true with the students she is now

teaching.

"I have a lot of returning students," she says. "I tell

them `you can do it!’ I started from nothing, and I did it."

In a way, Reddick is starting all over once again. After a happy

marriage

and 33 years of civic involvement in Union, she has just closed on

a new house in New Providence. After the death of her husband, a few

years ago, she decided it was "time for a change." As she

prepares for her talk on new workplace environments, she says her

upcoming move also involves an environmental shift. The new house

will also be home to her mother and to her son and his wife, and,

she speculates hopefully, perhaps grandchildren one day.

While Reddick is enthusiastic about her new personal environment,

she is a bit pessimistic about the immediate future of the corporate

environment. Driven, she says, by mergers and acquisitions, the

workplace,

circa late-summer 2003, is often not a happy place to be.

For her parents, she says, employment was "cradle to grave."

For Boomers like herself and like her husband, there was an assurance

that if skills were a good match, "our work ethic would sustain

us for as long as we wanted the job." There was, she points out,

"a mutual loyalty." Now, loyalty is out, and serial lay-offs

are in.

The results are not pretty.

For every professional sent away like a thief, shoes falling out of

tiny shopping bags, there is a little cohort of co-workers left

behind.

Co-workers who witnessed the humiliating exit, and who wonder when

their time will come.

"There is guilt," says Reddick. "There is grief."

There is also a loss of socialization as office buddies, some of them

longtime friends, disappear. And then there is the extra work as the

departed employee’s tasks are divided up. "Maybe there is a raise,

and maybe not," says Reddick. If there is no raise, there is

resentment.

If there is a raise, there is often guilt. Mix it all together, and

an office can roil with hostility. But, wait, there’s more bad news

— or potential bad news.

"Where there was one culture before a merger, there are now three

cultures," says Reddick. There is the culture of the old company,

the culture of the acquirer, and the blended culture. Sort of like

the Brady Bunch, but with a lot more anger. This anger may be more

than management bargained for.

"People become unmotivated," says Reddick. "They may

unionize,

or strike. They find ways to sabotage goals." Employees caught

in an especially inept merger may even sue. That is what happened,

Reddick recounts, when a group of international investors took over

a family cosmetics company, and promptly fired a worker who had been

on staff since day one. She was 93. She filed an age discrimination

claim, and she won.

Faced with merger madness — and resulting anger — managers

do have options beyond barricading themselves into their offices and

praying for Friday, says Reddick. Here are some ideas:

Speak from the heart. Carly Fiorina, who led

Hewlett-Packard

through a brutal merger with Compaq, is a manager Reddick admires.

"She talks about the importance of bringing people together and

communicating openly," Reddick says. "She says `talk from

your heart as well as your head.’ You need intelligence, but you also

need empathy."

Start talking early. If there is bad news coming, let

everyone know right away. Don’t wait until the rumor mill grabs it,

speculation runs wild, and everyone becomes crazed with anxiety.

Pay attention to individual contributions. In her classes,

Reddick asks her management students if their bosses know what it

is that they do. Most report that the bosses have no idea of their

day-to-day duties. This being the case, it is hard for anyone to see

his place in the company’s mission. Far better to take the time to

understand each employer’s contribution and to assure him that without

it, the company’s product or service would not live up to its

potential.

Celebrate the company’s unique culture. Blended or not,

each company has stories. There is likely to be the one about the

guy who walked six miles to work during the big blizzard and the one

about the new salesperson who met the multi-million-dollar client

when they shared a cab during the blackout. Tell the stories to

newcomers,

and be on the look-out for new stories. Says Reddick, "Get people

involved early on in stories, myths, and jargon."

Get some friendly competition going. It works in summer

camp, and it can work in the office. Try out some version of color

wars, but with an emphasis on fun, and, at least at first, on

easy-to-reach

goals.

As teams reach the easy goals, raise them up a bit, suggests Reddick.

With luck, everyone will get so involved in working together, and

trying to beat a friendly rival, that productivity will return to

a fractured workplace.

Reddick sees such strategies as important in getting through

a difficult employment environment, but she sees this environment

giving way. "No management trends lasts forever," she says.

"There are cycles." Serial firing, followed by hiring cheaper

workers, is unlikely to last. For one thing, she points out, it’s

very expensive. For another, it is very disruptive. Loyalty is about

to make a come-back, she predicts.

Meanwhile, she has a final piece of advice: Let them eat cake.

"Build celebrations into the acquisition budget," says

Reddick.

Until things calm down, find something — anything — to

celebrate.

Corporate sanity on a large scale may be a few years off, but if

hostility

is to be kept to a manageable level, the partying needs to start right

away.

Top Of Page
Stamping Out Sexual Harassment

Think of sexual harassment at work and chances are that

a picture of a construction site or a manufacturing plant will pop

up. "That’s the stereotype," says John Sarno, president

of the Employers Association of New Jersey (EANJ). "People think

it’s more common in blue collar settings." The reality is

different.

"The trend over the past three years," he says, "is that

most of the high visibility cases have involved brokerages, insurance

companies, banks," he says. But he has seen that the problem

"cuts

across all industries." The results are unpleasant — for

everyone.

Not only do the victims suffer, but employers open themselves up to

substantial liability. No employer can control every action of every

employee, but, says Sarno, every employer can take steps that will

substantially reduce the possibility that his workplace will be judged

"hostile" and that he will be taken to court.

After decades of publicity, and thousands of man years of training,

it would be reasonable to think that sexual harassment would have

been swept out of every corner of every office. But the issue is still

enough of a concern that EANJ has scheduled a series of workshops

to educate employers and supervisors. "The Ultimate Sex Harassment

Training Breakfast Series" begins with a workshop on Understanding

the Law on Thursday, September 18. The second session, Investigating

the Complaint, takes place on Thursday, October 16. The final session,

Defending the Company’s Decision, is scheduled for Thursday, December

4. Registration for all three, two-hour sessions takes place at 7:30

a.m. at the Mansion at Fairleigh Dickinson University. The cost for

all three is $165. Call 973-758-6800 for more information.

Preventing liability for sexual harassment is within employers’ reach,

says Sarno, especially since the U.S. Supreme Court in 1997 handed

down two significant decisions. The court rulings indicate that an

employer who provides education on recognizing and preventing sexual

harassment and who responds vigorously to complaints will

significantly

bolster his defense should an employee file a lawsuit.

"Employers should be able to show that there has been a concerted

effort to raise awareness," says Sarno. "They should issue

policies and make sure that employees have copies of the

policies."

These policies can address everything from dating to language to

permissible

cubicle art work. "It even extends to dress codes," says

Sarno.

He explains that some employers are opting for a requirement that

work clothes be more conservative, or at least less revealing. As

far as dating goes, he says that some companies demand disclosure,

particularly when a supervisor is dating a direct report. Some

companies,

apprised of the situation, will transfer one of the employees to

another

department.

Language and office decorations bring up difficult issues.

"Employers

are walking a fine line," says Sarno. What is funny to nearly

everyone in the office may be offensive to a few people — or maybe

to just one person.

While one cubicle dweller may offend another with a cartoon or by

recounting — in great detail — the plot of an R-rated movie,

the bigger problem tends to involve offensive behavior by a

supervisor.

"Supervisors control the workplace," Sarno points out.

"They

are in control, so they have a special duty. What they do sets the

tone." Companies incur greater liability, he says, when the

supervisor

is the harasser.

Harassers, whether supervisors or co-workers, can be either men or

women. There are now plenty of cases where it is women who are doing

the harassing, says Sarno, but, he adds, whether the harasser is male

or female, the victim is almost always a woman.

Employers need to stop all harassers, and Sarno provides some guidance

on doing so:

Emphasize the big picture. As in so many other workplace

situations, communication is vital. Tell all employees — and

especially

supervisors — just what is at stake. Explain the concept of

liability,

and let employees know that each of them plays an important part in

preventing it.

"Explain that the goal is that a hostile workplace never

occurs,"

advises Sarno, "and it is more likely that they will work with

the policy." This frank communication, he adds, minimizes the

chances that supervisors will resent employees who complain.

Have zero tolerance. "Treat every complaint

seriously,"

says Sarno. "Even if it’s trivial, respond." Investigate each

and every complaint. Doing so makes it very unlikely that conduct

will escalate to the point where courts will find that "a hostile,

intimidating workplace" has been allowed to exist.

Speak to offenders right away. When relatively trivial

offenses are reported, speak to those responsible right away. An

informal

talk might be enough in some circumstances, while a repeat incident

might require a written warning.

Cubicle decorations, or the occasional four-letter word can

sometimes raise complaints, but the most serious sexual harassment,

says Sarno, generally involves "joking" of a sexual nature,

and unrelenting sex-based bullying. "Harassment and bullying are

very closely connected," Sarno finds. And just what sort of person

would engage in this unsavory behavior? "Someone," he says,

"whose desire for power and control is inappropriate."

Inappropriate and dangerous — both to his victim and to the health

of his employer’s business.

Top Of Page
Entrepreneurial Training Institute

Entrepreneurs who want to get on the inside track with

bankers, mentors, and governmental officials can sign up for an

eight-week

course, the Entrepreneurial Training Institute, starting this month.

Interest in this course has snowballed in recent years, and more than

133 students graduated last year, dramatically adding to the total

of 800 people who have taken the course over the past decade.

All courses listed here run on a weeknight from 6 to 9 p.m. for eight

weeks and cost $295, which is not refundable. To graduate and

participate

in the mentoring program, participants must attend six of the eight

sessions.

At Raritan Valley College in North Branch, ETI starts on Wednesday,

September 17. It opens on Monday, September 22, in Mount Laurel at

the Burlington County College High Technology Center.

Another section meeting this fall is open to not-for-profit

organizations.

It starts Thursday, September 18, at 6 p.m., at Mercer County

Technical

School’s Assunpink campus at 1085 Old Trenton Road. For profit

companies

pay the standard $295 fee. Non-profits must pay an additional $400

that includes a readiness assessment by Seton Hall Institute on Work.

Registration is absolutely required. Call 609-292-9279.

Another set of classes starts in the spring, when there will be a

special course oriented to technology-based firms. It will be held

at DeVry Institute in North Brunswick.

Top Of Page
Grant Application Deadline Nears

The Princeton Area Community Foundation is accepting proposals for

funding from public benefit (nonprofit) organizations serving the

people of greater Mercer County. The deadline for fall grants is

Friday,

September 19, for consideration for a December grant. Organizations

that applied for a grant in the spring of 2003 are not eligible.

Proposals will be considered if they fit one of the following

categories:

Helping Low-Income People Help Themselves. Grants up to

$10,000 will be considered for programs provided by nonprofit

organizations

with proven competence in building the self-sufficiency of low-income

populations in Mercer County. The Community Foundation recognizes

that all aspects of a person’s life — personal health, economic

stability, living conditions, and learning opportunities — are

interrelated. The foundation seeks programs that "make a permanent

difference in people’s lives."

Improving Your Nonprofit’s Productivity. Grants up to

$5,000 will be considered for efforts to improve the productivity

of a nonprofit organization. Such efforts might include training and

developing boards of trustees, improving fundraising, designing and

implementing ways to evaluate and measure outcomes, addressing issues

of diversity, doing better strategic planning, or improving the use

of technology. Priority will be given to organizations that document

a track record of achieving results.

Building Regional Leadership and Effective Partnerships.

Grants up to $50,000 will be considered for projects that strengthen

communities in Mercer County by building on the existing strengths

and resources of the region. Priority will be given to projects in

Trenton and for work to build regional partnerships across municipal

boundaries.

Full grant guidelines and application materials are available on the

Princeton Area Community Foundation website at www.pacf.org

PACF promotes philanthropy, provides charitable giving expertise to

individuals and corporations, and makes grants to local nonprofit

organizations and schools. The foundation can be reached at

609-688-0300

or at www.pacf.org

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Tuition Help

At Mercer County Community College and other New Jersey

two-year colleges, part-time students now have the opportunity to

qualify for state financial aid through a new $3.5 million

appropriation

for the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) Pilot

Part-Time Tuition Aid Grant (TAG) Program. HESAA’s goal is to get

the awards out this fall.

Students taking 6 to 8 credits could receive up to $500 per year.

Students taking 9 to 11 credits could receive up to $750 per year.

Spring semester awards may change according to state appropriations.

Eligibility for the awards is based on financial need. Applicants

must be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens and must have been

New Jersey residents for at least a year; they must be accepted in

a program of study leading to a degree or certificate; and must have

a high school diploma or GED certificate; be registered with the

Selective

Service (if required); not be in default status on a student loan

or owe a refund on any Title IV federal aid program; and maintain

satisfactory academic progress.

An estimated 6,800 part-time students statewide are expected to

qualify

for the awards, which until now have been available only to full-time

students.

Application materials are available at Mercer County Community

College’s

Financial Aid Office, Student Center, second floor, 1200 Old Trenton

Road, West Windsor. Call 609-586-4800, ext. 3210, or apply online

at the financial aid page of MCCC’s website (www.mccc.edu).


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