Thursday, August 28, 2014

Grant funding will continue through 2019, Farahi and McMenamin credit federal legislators

College students at Union County College and Kean University will receive a big boost, thanks to a just-announced five-year, $3.25 million federal Title V grant.

The award enables Union County College to partner with Kean University to develop a multi-faceted program focusing on increasing the success rates of students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) disciplines.

Title V funds are allocated through U.S. Department of Education to strengthen institutions that serve a high proportion of Hispanic and low-income students. The grant funds institutional capacity to benefit all students, but especially colleges like Union, which has a long record of achievement as a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution.

One of the key goals of this Cooperative Grant with Kean will be to develop a pathway from the associate degree at Union to a bachelor’s degree at Kean for Title V students in STEM disciplines.

Union’s President Margaret McMenamin said, “The program is in line with federal educational priorities. President Obama is calling for a diverse 21st-century, STEM-trained workforce. To that end, our partnership with Kean University will develop a strong model of transfer and articulation to promote the success of Title V students in STEM education. Once these students earn an associate degree at Union and a bachelor’s degree at Kean, they will enter the workforce in a STEM-related career or as a teacher of STEM disciplines.”

The project has multiple components. One objective is to improve student retention, graduation, and transfer rates. To accomplish this goal, Kean and Union will create a joint-admissions agreement involving these Title V students.

“With Union County College’s designation as an HSI and Kean University’s selection as one of the top 5 most diverse colleges in the country, Kean and Union County College are natural partners for this Title V grant,” said Dawood Farahi, Kean University president. “Both colleges have a long history of serving our region’s diverse student population and providing our students with access and opportunity.”

One of the more innovative features of the project that Kean will provide is a ‘Possibility Zone’ which will afford Title V students with faculty mentors for STEM research activities.

The project’s other major focus is on improving the way faculty teach STEM disciplines. Union’s Chief Academic Officer Maris Lown explains that the project funds “professional development that advances innovative pedagogy. This includes providing dedicated learning laboratories and equipment to offer students hands-on inquiry-based discovery in learning.”

Grant funding will continue through 2019. Farahi and McMenamin credit federal legislators (Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker, and Congressmen Albio Sires and Leonard Lance), State legislators (Senator Raymond Lesniak, Assemblyman Jerry Green), and the Union County Freeholder Chairman Christopher Hudak for supporting this grant.

“Our elected officials understand and appreciate the value of education in turning around the lives of the County students who are most at risk due to financial hardships,” said President McMenamin. “Title V is a pathway to a better life for hundreds of Union County College students each year.”

Monday, August 18, 2014

Appointed vs. Elected

Dan, after reading your blog today on Plainfield Today, I recognize the importance of not involving myself in negative dialogue with anyone in the City. This City has enough problems that are more of a concern to the citizens of Plainfield. I have made it clear not to engage in anything negative. It serves no purpose. I have dedicated myself in the past month to only concentrate on the important issues that that’s facing this City. So my advice to everyone, I am more concerned with the safety of the citizens of Plainfield. I have done this with the support of Union County and the 22nd District and elected officials, in Trenton on key issues. I am committed to working with local, county, state police, from every level of government to ensure the safety of this City. I will make this my top priority.

I find it in my duty to correct misinformation that is out there. Otherwise this misinformation could be taken as truth. To get to the point, Dan, Councilwoman Gloria Taylor was elected in the June primary by voters in the Third Ward. She won this primary, she was not appointed by me as the Chair, she was elected. A man of your caliber should know the difference between getting voted in and getting appointed in.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

'Opportunity to Compete Act' Signed into Law

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Bonnie Watson Coleman, Jerry Green, L. Grace Spencer, Benjie Wimberly and Shavonda Sumter to give all New Jerseyans the opportunity to compete for work was signed into law on Monday.
The Opportunity to Compete Act (A-1999) prohibits employers, during the initial employment application process, from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal record and from requiring a job applicant to complete an application that makes such inquiries.
“We know that eliminating barriers to employment is a key component of a sensible policy to promote growth and economic development,” said Watson Coleman (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “As a result of this law, hundreds of thousands of New Jersey residents will have access to the American Dream - a chance to rise or fall on your own merit.”
"I am constantly contacted by people who simply want an opportunity to compete," said Green (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset). "Many of these applicants get eliminated from consideration simply by marking off a box, many of them productive, creative and capable workers."
“This is a way to ensure that employers have access to a pool that they might have otherwise ignored,” said Spencer (D-Essex). “I think it’s an issue of fairness and second chances. People who have rebuilt their lives should not be forever punished. Second chances are what America is all about.”
“All anyone is asking for is the opportunity to compete,” said Wimberly (D-Passaic/Bergen). “The ability to find a job is akin to a civil right, and many people were being denied that right from the get-go because of a mistake in their past, and that’s not right.”
It serves not just the individual, but the state to allow people with criminal histories to become productive members of society,” said Sumter (D-Passaic/Bergen). Unless we want them to resort to the sort of behavior that got them in trouble in the first place, why deny them the opportunity?”

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Green Statement on Bail Reform Legislation

 (PLAINFIELD) – Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union) issued the following statement on Monday expressing his support for the bail reform package:

            “While the bail reform legislation does not go far enough for me, I am supporting these bills with the understanding that there are important pieces missing that will still have to be addressed.
            “I have made it clear to Speaker Prieto that expungement of criminal records for minor offenses is just as important. A criminal record prevents many people from finding work. When an employer sees that an applicant has a record, their application goes to the garbage. How are these folks supposed to get back on their feet and on the right track if they are unable to support themselves?
            “I also hope that language is added to make the judicial process more equitable in general so that people with lesser resources don’t get the short end of the stick.
            “I’ve been assured by the Speaker that my concerns will be taken into consideration, and I hope for all those individuals who would be impacted by this, that we come to a positive conclusion.”