MIDDLESEX COUNTY WORKFORCE INVESTMENT BOARD
April 24, 2007, 9:00 a.m.
Community Learning Center - Auditorium
PRESENT: George Echeverri, Lisa Fiore, Dan Frankel, Adrienne Keaton, Marlene Lederman,
Diane Lemcoe, Ghislaine Lespinasse-Bond, Karen McCloud-Hjazeh, Jeanne Mulkeen, William
Nagy, James Perry, Patrick Piegari, Myrna Pinckney, Jill Schiff, Tom Seilheimer, Carl Spataro,
and Henrietta Wilson (representing Angela Mackaronis)
STAFF: Jane Brady, Gary Cooper and Patti Seip
Call to Order
Jeanne Mulkeen, Chair, called the meeting to order. Notice of this meeting was made pursuant
to the Open Public Meetings Act, NJSA 10:4-10.
Ms. Mulkeen informed the members that rather than take up valuable meeting time being
updated on recent issues and activities, staff has created an “Activities/Accomplishments”
document which would provide an update on activities since the last Board meeting. A copy of
the “Activities/Accomplishments” document was included in everyone’s meeting packet. She
encouraged members to read this at their convenience. Anyone with questions on any of the
items should contact Jane Brady.
Ms. Mulkeen reported that the WIB’s Systems Performance Committee is comprised of the
Chairs of all the WIB committees. The purpose of this committee is to provide oversight of local
programs and activities of the One-Stop service delivery system. As the Executive Committee is
also comprised of all the WIB Chairs, it was decided by the Executive Committee that the
responsibilities of the Systems Performance Committee should be transferred to the Executive
Committee, rather than have the same group of people meet twice. This change must be
reflected in our By-Laws. The By-Laws Committee will need to meet and approve this change
before submitting to the full Board for final approval. The By-Laws Membership Committee will
be meeting very shortly to review this matter, along with other items.
There being no quorum, the minutes of the January 23, 2007 meeting will be presented for
approval at the July Board meeting.
Report on Healthcare Sector Study:
Jane Brady reminded members of the decision made by the Board in January 2006 of the four
(4) occupational areas for staff to focus on in terms of training that would have the most
impact. Healthcare was the first choice made by the Board. As a result, staff conducted
research to determine employment statistics for healthcare occupation positions within
Middlesex County and the state. Ms. Brady reported that information was obtained from WIA
training providers (public, private and on-line), as well as job descriptions received from
hospitals and websites, and curriculum of training programs on the State’s Eligible Trainer
Provider List (ETPL). Research has concluded that healthcare occupations are still increasing
and will continue to increase until 2012.
Members were provided a powerpoint presentation on the healthcare sector research conducted
by staff. Members were asked to consider the challenges in preparing a trained workforce, as
noted in the Heldrich “Ready for the Job” research, which include: preparing skilled, qualified
entry-level workers; better aligning education and training programs with the employer’s needs;
attracting and recruiting workers to occupations that are experiencing shortages of workers;
and upgrading the skills of current workers. Recommendations from the Heldrich report,
previously sent to the members, are also to be considered as the WIB plans action for this
Jane Brady indicated that she has met with three out of the four (4) major hospitals within
Middlesex County (Saint Peters University Hospital, JFK Hospital and Raritan Bay Hospital) to
obtain the healthcare positions they see as most needed. Most evident in their response is the
need for technicians. Therefore, staff obtained information on the following technician
occupations: Pharmacy Technician, Radiology Technician, Medical Lab Technician,
Phlebotomy/EKG Technician, Respiratory Therapist Assistant and Physical Therapist Assistant.
Salaries, future job growth and pertinent information were provided for all the tech positions.
Ms. Brady indicated that hospitals no longer hire physical therapy technicians and respiratory
therapist aids/assistants, as they now hire only therapists, which require at least a four (4) year
Ms. Brady indicated that a serious issue that needs to be addressed are the variations in
training programs approved by the state; e.g., a Pharmacy Technician – Certified training
program at UCC consists of 30 hours; Impetus Careers consists of 321 hours and Lincoln
Technical Institute requires 720 hours. When the state was questioned about this disparity,
they did not have an answer. Jill Schiff indicated that two different entities (N.J. Department of
Education and N.J. Department of Labor) could be approving the service providers, and that
could be reason for the difference in curriculum hours. Jane Brady agreed that could be a
possibility. However, a standardized curriculum needs to be developed. She, therefore, has
asked the State if a Task Force can be created, with the assistance and input of the four (4)
hospitals that provided information for our study. The state has expressed enthusiasm over this
Lisa Fiore suggested that employers be encouraged to provide tuition reimbursement in order
for their employees to move up the career ladder.
Ms. Brady suggested that middle-school students visit hospitals to learn of healthcare career
opportunities available to them. By approaching middle schoolers, youth will have an idea of
what courses they should take when selecting their courses for high school. Hospitals
indicated, however, that these students are too young, and they would not be interested in
sponsoring such days.
She stated that Gary Cooper and Patricia Schmidt from the WIA office, spend a lot of time
compiling and sending information to high schools. A copy of the “411 Youth Flyer” was
included in everyone’s packet. Dan Frankel stated that this was a great flyer and contained
valuable information, but in his opinion, most parents would never see the flyer and obtain the
information it contains in order to help guide their children. He also expressed that, in his
opinion, high school guidance counselors have no idea about the current workplace and job
market, and most of the counselors spend their time guiding students towards college, whether
or not college is suitable for the student. Members agreed that getting information, such as the
411 flyer to the parents, would be helpful, but a very difficult task.
Dr. Karen McCloud-Hjazeh indicated that everyone wants to be a doctor (or other high level
degree occupation) - not a technician, yet not everyone is suited for the demands and
requirements to become a doctor. There needs to be a “reality check” by the student before
deciding on their future. She further suggested that the public relations piece is critical and the
dignity of work should be stressed, rather than assuming college is the answer for everyone.
A discussion was held on the nursing program teacher shortage, which has resulted in a long
wait list at county colleges. The teacher shortage is due to county colleges not being able to
compete with the salaries that hospitals or research facilities pay their nurses. Tom Seilheimer
suggested that perhaps retired nurses could be used to teach classes at the colleges. Ms.
Brady said another possibility would be using nurses from hospital staff by giving them the time
off, yet paying them to teach. This is currently being done in other parts of the country in
order to meet the nursing shortage demand. Hospitals that have bought into this plan have
benefited as the nurses that are trained are then employed by the hospital.
Jane Brady stated that the curriculum in high schools has become so intense, that only a few
schools continue to hold Career Awareness Day for their students, as they do not have the
spare time during the day. Lisa Fiore agreed, indicating that she had recently attended such an
event, and it appeared that only a few students were taking advantage of the information
In summary, the following items were suggested:
• staff should research other funding sources to pay for instructors’ salaries;
• work on the concept of “dignity of work” to emphasize certain careers are respectable -- not
just college degree positions;
• work on getting information to parents in order for them to help guide their children to the
correct career path;
• guidance counselors need to have accurate, reality based information in terms of the
current workplace and demand occupations;
• curriculum development standardized for training classes; and
• explore the possibility of a health care institute, using Middlesex County College and the
Middlesex County Vo-Tech High School as the primary providers.
Child Development Associate Program:
Jane Brady announced that the State did not approve the funding of the Child Development
Associate (CDA) program. They refuse to pay stipends, and without the stipends, the program
will not work, as the individuals in the program need income while in school. The State also
wants a matching of funds, and it is not possible for non-profit daycares to provide a match.
She has asked the State to provide their decision in writing in order to seek alternative funding
sources. Verizon has contributed $4,000 to help support this program for equipment
purchases. She will keep members updated on this matter.
Requested Reports for the WIB:
Members were provided a copy of the Performance Matters chart for the program year 7/1/06 –
6/30/07 which indicated the department, at this time, is exceeding its performance standards.
The only area of concern is for Older Youth and Younger Youth. However, these figures should
change once the youth programs conclude at the end of June and the numbers are obtained
from the service providers.
The Service Matrix Report for Program Year 06 was also provided to the members. This report
shows the number of clients served and the characteristics of those clients.
Program Year Data for 2005-2006 report listed the various types of training provided during the
past program year, number trained for that occupation and number placed after training.
One-Stop Operators Report:
Adrienne Keaton reported that 353 people have been placed in occupational training programs
during this program year. The department has received additional Dislocated Worker funding
which will result in additional clients being served. The Adult Basic Education/ESL program has
served 154 clients. When the clients finish this program, they can be placed into an Individual
Training Account (ITA) program.
With regard to the TANF Reauthorization, Ms. Keaton stated that staff will be attending four (4)
half-day sessions to bring them up-to-date on what to expect once the Reauthorization takes
effect on July 1st.
She also reported that the Unemployment Insurance (UI) offices statewide are in the middle of
redesigning their system. The main difference in the system is less UI staff will be present in
the office, as ninety-eight (98%) of the people submit their claims for UI via on-line or by
telephone. The State has been asked to provide at least a skeleton crew in order to answer
any questions the public may have when visiting the One-Stop Center.
In the absence of the Chair, Mary Jean Guidette, Jane Brady reported that staff will be making
necessary changes to the literacy brochures. Each provider listed on the brochure will be
contacted to confirm their information is correct. If there are any substantial changes, the
brochures will be printed in the five different languages. Staff is also looking into printing the
brochures in Arabic and Korean, as the East Brunswick Library and CLC staff has indicated a
need for the brochures in these languages.
She announced the disturbing news of the closing of Edison Adult School as of July 1st, as well
as Highland Park Adult School.
A letter of appreciation was sent to Assemblyman Joe Vas of Perth Amboy for his support in
proposing legislation for a specific budget line for adult schools. Members will be kept updated
on this matter.
Marlene Lederman provided an update on the Title II Literacy Consortium Grant, indicating that
the grant application is due May 18th. The original consortium, consisting of New Brunswick,
South River, East Brunswick and Perth Amboy, will again apply for Title II Literacy funding.
One (1) consortium will be awarded funding in each WIB area. The allocation of funding was
distributed according to the survey of needs based on the last census. The State has asked
that each funding recipient maintain a waiting list of people who could not be placed in the
program due to a lack of funding. The Consortium will comply with this request.
Youth Investment Council:
In the absence of the Chair, Donna Jennings, Gary Cooper provided the Youth Investment
Council (YIC) report. A copy of the YIC goals for the 07-08 program year were provided to the
members for their information.
A report of high school dropouts within Middlesex County for the school year beginning
September 2006 to May 2007 was provided. The report indicates that New Brunswick has the
highest number of high school dropouts with 163 reported. The Borough of Carteret had a high
dropout rate based on their low student population. Jane Brady pointed out that this report
does not include Perth Amboy’s high school dropouts, as they have not provided the requested
Mr. Cooper informed the members that the NJ Department of Education has a website which
includes a link to NJ School Report Cards. This site contains very interesting facts about the
various school districts. In looking at this site, it was noticed that 20% of the students from
New Brunswick High School graduated via the Special Review Assessment (SRA) process. SRA
is another method for students, who do not pass the HSPA (high school proficiency assessment)
test, to obtain their diploma. However, SRA will be discontinued in 2010, which could lead to
more high school dropouts. Dr. Piegari stated that the N.J. Department of Education will be
replacing SRA with another system that will provide more oversight.
Dr. Karen McCloud-Hjazeh reported that the committee met on February 20th and discussed
many issues, several included on the “WIB Activities/Accomplishments” document included in
everyone’s folder. At this meeting, the committee was presented with information by staff
regarding the pharmaceutical field previously approved by the Board as one of the sectoral
strategies to be researched for possible program development. It has been determined that the
areas of most growth within this field are those positions that require a higher level of training
or skill level than that which the department can provide or effectuate a current change.
Therefore, it was recommended that the committee present to this board that it reconsider the
pharmaceutical field sector and instead look at the next industry that was previously identified,
which was the computer or information technology field.
Jane Brady stated that Board members will be provided information on this matter at the next
meeting in July, along with a request to formally approve information technology to replace the
previously approved pharmaceutical field sector.
Business Services Committee:
Jane Brady reminded members that the Business Services Committee was discontinued due to a
lack of participation of business leaders. WIB staff are now using the Middlesex County
Regional Chamber of Commerce as a way of connecting with the business community. Ms.
Brady and other WIB staff will attend Chamber meetings four (4) times a year in order to meet
with the 40-50 business owners and gain their input, as well as letting them know of the
services available to them at the One-Stop Career Center.
Dan Frankel, Vice-Chair of the Committee informed the members that the By-Laws/Membership
Committee would be meeting within the next few weeks to prepare a Slate of Officers for the
next program year, as well as consider any other changes/revisions to the By-Laws. Anyone
interested in running for President, Vice-President or Secretary of the Board, or would like to
nominate anyone, should call Nina Rios-Rivera or Rosemarie Strawn, Chair of the Committee.
- Business Service Representative (BSR) Reports: George Echeverri, Manager of the
New Brunswick Division of Program and Services, reported that the BSRs go out into
the field as well as make numerous telephone calls to employers. Ann Schiadaresis,
the BSR for the New Brunswick office, visited over 25 different companies from
January to March 2007, met with new companies coming into the area; completed
customized training paperwork and obtained numerous job openings. In addition,
Lynne Camp from the Business Resource Center office in New Brunswick arranged
for twenty-seven (27) employers to visit the One-Stop Center to recruit for
employees. She also made the necessary arrangements for a Small Business Tax
Workshop to be presented at the One-Stop Center, which was well attended by
local, small businesses.
- Newsletter: Gary Cooper indicated that the latest edition of the department
newsletter is being printed now and will be forwarded to members once available.
- Press Articles: Copies of newspaper articles were included in the members’ packets
as well as an article on the recent Family Friendly Business Award which was
presented at the 2nd Annual Economic Summit held on March 13th.
Self-Assessment Results – Part Three:
As a follow-up to the National Association of Workforce Boards anonymous survey completed by
Board members several months ago, Jane Brady responded to 40% of the members who did
not know if “local workforce development service agencies see the board as a neutral broker
representing the needs of employers”. In response to this concern, she informed the members
that most of the workforce development agencies are partners at the One-Stop Center. Also, a
Workfirst Collaborative Committee, chaired by Adrienne Keaton, meets on a regular basis to
make sure everyone is working together.
Another concern expressed by members on the survey was the uncertainty of whether “the
board regularly seeks out the opinions of jobseekers, employers, elected officials, program
agencies, board members and staff about the work of the board and the workforce
development system.” Ms. Brady informed the members that opinions are obtained from the
evaluation forms that are obtained of jobseekers in order to get feedback on how to improve
our services as well as information received from the various WIB committee meetings. In
addition, assessment surveys are completed by clients once they have completed a training
program. This survey provides the clients an opportunity to express their opinions on the
quality of their training experience.
Ms. Brady also mentioned that staff are in the process of visiting training provider schools, on a
surprise basis, in order to ensure that the clients are receiving the training that should be
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.