Higher Education and High-Tech Workforce Are Perfect Together:
"Furthering higher education programs in key disciplines will help to improve the workforce, create new jobs, and boost our overall economy."
|— Governor Whitman|
The High-Tech Workforce Excellence Grants will enhance a wide range of academic programs spanning all sectors of New Jersey’s higher education system. The seven winning institutions are: Bergen Community College, The College of New Jersey, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rutgers University (2), Salem Community College, Stevens Institute of Technology (2), and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. See Innovations for complete descriptions of the winning proposals.
The grants respond to a key 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. The long-range plan update proposes supplemental state funding to assist institutions where there is strong evidence of institutional planning and leadership in areas that coincide with state goals.
The Governor‘s $165 million economic package, New Jersey Jobs for the New Economy, targeted four key academic areas that directly affect the high-tech workforce:
“In addition to spurring continued economic growth, these exciting proposals will raise the overall prominence of New Jersey higher education,” said Commission Chairman Al 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.”
The nine winning programs were selected from among 45 proposals submitted by colleges and universities in all sectors of the higher education system.
Al Koeppe, a member of the Commission on Higher Education from its inception, was elected by his colleagues in June to a two-year term as chairman.
“In the six years since Governor Whitman established it as the coordinating body for New Jersey higher education, the Commission on Higher Education has had its share of successes, thanks to the cooperation it has enjoyed with the higher education community at large,” said Mr. Koeppe, who is president and chief operating officer of Public Service Electric and Gas Co.
“As chairman, I expect to build on those successes in planning and policy development and continue our commitment to advocacy for higher education. Our system of public and independent colleges and universities is critical to New Jersey’s economic growth and vitality. All involved must work to raise awareness of higher education’s important contributions,” he said.
The Commission also elected as vice chair William M. Freeman, president of the Public Communications Group of Verizon Communications, Inc. Past chairman Alfred J. Cade, John Kelly, and Amy Handlin were elected to serve on the Commission’s Executive Committee.
Nine Projects Win High-Tech Workforce Excellence Grants
In this edition, Innovations profiles the nine projects awarded High-Tech Workforce Excellence Grants by the Commission on Higher Education.
Bergen Community College$573,300
The College of New Jersey$2,498,074
Rutgers University, New Brunswick$1,335,250
Rutgers University, New Brunswick$2,500,000
Salem Community College$204,163
Stevens Institute of Technology$1,341,800
Stevens Institute of Technology$1,078,560
Hundreds of middle school and high school students from four New Jersey urban school districts had the time of their lives last year — gearing up for college.
They devoted their Saturdays, weekday afternoons, and summers to taking classes in English, math, and science. They worked with tutors and mentors and they studied for achievement exams.
The first group of students participating in New Jersey’s GEAR UP program have already been rewarded with better grades, certificates of achievement, and the opportunity to participate in field trips and celebrations.
But the biggest payoff from their involvement in the grant-funded program will come when they graduate from high school and go on to college. Each participant who completes the program and enrolls in a New Jersey institution will receive a NJ GEAR UP scholarship of up to $3,000 each year, contingent on continued federal funding.
The Commission on Higher Education won a $10 million GEAR UP grant from the U.S. Department of Education last August. Led by the Commission, the New Jersey GEAR UP State Project supports six colleges and universities in serving students from 17 middle and high schools in Camden, Trenton, Newark, and Jersey City.
The NJ GEAR UP path to college is hands-on and effective. In the first year alone, NJ GEAR UP participants took part in a wide variety of learning experiences to increase their academic readiness, inform them about postsecondary education, and motivate them to complete high school and go on to college.
With the help of hundreds of instructors, tutors, mentors, counselors, parents, and program staff, students have the opportunity to:
The program also helped graduating seniors grapple with college and financial aid applications. By the end of the program’s first year, nearly all of the 47 NJ GEAR UP seniors had been accepted to a college or university (40 in New Jersey and 6 out of state).
Student by student, NJ GEAR UP is helping New Jersey young people realize their dreams of a future that includes a college education. As the program kicks off its second year, new 7th and 8th graders will be recruited while high schoolers continue to develop their academic skills and focus on preparing for college.
To link to the NJ GEAR UP website, click here.
|Participating Institutions and Partners|
Rowan University — CHAMP/GEAR UP
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Rutgers University, and New Jersey Institute of Technology —Consortium for Pre-College Education in Greater Newark/GEAR UP
Mercer County Community College — Project SMILE/GEAR UP
New Jersey City University — College Bound/GEAR UP
NJ Higher Education Student Assistance Authority
Educational Opportunity Fund
NJ Department of Education
Michelle Kateman and Tedd Konya, the first students to serve full terms as voting members of the Commission on Higher Education, were sworn in on September 22.
Ms. Kateman, a student at Ramapo College of New Jersey, expects to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, as well as her certification in secondary education in 2001. She is active in the Ramapo College Student Government Association, and served as president of the college’s Political Forum and as president of the Alpha Phi Omega Community Service Organization. She also tutors students with learning disabilities. Ms. Kateman received several awards for her commitment to service and is listed in Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities.
Mr. Konya, a biology major at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, currently serves as president of the university’s Student Government Organization and as a general member of the Resident Student Association. He is captain of the FDU cross-country team and is also active in the Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity.
Coincidentally, both of the students hail from East Brunswick.
The students were nominated by their campus student government organizations for appointment to the Commission by Governor Christine Todd Whitman. They will serve one-year terms.
The Commission is recommending greater state investment in New Jersey’s colleges and universities, directly linking the budget request to higher education’s role in addressing the economic and social challenges facing the state.
The Commission’s budget policy statement for FY 2002 is slated for adoption at the October 27 meeting. It is accompanied this year by a supporting document that bolsters the budget request with extensive data and information articulating higher education’s integral role in expanding the economy, developing the workforce, preparing future leaders, and extending opportunities to all New Jerseyans.