Heldrich Center’s Carl Van Horn and Maria Heidkamp appointed to N.J. governor-elect’s transition team

New Jersey's incoming governor will rely on experts from Rutgers University's Heldrich Center for Workforce Development to create an economic strategy to shape the state's future.

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The Heldrich Center's Dr. Carl Van Horn and Maria Heidkamp are committee co-chairs on Governor-elect Phil Murphy's transition team. Photo – U.S. Embassy via Rutgers University and Jonathan Barenboim/WorkingNation

Helping New Jersey become a 21st-century economy was a key component of Governor-elect Phil Murphy’s campaign and he has selected two transition team members familiar to WorkingNation readers to shape his economic agenda.

Rutgers University’s John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development Director Carl Van Horn, Ph.D., and the New Start Career Network Director Maria Heidkamp were appointed on November 17 to Murphy’s Transition2018 team. They join a list of more than 20 leaders selected from Rutgers and are part of the 500-plus team who will advise the governor-elect on the incoming administration’s policy priorities.

This past August, Dr. Van Horn and Heidkamp shared their insight on improving the employment opportunities for long-term unemployed older workers at WorkingNation’s and Heldrich Center’s Re-skilling the Mid-career Workforce Town Hall. The event was taped for broadcast for New Jersey public television (NJTV) and will air on December 27 at 8 p.m.

RELATED STORY: Preview WorkingNation and Heldrich Center’s Town Hall TV special

Van Horn will serve as senior adviser to the transition for strategy and policy and co-chair of the Stronger and Fairer Economy Committee and Heidkamp will co-chair the Labor and Workforce Development Committee. Ahead of Murphy’s January 16 inauguration, they will provide their expertise in addressing the systemic economic problems affecting the state’s economy.

While the governor-elect contends with an economy which was significantly impacted by the Great Recession and a recovery which has lagged behind the national growth rate, he has promised solutions in the form of reviving New Jersey’s innovation economy and strengthening the middle class.

As reported by InsiderNJ, Murphy said that Transition2018 “will ensure my administration is ready to deal with the serious challenges that lay ahead of us. I thank them all for serving, and look forward to working with the entire team to create a stronger, fairer economy in New Jersey that lifts up our middle class and creates economic opportunity for all.”

One issue which stagnated the state’s economic growth and was the focus of our Town Hall was long-term unemployment, especially for older workers. New Jersey has one of the highest rates of long-term unemployed workers in the nation and Van Horn and Heidkamp discussed with our Town Hall audience how the Heldrich Center’s New Start Career Network is tackling this issue.

The New Start Career Network, which recently celebrated its two-year anniversary, was featured in WorkingNation’s Do Something Awesome mini-documentary When Finding Your Job is the Job. The NSCN offers older job-seekers, like documentary subject Joe Konopka, opportunities to rejoin the workforce through job fairs, skill-building seminars and individual counseling which targets the specific needs of this demographic.

RELATED STORY: New Start Career Network to host upcoming job fair on Nov. 30

One way for the governor to strengthen the middle class is getting this experienced workforce back into meaningful and sustainable careers. Both Van Horn and Heidkamp are instrumental in creating the foundation for success in this regard. By drawing from the knowledge obtained through the two decades of research done at the Heldrich Center and the proven solutions offered by the New Start Career Network, the governor-elect will have two valuable transition members to help him redirect New Jersey’s economic future.

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