PO BOX 004

RELEASE: Friday, July 28, 2000

Jayne O'Connor
(609) 777-2600

Judy Savage (Commission on Higher Ed)
(609) 292-4310

Governor Unveils High-Tech Workforce Excellence Grants for Colleges and Universities

Governor Christie Whitman today announced that the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education today awarded nine grants totaling $14.3 million - to help New Jersey colleges and universities develop nationally recognized programs of technology excellence and give local businesses the quality workforce they need.

"Our colleges and universities are critical in making sure that every member of our New Jersey family shares in the economic prosperity resulting from advances in technology," said Gov. Whitman. "I believe that furthering higher education programs in key disciplines will help to improve the workforce, create new jobs, and boost our overall economy. The state's investment in these outstanding academic programs promises to pay substantial returns for both the institutions and the state."

"Indeed, it's why I proposed this investment in higher education as part of my $165 million economic package - New Jersey Jobs for the New Economy - in this year's State of the State address," added the Governor.

The High-Tech Workforce Excellence Grants will enhance a wide range of academic programs spanning all sectors of New Jersey's higher education system. Several of the winning proposals focus on developing quality employees for rapidly advancing industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, health care, and information technology. Two grants address the need for well-qualified teachers to equip future students with strong math and science skills, one is geared toward creating high-tech entrepreneurs, and another meets a local manufacturing technology need.

The seven winning institutions are: Bergen Community College (Paramus), The College of New Jersey (Ewing), New Jersey Institute of Technology (Newark), Rutgers University (2 grants) (New Brunswick), Salem Community College (Carneys Point), Stevens Institute of Technology (2 grants) (Hoboken), and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (Newark). A complete description of the winning proposals is attached.

Gov. Whitman had targeted four key academic areas that directly affect the high-tech workforce in her economic package - New Jersey Jobs for the New Economy:

The nine winning proposals address varied academic priorities, but they share some key characteristics. Each program is geared toward high-tech workforce needs; each will enable a program already known for its high quality to become regionally or nationally renowned; and, each program will be sustained by the institution beyond the one to three years of state grant funding.

"In addition to spurring continued economic growth, these exciting proposals will raise the overall prominence of New Jersey higher education, " said Commission Chairman Alfred C. Koeppe. "By taking strong academic programs to the next level, these grants will help to attract top faculty and students from within New Jersey and out of state."

"Speaking as the President of one of the largest infrastructure corporations in the state, it is absolutely critical to have a pipeline of students coming out of strong information technology, engineering, and science programs. At the same time, enhancing math and science teacher education ensures that future students will have solid foundations in those key disciplines," said Mr. Koeppe, who is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Public Service Electric and Gas Co. in Newark.

The High-Tech Workforce Excellence Grant Program grew out of a recommendation in New Jersey's Plan for Higher Education: 1999 Update, which calls on colleges and universities to identify their strongest programs and make them competitive with the best in the region, the nation, or the world. It also calls for supplemental state funding to assist institutions where there is strong evidence of institutional planning and leadership in areas that coincide with state goals.

The nine winning programs were selected from among 45 proposals submitted by colleges and universities in all sectors of the higher education system. Each winning proposal was reviewed by two separate teams of reviewers from in and out of state.

A complete description of the winning programs is attached.

# # #

High-Tech Workforce Excellence Grants
Awarded by the Commission on Higher Education July 28, 2000

Bergen Community College, Paramus - $573,300
High Technology Surgical Workforce Project

The grant will enhance and expand the surgical technology certification program to more fully meet New Jersey's growing demand for skilled workers in high-tech operating rooms. The grant will be used to create a simulated high technology operating room to train students on the equipment and instruments used in medical facilities; provide evening and weekend clinical experiences for working students; deliver advanced continuing professional education for surgical technologists in specialties identified by regional hospitals; and integrate quality assurance measures that ensure programmatic consistency with health industry needs and national standards.

The College of New Jersey, Ewing - $2,498,074
Expanding a K-12 Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (SMET) Teacher Preparation Program

The grant program will bring together faculty, other educators, and representatives from business, industry, and engineering to expand the college's nationally recognized elementary-level science, math, engineering, and technology (SMET) program to include secondary school teachers. This grant will allow the college to extend its leadership in teacher education by preparing secondary school teachers who will effectively integrate SMET subjects in a manner that appeals to a wide range of students, producing more workers who are comfortable, confident, and competent in applying technological knowledge and skills to the demands of the workplace.

New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark - $2,500,000
New Jersey Information-Technology Opportunities for the Workforce, Education, and Research

The grant will strengthen the university's information technology programs to address the rapid developments in information technology now driving the economy in New Jersey and elsewhere. Increased opportunities for students to collaborate with industry and participate in research at the undergraduate and graduate levels will make NJIT a destination of choice for students preparing for careers in information technology. The grant funds will be used to connect industry and NJIT's Enterprise Development Center with classroom activity; disseminate NJIT information technology research and development to a global audience; provide an honors-quality experience to all undergraduates in IT programs; and enhance an already robust, nationally recognized distance education program in IT.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick - $2,500,000
Tissue Engineering: A New Frontier in Materials, Biology, and Medicine

Leading Time Magazine's list of the hottest jobs in the foreseeable future, highly trained tissue engineers are in great demand by New Jersey's pharmaceutical and medical technology industries. The grant will create a unique interdisciplinary undergraduate training program that builds on the university's strong programs in engineering, biotechnology and biomaterials. Specifically, the funds will be used to develop undergraduate and graduate courses in tissue engineering, construct and equip laboratories to support the courses, and hire the appropriate faculty and staff.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick - $1,335,250
University-Industry Partnership to Enhance Biotechnology Education for a High-Tech Workforce

The grant will be used to develop a facility for education, research, and training in high throughput screening, the automated research equipment that is prevalent in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. New lab courses utilizing state-of-the-art equipment as well as corporate internships will prepare undergraduate students for careers in the emerging high-tech biotechnology field of high throughput screening. The initiative is a collaborative venture between corporate scientists and Rutgers faculty that will build on Rutgers' well-recognized undergraduate biotechnology program to meet industry needs and further enhance the university's reputation in high technology education.

Salem Community College, Carneys Point - $204,163
Process Technology: Meeting the Needs of a High-Tech Workforce

The grant will expand the college's process technology certificate program, which addresses the educational needs of chemical manufacturing technicians, to provide a two-year process technology degree. Graduates will be prepared to meet regional and statewide employment needs in the chemical, petrochemical, and pharmaceutical industries. The grant will be used to create a high-tech simulation laboratory and increase recruitment into the program to attract a diverse population into process technology careers.

Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken - $1,341,800
Implementation of Technogenesis in the Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum

The grant will enhance undergraduate engineering programs by aligning them with the institution's strategic direction into technogenesis, which engages students and faculty in the conception, design, and commercialization of new technologies. The program emphasizes entrepreneurial skills to build on Stevens' reputation for producing engineers who can innovate and lead in cutting-edge technological fields. The grant funds will be used to develop and implement project-based learning across the curriculum, develop learning materials in entrepreneurship, and create a Product Innovation and Realization Center to develop student projects from concept to prototype.

Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken - $1,078,560
K-12 Partnership Enhancement

The grant will provide intensive professional development to science teachers from Abbott district schools, strengthening teaching and learning in science, mathematics, and other core subjects through the meaningful integration of Internet-based curriculum resources. It expands the highly successful K-12 Partnership Program to enhance opportunities for educationally and economically disadvantaged students by increasing their interest and participation in science, math and technology education. The grant will be used to provide training, on-site classroom support, and hardware to teachers in the neediest schools in the state, thereby helping to create the human capital needed to fuel New Jersey's high technology workforce.

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark - $2,263,000
Graduate Program in Bioinformatics

The grant will create an interdisciplinary bioinformatics curriculum to address industry's need for scientists and researchers who can organize and mine the burgeoning amount of information derived from such programs as the human genome project and related research in molecular biology. Graduates will provide the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries and the academic community with the skilled workforce needed to maintain competitive research programs. Grant funds will be used to add new courses and faculty to expand the graduate training program in informatics and expand research efforts.

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