Good & Bad Ways For College Funding

Wrangling a Career

In Foreign Trade, Coordination Counts

Smaller Firms Can Export to Iraq

How to Ditch That Monitor

Health Watch

Middlesex College Transfer Agreement

Participate Please

Hearing Consumers In 150 Languages

Manufacturing Still Vital to NJ Economy

East Windsor Business Awards

Corporate Angels

Corrections or additions?

These articles by Kathleen McGinn Spring, Barbara Fox, and Bart

Jackson were prepared for the August 18, 2004 issue of U.S. 1

Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Survival Guide

Top Of Page
Good & Bad Ways For College Funding

‘Dad, can I have $25,000 for college?" That request was made in l971

by a dewy-eyed young man, poised with hand out in a major magazine ad.

Back then, the overwhelming figure was set forth as a terrifying

statistic to show much higher education really cost. Since then the

price tag of college has accelerated eight percent every year – about

double the cost of inflation and mean national salaries.

How can any family manage it? College Funding Alternatives insists

that you do not have to sell yourself into financial servitude in

order to ensure a college education for your children. This Princeton

Junction-based company offers a no-cost seminar, "How to Obtain Money

for College Funding, on Thursday, August 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the

Plainsboro Public Library (609-275-7650) and again on Tuesday, August

24, at 7 p.m. at the South Brunswick Library (732-329-4000). These

workshops feature College Funding Alternatives president Kevin Simme

and the company’s funding specialist, Sunny Greenberg.

Greenberg has seen any number of parents with college anxiety. "I have

seen people who are terrified of college expense from the minute the

baby comes out of the womb," she says. Born and raised in Brooklyn,

Greenberg studied at Brooklyn College and at the Fashion Institute of

Technology. A human resources specialist before joining College

Funding Alternatives, Greenberg’s advice to parents facing college

bills: "Do not despair, or scale down your dreams. Over $105 billion

every year is made available for higher education in the form of

federal, state, and private money, loans, grants, and scholarships."

With the right savings plan, and with sharp searches for extra funds,

your child can earn a paid-for diploma.

Bad savings. Every parent has heard "save for college" again and

again. But most families, regardless of income, find the cost of

raising the little darlings for the first 18 years such a drain that

spare change for savings is meager indeed. So somewhere around the

child’s sophomore year in high school, parents examine their assets.

There’s the pitiful college fund, the nest egg savings, the pension

and, oh yes, the house. These last two items often seem the only way

out. So the pension gets deleted and the 30-year home mortgage rolls

into half a century of debt. Granted, they are legitimate assets, but

the high price of cashing them in shows the penalty of short term

financial planning.

A strategy right up there with raiding the 401 (k) and mortgaging the

house is going through the books and informing the child that he can

apply to any school that charges only a certain amount per year. This

seems sensible, but Greenberg warns parents against ruling out private

schools. "Typically, private schools have more endowments and more

individual scholarships," she notes. "If they really want you, they

will often help pay to keep you."

Good savings. IRS form 529 now allows you to set aside a percent of

your income, up to a limit, for educational savings. The money will

not be taxed during your saving years, and you can begin saving the

year the baby is born. The only downside to this law is that the money

may be applied to higher education only. If, at age 18, your son

decides that the future belongs to truck farmers, and that college is

a waste of time, you pay large penalties to get the money out of the

fund.

The golden rule for maximum return on college savings is early and

unyieldingly regular savings. The United State I bonds are fixed to

the inflation rate and currently pay 3.39 percent. They roll over

every six months, placing their annual interest right up there with

the inflation rate of college cost. If you purchase only one $50 bond

every month, 18 years from now, you will have a $13,900 contribution

toward your child’s university career. Set aside $25 weekly in any

instrument paying 5 percent and you can boost the 17-year total to

$34,849.

All sorts of quick rollover bonds and funds exist. Many people,

frightened that corporate bonds will suffer as interest rates rise,

have turned to preferred stock. The high dividend and greater security

make them attractive, but only for the experienced investor.

Scholarships. "This is the job for your child," says Greenberg. "He

should be part of the process. He should get on the ‘Net and search

out the available scholarships." Apart from the obvious lesson learned

from this division of labor, there are other reasons for appointing

your child scholarship captain. Primarily, Greenberg points out, only

three percent of all available funds nationwide come from

scholarships. It is seldom worth the parent’s time to track down the

cash.

Chances are, the individual student knows his personal qualifications

better than anyone else, even his folks. He also has access to many

services at school in the course of his daily routine.

Greenberg urges people not to place too heavy a responsibility on the

school guidance counselor. While most of these vastly overworked

professionals have an encyclopedic knowledge about college, they know

only the major funding avenues.

Grants and loans. Somewhere out there lies a grant or loan with your

name on it. Probably the easiest place to gain a comprehensive list is

at your public library. Any area library has whole volumes describing

the types of grants and loans available from both public and private

sources.

The State of New Jersey provides NJ CLASS loans – college loans to

assist state students. Currently they offer a 6 percent fixed and a

4.8 percent variable loan for higher education. Straight non-repayable

grants ranging from $1,300 to $5,000 are available from the New Jersey

Tuition Aid Grant.

To learn about federal tuition assistance, visit the Department of

Education’s www.studentaid.ed.gov. Click on "funding" and on "federal

student aid" programs. Two of the most popular offerings are the

Federal Pell Grant, awarded to college students based on income and

the cost of the university. Grants range from $400 to $4,050. The

Stafford Loan Program also provides students with funding.

During all this searching, Greenberg advises her clients to remember

that college funding is not the sole property of the totally indigent

or incredibly brilliant. Their are pieces of funding. The trick is to

set your college sights fiscally the same way you do academically:

Choose two you know can pay for; two you might be able to fund; and

two beyond your reach. Of this last category, she says: "It’s just

possible that they will want your well-rounded child in their school

and will find some endowment to get him there."

Top Of Page
Wrangling a Career

So how do you make that leap? How do you meet the right people and

exhibit the mysterious aura that marks you for a rise from middle

management up to the senior select? Sunny Bates Associates in

Manhattan places scores of executives in such enviable positions each

year. And as Sunny Bates herself says, "Gaining the top job at top pay

is not a mystery. It’s a strategy."

As featured speaker of the Central Jersey Women’s Network’s summer

extravaganza, Bates lays out these strategies in "Networking Your Way

to Success." The dinner meeting takes place on Tuesday, August 24, at

6 p.m. at the Eagle Ridge Golf Club in Lakewood. Cost: $40. Contact

908-281-9234 or visit www.cjwn.org. The 17-year-old Central Jersey

Women’s Network provides resources, information, and contacts for

businesswomen at all levels.

Bates has traveled a unique path in carving out her own career.

Growing up in the Chicago suburb of Hinsdale, Illinois, she attended

Cornell University, graduating in the gas-crunch year of l978 with a

timely B.S. in petro economics and Middle East studies. "It was a very

pointed major," she says, "which in no ways reflects my career." In

place of oil, Bates turned to media, selling advertising space for

magazines such as Folio, Elle, and the New York Times.

The energetic Bates has served on the board of Creative Capital and

was a founding member of the New York Media Association. Fifteen years

ago, she launched her executive search firm, Sunny Bates Associates,

which provides top-tier executives for everything from startup firms

to Fortune 500 companies. Her book "How to Earn What You’re Worth,"

published by McGraw Hill, gives negotiating and self-positioning tips

for getting a top salary.

"Remember the last time you walked into an exam fully prepared?" asks

Bates. "Remember that confidence and how it helped you ace it? That’s

what a practiced strategy of networking gives you."

Spinning the web. "Networking’s a lot like eating healthy," says

Bates. "We all know we should do it every day, religiously, but most

of us don’t." Persistence will win, she insists, but not all

networking is picking up the phone and making contact. Most of it

begins right in your office with heavy research. List your five areas

of expertise. Then list the seven fields where each point of expertise

could be valued. From there, list the 20 most desirable companies in

each of those fields. Then dig around and find the senior managers for

each firm and see how they are accessible. It’s a simple strategy;

it’s also just plain hard work.

Even though you now have your targets in the cross hairs, it’s still

not quite time to fire off a letter or make a meeting. First, ponder a

bit. Exactly what you want to take away in this first meeting? What do

you want to cover? Discover the precise themes you want and your words

will take care of themselves.

On the greet. What do you say after that first handshake and basic

pleasantries? After Bates and this reporter had gotten about that far

in our own introductions, she stopped me and pointed out four

potential lines of inquiry that I had unconsciously let slip in these

initial words. Casually, I had mentioned my job, the weather in my

hometown, and compared it to a trip I had taken. All in two innocent

sentences, I had given her four chances to learn more about me.

The point to remember here is that you are inquiring after the speaker

– inviting him to talk. However, you gain basic control of the

conversation based on what line of inquiry you select. "Sometimes you

can plan these lines of inquiry by pre-studying the individual. More

often you have to do it on the fly," says Bates. "But as long as you

know very clearly what you want out of this exchange, finding the

right inquiry becomes evident."

In a large room situation, you must make a choice. Typically, you can

only count on engaging two or three individuals in any substantive

talk of the kind that opens up possibilities for further

communications. But, no matter, in some situations it may be more

effective to use what Bates calls the speed date method. Moving

quickly among 15 people you graciously (not hastily) introduce

yourself, make a basic few-sentence presentation of what you offer,

present a card, perhaps make a tentative date, and move on. This is

often an ideal convention tool. Hint: take care not to script your

introduction. People don’t like to learn that they have been fed the

same rote line of patter as their fellows.

Aligning the job. Assuming that all your networking efforts have

gleaned you a few job offers, now comes the hour of decision.

Virtually every career mentor advises you to look inside and discover

what you truly like best and what you do best. But Bates suggests that

potential executives view life from a different angle. "Where is your

expertise most valued?" she asks. Does this field and this specific

company rate your skills highly? It is a wonderful thing to realize

your own marketing abilities and to be offered a marketing job. Yet

before leaping, examine the company. Are marketing people on the

promotion fast track or is the department large enough for you to

advance? If not, the job is a dead ender.

Finally, Bates suggests be careful what you ask for. Whether you are

negotiating as a seasoned employee or potential recruit, do not put

all your push into salary. Most companies only have about 15 percent

to play with on any position. Work instead for benefits, faster

promotional reviews, conditions, and investment options.

"It’s no mystery," repeats Bates. Those who spin the network

persistently will eventually link up with opportunities. And those who

have fixed in their minds the idea that "I am ready to change" will be

able to do so.

Top Of Page
In Foreign Trade, Coordination Counts

Throwing money at efforts to increase foreign trade does not guarantee

success, especially when the efforts are not well synchronized, says

Keld Hansen, formerly director of the New Jersey Global Business

Initiative at the College of New Jersey. "A lot of effort is being

expended in export promotion, but it is sometimes uncoordinated and

self defeating," says Hansen. This month he is leaving his current job

as director of the New Jersey Global Business Initiative to refocus

his attention on his own investment banking and foreign trade

consulting firm, Passer and Crown Inc.

Hansen (shown in the photo at right), a Danish-born chemical engineer

with an MBA from Harvard, was CEO at Dansk Design International, based

in Mt. Kisco, New York, at a time when the dollar value dropped by one

third. To save the company, he made some high risk decisions. He kept

the design operations in Denmark but moved the manufacturing to any

factory anywhere in the world that could come up with a quality

product. He also cut out the wholesale level and opened retail stores,

such as the one at Forrestal Village. When he left Dansk, Hansen came

to New Jersey to take charge of the international division of Lenox.

In the 1980s he acquired a portfolio of bankrupt or troubled

companies.

For the past four years Hansen has directed foreign trade programs,

first as the head of the Global Business Center at Mercer County

Community College, and then as the director of the New Jersey Center

for Global Business Initiatives at the College of New Jersey (CNJ).

Hansen believes that business organizations rather than government or

academic institutions can best help promote foreign trade. The state

chamber of commerce has made a bona fide effort in this direction.

"That is understandable because the primary purpose of the state

chamber is to help business, and exporting helps business." The

chamber, for instance, supported the New Jersey Global Business

Initiative with money (in the five-digit range), managerial support,

and such intangibles as public relations and communications services.

"Because the state chamber had given significant support, it was

possible to apply for several government grants through the CNJ for

$90,000 a year," says Hansen. "It started looking like the real

thing."

At Passer and Crown, Hansen will continue his previous activities –

investment banking and consulting on international finance and trade.

His on-the-line experience, he believes, gives him the credibility

needed to deal with corporations who want to do trade deals. "If a

company is going to put $1 million behind an international effort, it

wants to deal with someone who looks like a real business person,"

says Hansen. Corporations want to talk to business people, not

bureaucrats. "I had run my own international companies, and that is

what is necessary to get people to listen to you, when you can say, ‘I

have been in your shoes.’"

He will caution future clients about their export futures and ask them

to take a 23-question survey to determine if they are ready. "A

company should not go into exporting unless they are reasonably

successful in making money," he says. "You may start making money in

one year in the domestic market, but it could take two to four years

internationally."

Competition increases overseas. "In America, you have American

competitors," says Hansen. "If you go internationally, you are

competing with all the best people from all over the world."

Coordination fosters credibility. "We tried to coordinate with Rutgers

Camden and Kean University, and we started to share programs," says

Hansen. Elsewhere in the state, however, lack of coordination could

have impeded some trade efforts. Last year in north New Jersey, for

instance, three different groups staged meetings focused on the same

country in the same month, and two of the meetings featured the same

keynote speaker. Such duplication must have puzzled the companies that

were the marketing targets for these events.

"The total amount of dollars being spent on export promotion is

sufficient for a productive strong effort that would significantly

increase exports from New Jersey," says Hansen. "However, because the

effort is uncoordinated the current result is not what it should be."

Passer and Crown Inc., 531 Lake Drive, Princeton 08540,

609-924-5686; fax, 609-279-1598. E-mail: keld.hansen@verizon.net.

Top Of Page
Smaller Firms Can Export to Iraq

Andrew Bayne’s views on trade differ in some respects from Keld

Hansen’s (in the article above), especially when it comes to exporting

to Iraq, where, as he says, "it is a brand-new venture for everyone,

including us." His Forrestal Village-based firm, Bayne Law Group LLC,

has been doing international contracts, transactions, and dispute

resolution for small and middle-market business interests in any

country. But just as Iraq took over its own affairs, Bayne issued a

press release noting that he was developing contacts and expertise in

Iraq.

Bayne’s firm, which has two other lawyers and additional locations in

New York and Philadelphia, targets the smaller businesses for whom the

larger law firms may be too expensive.

A graduate of Rutgers College, he has a law degree from Benjamin

Cardoza and started out with a small law practice in New Jersey,

moving to a mid-size firm in Middlesex County, and then to an

employment law firm, working on the management side, in Livingston. He

was a partner with another Princeton-based law firm for four years

before opening his own practice.

"I saw a need for firms that do international trade work, that are

familiar with international distribution agreements, contracts,

employment, consulting, and shipping, and that are able to serve what

I call the small and middle market," says Bayne. "The need is there,

because most companies that specialize in international trade issues

are beyond the price range of the small and middle market companies."

One of his current clients is a pharmaceutical that formerly had an

office in Princeton and is based in St. Cloud, France.

"The export business is not for the faint of heart," cautions Bayne.

The challenges include the differences in cultures and the time

changes. "The need for local relationships to move your product and

manage your operations abroad is another cost-intensive aspect to the

business of exporting."

Whereas Keld Hansen suggests that a company should have a very strong

in the domestic market in this country before going abroad, Bayne does

not believe that the competitive position of a company in America

should deter marketing efforts overseas. "I don’t know that you need

to be ‘the best of the best’ in the U.S. before you go abroad. Being

abroad is primarily about connections and your ability to move product

on the ground in a foreign place. Your ability to do that is not

necessarily a function of how your business is perceived in the

American marketplace."

Bayne is optimistic about the potential for smaller companies to

succeed in Iraq. "It is a serious situation, a new emerging

government, where people are desperately looking to conduct business

in their own country. But a number of companies want to do business

with emerging businesses that are rising up every day." Construction

materials, he suggests, are a likely export, as are healthcare

services and products, computer technology, and certain levels of

encryption software. Security, sadly, still tops the list of desired

services.

The two main opportunities in Iraq are private business-to-business

dealings and government contracts and sub contracts. For private

business, he believes that the biggest export potential can be found

in construction materials.

Overall, government contracts offer the best opportunities, since more

than $18 billion has been allotted by the U.S. government for

reconstruction in Iraq. "The vast majority of those funds will go to

U.S. government contractors engaged in reconstruction, which is a

broad term. It refers to infrastructure, physical plant, and

reconstruction of service, retail, and manufacturing businesses."

At home, the U.S. government contracts have "set aside" requirements,

so that a percentage of the work must be done by minority-owned and

women-owned businesses. The contracts in Iraq have similar

requirements, says Bayne, who read on July 7 that $300 million has

been designated for small reconstruction projects to be accomplished

by smaller businesses and those owned by disadvantaged people, such as

disabled veterans. These companies can be based in either Iraq or the

United States, but Bayne plans to work with the U.S.-based firms.

"We have developed a network of like-minded people, attorneys and

business owners looking to do business with Iraq," he says. "Though we

consult with local attorneys, we are also learning the Iraqi law on a

daily basis."

Bayne cautions that in this interview he is not offering legal advice,

and that those interested in doing business with Iraq should consult

the U.S. State Department website. His own website (www.baynelaw.com)

has a list of FAQs, but, in brief, successful exporters will:

Handle due diligence properly. "We assist clients in ‘vetting’ their

intended relationships in Iraq so they do business only with companies

that have been cleared as legitimate companies and are not associated

with terrorist activities," says Bayne.

Ensure compliance with government regulations, the Federal Acquisition

Regulations (FAR) and the defense department’s version, DFAR. "We

interview clients and go over what their intentions are," says Bayne,

"and we make sure that they are going to do business with cleared

companies."

Deal with security concerns which are, of course, huge. Security

guards from the United Kingdom, those who are guarding government

officials and heads of corporations, are being paid $1,500 per day.

Bayne Law Group LLC, 116 Village Boulevard, Suite 200,

Princeton 08543-3036. Andrew J. Bayne Esq. 609-924-4295; fax,

609-924-4298. Home page: www.baynelaw.com

Top Of Page
How to Ditch That Monitor

Your old computer and monitor are just gathering dust. But you are

ecology conscious and don’t want to put them out by the curb or in the

dumpster.

U.S. 1 technology contributor Doug Dixon (www.manifest-technology.com)

alerts us to a one-time offer from Office Depot. Now through Labor

Day, you can bring that clunky monitor to the North Brunswick store

and get it recycled for free (www.officedepot.com/recycle).

Computer monitors are the items that most people want to toss, but the

store will also accept PCs with mice and keyboards, handhelds or PDAs,

flat panel displays, laser and inkjet printers, scanners, all-in-ones,

digital cameras, fax machines, desktop copiers, and cell phones. The

store will even take television sets if they are 27 inches or smaller

(no consoles) and TV/VCR combos of similar size.

The North Brunswick Home Depot is 11 miles north of Princeton on Route

1 South in the Fashion Plaza shopping center (732-296-0562) and is

open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 9 to 9, and

Sundays from 10 to 6 p.m.

Watch out though. You are responsible for cleansing your own hard

drive of personal or business information. And you can’t just load up

your car with the contents of your cellar: You may bring only one item

per day. You have to make one trip with the monitor and make another

trip with the PC. And so on.

The Trenton Materials Exchange used to be able to accept bulk

quantities of electronic equipment, but it has closed. One remaining

eco-conscious alternative of Mercer County residents is to bring

unwanted gear to Mercer County Improvement Authority’s fall recycling

day on Saturday, September 18, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the John Dempster

Fire School on Bakers Basin Road (609-695-1200). Note that this

opportunity is supposed to be only for residents, not for businesses.

Middlesex County has two recycling days for electronic equipment per

month. Residents can bring equipment to HessTech at 45 Executive

Avenue in Edison on first Saturdays from 9 to 1 p.m. and third Mondays

from noon to 4 p.m. Call 732-745-4170.

What can businesses do? Lake Drive-based WindsorTech

(www.windsortechinc.com or 609-426-4666) offers bulk recycling and a

product to cleanse hard drives. EraseYourHardDrive.com, a

patent-pending, hard disk drive erasure tool for the individual and

SOHO (small office/home office) personal computer markets. If you want

to donate old computers to charity, you can pay $24 for one-time use

of this disk drive sanitation application.

Phillip S. Miller, executive director of the Mercer County Improvement

Authority, says he is looking for ways to help businesses do their

recycling on an ongoing basis. Call MCIA for suggestions on donating

equipment to nonprofits (609-695-1200 or www.mcia-nj.com). He suggests

calling Supreme Computer (732-370-4100) or Advanced Recovery

(973-485-9100).

Top Of Page
Health Watch

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital has received Medicare

certification for heart transplantation, making it the only center in

central New Jersey with such a designation. Medicare patients will no

longer have to worry about the cost of a heart transplant.

Since its inception in 1999, RWJUH’s Advanced Heart Failure and

Transplant Cardiology team has performed 36 heart transplants. The

team of professionals includes a cardiologist, surgeons, transplant

coordinators, a psychiatrist, dietitian, pharmacist, social worker,

and financial coordinator.

There are currently 27 people awaiting heart transplants in New

Jersey, with more than 3,500 nationally, according to the United

Network of Organ Sharing.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s services in neurology and

neurosurgery expanded recently with the acquisition of breakthrough

imaging technology for patients requiring brain surgery.

RWJUH is one of just a handful of hospitals in the nation to obtain

the Polestar N-20 Intraoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (iMRI)

system, used in the treatment of brain tumors, pituitary lesions,

congenital disorders, and Epilepsy.

The uniqueness of the Polestar N-20 lies in its compactness, which

enables neurosurgeons to bring it right into the operating room for

real-time visualization of the brain during all stages of surgery.

In conventional brain surgery, neurosurgeons rely on MRI images taken

before surgery. The limitation of this practice is that the brain’s

anatomy – including the precise location of tumors – can shift during

the progress of surgery, making images taken prior to the procedure

out of date. The iMRI technology solves that problem by providing

surgeons with a constant stream of fresh images right in the operating

room.

Top Of Page
Middlesex College Transfer Agreement

Middlesex County College and the University of the Sciences in

Philadelphia have signed an articulation agreement that allows

Middlesex students to transfer into the university’s Pharmaceutical

Marketing and Management Program. A student who completes the required

courses at Middlesex can enter into the university’s program with full

junior status. The student must have a 2.75 cumulative grade point

average at Middlesex and have at least a C in each course on the

transfer evaluation list.

Middlesex now has similar transfer agreements with 48 colleges and

universities across the nation.

Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) Franklin Center is expanding

its course offering this fall.

Some of the new course offerings at the Franklin Center include

Criminal Procedure, Introduction to Special Education: Early Child

Years, and Human Anatomy and Physiology I for Franklin High Students.

In addition, the Hispanic Institute will continue to hold courses at

the Franklin Center on Saturdays during the fall semester.

In all, the Franklin Center will be offering more than 35 different

courses this fall in such subject areas as accounting, art history,

biology, business, communications, computer information systems,

criminal justice, early childhood education, economics, English,

mathematics, nursing, philosophy, sociology, Spanish and student

development.

Registration is now underway for the fall semester. Classes begin

Wednesday, September 1. For a complete listing of course offerings,

visit RVCC’s website at www.raritanval.edu or call 732-745-1225 to

request a course schedule.

Top Of Page
Participate Please

The Business Marketing Association of New Jersey is seeking interested

individuals to serve on its board and committees. The BMA-NJ has been

supporting the New Jersey marketing communications community for over

70 years with career-enhancing educational and networking

opportunities. Immediate support is needed for the communication,

publicity, program, hospitality, and impact awards committees. Board

members at-large fill in when and where they are needed. NJ chapter

Board members will receive 50 percent off registration fees for the

BMA National Conference in June.

For more information, call 973-627-8180.

The Superior Court of New Jersey for Mercer County is seeking citizen

volunteers for its Child Placement Review Boards. CPR Boards are

comprised of court appointed citizen volunteers who are charged with

the responsibility of monitoring cases of all children placed outside

their homes by the Division of Youth and Family Services. Volunteers

assist the Judiciary with ensuring that children in placement are

protected and nurtured. All volunteers must complete a training

program in order to better understand of the complex nature of the

problems facing children in out-of-home placement.

If interested in this volunteer opportunity, contact Paula Andrews,

coordinator of volunteer services, at 609-571-4027 or

paula.andrews@judiciary.state.nj.us.

Top Of Page
Hearing Consumers In 150 Languages

The Department of Banking and Insurance announced a new program

designed to tear down language barriers and make it possible for

consumers to be heard in more than 150 languages.

The Department has contracted with Language Line Services, a national

leader in providing over-the-phone interpretation from English into

the caller’s native language. The service is available through the

Department’s consumer line 800-446-SHOP and its Camden and Newark

offices.

When calling, consumers who speak languages other than English are

prompted to identify the language they are most comfortable using, and

a time that is most convenient for them to speak with an interpreter

and a Department staff member. The staff member will then contact

Language Line Services and a three-way conversation will ensue.

Since the program began in July, the Department has fielded calls in a

variety of languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, and

Russian.

Top Of Page
Manufacturing Still Vital to NJ Economy

While it may have taken its lumps in recent years, New Jersey’s

manufacturing sector is still a vibrant part of New Jersey’s economy,

creating jobs and supporting other industries, according to a new

study released today by the NJ Policy Research Organization (NJPRO)

Foundation.

"A lot of people just assume that competition from low-cost states in

the South has dealt manufacturing a terrible blow in New Jersey,"

NJPRO executive director Jim Sinclair said in a prepared statement.

"But when you look at the facts, manufacturing continues to play a

vital role in our economy. This should be a wake-up call to our

political leaders – manufacturing is worth fighting for."

According to the NJPRO paper entitled "Why Manufacturing Counts in New

Jersey," manufacturers in this state employ 345,000 production

workers, support another 184,000 jobs in other industries, and pay an

average annual wage of $53,028, which is $9,316 more than the average

wage paid by all private-sector employers in New Jersey.

The paper reported that manufacturers generated $42 billion in

economic output in 2001, representing 12 percent of the New Jersey’s

Gross State Product. In global trade, manufacturing dominates 90

percent of all New Jersey exports – $15.3 billion worth in 2003.

Manufacturing also uses more intermediate goods and services than

other industries, generating an additional $1.43 in economic output

for every $1 worth of final product.

Most manufacturing employment is in pharmaceuticals and medical

products with 40,000 jobs, followed by chemical manufacturing

(34,200), computer and electronic products (32,300) and food products

(31,700).

But while it remains an important part of the State’s economy,

manufacturing’s share of overall employment has been steadily

slipping. In the most recent recession (2001-2003), for example, the

state lost 74,000 manufacturing jobs.

Top Of Page
East Windsor Business Awards

East Windsor Mayor Janice Mironov announces that the township is

seeking nominations for the 2004 Township Business Awards Program. The

purpose of the program is to recognize local businesses that make

special efforts to improve or contribute to the community.

Mayor Mironov states that these business efforts may be by way of (1)

creating an attractive appearance, for example, by way of landscaping,

flowers, and other enhancements to the physical appearance of their

structures and site; or (2) community contributions and service; or

(3) providing some manner of community enhancement, for example,

through extraordinary job creation, an unusual or special product or

opportunity, or any community value added aspect related to their

business. The three categories of recognition are Business

Beautification, Community Service, and Community Enhancement.

Nomination forms are available at the Municipal Building and at the

Hickory Corner and Twin Rivers branch public libraries. The deadline

for nominations is Friday, September 10.

Top Of Page
Corporate Angels

The Middlesex County Information Resources Management Committee, with

the assistance of the Freeholder-appointed OEL Executive Board, is

distributing $100,000 in computer hardware, software, and accessories

to nonprofit agencies throughout the county. The program, funded by

the state’s One Ease E-Link (OEL) program, will provide desktop and

laptop computers, printers, scanners, and operating systems for 35

non-profit and governmental agencies in Middlesex County. The OEL

program also provided $41,000 for computer training to agencies who

applied for computer equipment.

Verizon Foundation has contributed a $10,000 grant to the Raritan

Valley Community College (RVCC) Foundation for the "BRIO" (Bound Brook

RVCC Interchange Opportunity) program, giving some at-risk Bound Brook

High School students valuable academic assistance and career and life

guidance this summer.

The collaborative project – which is also being sponsored by RVCC and

Bound Brook Public Schools – targets at-risk Bound Brook High School

students who have completed their sophomore or junior year. The

four-week summer school program is designed for students who are older

than their classmates and are at risk of dropping out of school before

completing their senior year and/or of failing the state’s required

high school proficiency test.

The goals of the project are to increase the likelihood that the

students will graduate from high school and pass the state examination

by helping them build language skills, establish effective study

habits and explore educational career options.

RVCC also plays an important role in helping students who are not

prepared for college-level courses because of language and cultural

barriers.

The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the Free and Accepted

Masons of the State of New Jersey has donated $1,000 to the Paul

Robeson Institute for Ethics, Leadership and Social Justice at Raritan

Valley Community College (RVCC) in North Branch.

The Paul Robeson Institute for Ethics, Leadership and Social Justice

strives to assist in creating a diverse and multicultural community

that, through attitudes and behaviors, embodies Robeson’s ideas,

beliefs, values and vision for an impartial world. The institute aims

to inspire individuals and the community to the highest standards of

ethical conduct, leadership and social justice.


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