Center Highlights




Carl Van Horn
Carl Van Horn

Heldrich Center Survey Offers Comprehensive Profile of Nation's Unemployed

The John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development issued a nationwide Work Trends survey of 1,200 unemployed Americans that presented an in-depth look at the long-lasting financial, as well as psychological, effects of the recession. Released during Labor Day 2009, the report presented one of the first and most comprehensive national scientific samples of unemployed Americans affected by the economic downturn. Entitled "The Anguish of Unemployment," the report was prominently featured in national media, including The New York Times’ prestigious Sunday Review section and by columnist Bob Herbert. Heldrich Center Director Carl Van Horn was featured on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and on NPR’s Radio Times to discuss the report.

The survey showed how the 2007-2009 recession may have long-lasting financial and psychological effects on millions of people, and therefore on the nation’s social fabric. Two thirds of respondents said they were depressed, over half had borrowed money from friends or relatives, and a quarter had missed mortgage or rent payments. In addition, hundreds of verbatim comments were collected during the survey from the unemployed, many of whom used raw, forceful language to describe harrowing financial and family problems.

The study was directed by Van Horn and Professor Cliff Zukin, senior fellow at the Heldrich Center, and fielded by Knowledge Networks, which contacted a nationally representative sample of the recently unemployed between August 6-12, 2009.


The Heldirch Center issued two other national Work Trends survey reports -- “The Distressed American Worker,” which summarized workers’ views on the economy, and “Healthy at Work?: Unequal Access to Employer Wellness Programs.” More than half of the respondents surveyed in the first report said they believed the economy was undergoing fundamental and lasting changes, and 29 percent expected layoffs at their workplace within the next 12 months. The “Healthy at Work” survey report found that 70 percent of working adults think employers should offer programs that address important health issues such as diet, exercise, stress reduction, and how to manage chronic illnesses.


The center-led National Technical Assistance & Research Leadership Center to Promote Employment and Economic Independence for Adults with Disabilities (NTAR Leadership Center) hosted a national gathering in Baltimore in April. State policymakers from Maryland, Minnesota, Connecticut and Virginia and from the District of Columbia discussed how to better align workforce and economic development efforts with disability employment initiatives. The $2.3 million federal project has led to the creation of a web site resource and a series of research briefs by national experts seeking to improve the employment rate of adults with disabilities.


Prompted by the Heldrich Center’s popular research brief “Preparing the Workforce for a ‘Green Jobs’ Economy,” a subcommittee of the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee invited Executive Director Kathy Krepcio to testify.



Center for Urban Policy Research
The Center for Urban Policy Research published a major research study for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as part of national efforts to expand the nation’s inventory of affordable housing. Entitled “A National Survey of Local Land-Use Regulations: Steps Toward a Beginning," the study will help HUD create a national database of state and local land-use regulatory practices.



Initiative for Regional and Community Transformation

The state Attorney General’s office contracted with IRCT to conduct a three-year, $300,000 evaluation of YouthBuild programs in New Jersey. YouthBuild is a national intermediary and intervention program that trains at-risk youth in rebuilding communities while teaching them life skills.


IRCT hosted a group of national funders in Mobile, Alabama to continue focus on rebuilding the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast region. The center collaborated with the American Prospect to produce “After Katrina: Redemption & Rebuilding,” a special issue circulated to policy makers in Washington, the philanthropic community and the general public.


Youth Build



Professional Development Institute

The New Jersey Council on the Arts awarded the Professional Development Institute (PDI) a $20,000 grant to create a "cultural vitality index" for the state of New Jersey. The index will measure indicators of cultural development and planning in the state’s 566 municipalities and 21 counties. PDI will also produce an annual report assessing cultural development trends and conditions, as well as identifying model practices in New Jersey.



NJ Sustainable State Institute
The NJ Sustainable State Institute, NJ Future and the Mayors Committee for a Green Future co-sponsored a July workshop to familiarize municipal and county officials with a new state grants program, the Local Government Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program. The workshop focused specifically on the development and implementation of climate-friendly design guidelines and zoning standards that allow for compact, walkable mixed-use development and/or transit-oriented development



Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center

The Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center won its first contract from the Transportation Research Board, submitting the winning proposal for a study that will establish a methodology to estimate the economic development impacts resulting from investments in transit projects. The methodology will be designed for use by state and local transportation agencies seeking federal capital support.




Rutgers Center for Green Building

The Rutgers Center for Green Building was among a select group of recipients of a Green Building Research Fund award from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Center was awarded $150,000 for the Investigating Opportunities for Improving Building Performance Through Simulation of Occupant and Operator Behavior research project.



NJ HIV Community Planning Support Development Initiative

Memebrs of the NJ HIV Community Planning Support Development Initiative, a joint undertaking between the state and the Bloustein School, delivered a prestigious podium presentation regarding the Jersey SISTA's program at the 2009 National HIV Prevention Conference held in Atlanta. Sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control, the annual conference drew 3,000 participants from across the nation to focus on new developments in HIV prevention.


National Transit Institute

The National Transit Institute during FY 2009 delivered 357 courses to 7,624 students at public transit agencies across the United States. Additionally, NTI continued to distribute workplace safety and security-related pocket guides, handbooks, and videos.


NTI developed an aggressive work program and budget plan with the Federal Transit Administration that resulted in the development of nine new courses and revisions to three existing courses. NTI finished the year approximately $1 million under budget as a result of receiving supplemental grant funding to support some activities, the timing and sequencing of several development and revision efforts, and NTI’s continuing effort to deliver programs in the most cost-effective manner possible.