Center Highlights Archive


April 2009

Heldrich Center Issues Survey Report on The Distressed American Worker
The John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development issued a national survey report on the views of American workers towards the economy. It found that 23 percent of the respondents had been laid off from a job in the past three years and that 29 percent expected layoffs at their workplace within the next 12 months. One third said they believed the United States was in a depression. Click here to view the survey report; click here to view media coverage.


January 2009
BOCEP Demonstrates National, International Reach
The Bloustein Online Continuing Education Program (BOCEP) has begun attracting urban planners and other professionals from Poland to Arkansas to its Internet-based classes. Launched in 2005, BOCEP has become one of Rutgers University’s largest non-credit online continuing education programs, offering more than 20 classes in community development and social justice, economic development and real estate, planning law and legal issues, professional practice, smart growth and sustainable development, and urban design and placemaking. Click here to learn more.


September 2008
VTC, BCSR Survey New Jersey Residents on Emergency Preparedness
The Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) and the Bloustein Center for Survey Research have launched a statewide survey of New Jersey residents to determine how well they believe they are prepared to respond to an emergency and evacuate the area in the event of a natural disaster or terrorist attack. The surveys are being conducted as part of a VTC contract with the NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management. Click here to learn more.


July 2008
J&J Awards Heldrich Center $100,000 to Undertake 2 Workforce Initiatives
The John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development has won a $100,000 grant from Johnson & Johnson to manage two workforce initiatives designed to strengthen health care services in New Jersey and nationally. One is to expand awareness among high school students in the greater New Brunswick area of career opportunities in the life sciences; the other is to conduct a nationwide survey of American workers regarding their knowledge, awareness and use of workplace wellness programs and policies, such as stress management, weight loss and smoking cessation.


July 2008
PDI Awarded State Grant to Develop 'Cultural Vitality Index' for New Jersey
The New Jersey Council on the Arts has awarded the Profesesional Development Institute (PDI) a $20,000 grant to create a "cultural vitality index" for the state of New Jersey. The index will be similar to the Center for Government Services' Legislative District Data Book, measuring 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.



June 2008
NJDOT Hires VTC to Advise State on Renewal of Federal Transportation Bill
The New Jersey Department of Transportation has hired the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) to help the state prepare for next year's scheduled reauthorization of the federal transportation program. VTC will research and recommend positions regarding key issues affecting New Jersey that Congress will address in the reauthorization. Federal funding typically covers about half of all New Jersey's annual highway and transit capital funding, amounting this year to nearly $1.6 billion.


June 2008
BCSR Wins State Contracts on Autism, Drug and Alcohol Abuse, At-Risk Pregnancy
The New Jersey Department of Human Services has awarded the Bloustein Center for Survey Research (BCSR) a $135,970 contract to conduct a New Jersey Drug and Alcohol Household Survey. The survey will provide statewide estimates on the level of substance abuse and the need and demand for treatment services. In April, the state Department of Health and Senior Services (NJHSS) asked BCSR to conduct a Pregnancy Risk Assessment Management Study, part of a national effort to address issues of low birthweight and infant mortality. The study was funded at $155,017. In February, NJHSS awarded BCSR a $138,553 contract to modify the Birth Defects Reporting System it has been developing for the state by adding a component to specifically track the incidence of autism among children.


May 2008
National Science Foundation Calls on Heldrich to Help Increase Pool of Minority Economists
The John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development will manage a mentoring program as part of the Economics Pipeline Project, an ongoing initiative to expand the pool of minority students interested in pursuing a PhD in economics. The mentors will help students handle critical stages in their career development, such as preparing for graduate school, completing core theory and field exams, initiating their dissertation research and ultimately, finding employment. The National Science Foundation has awarded the Heldrich Center $150,000 over two years to manage the program.


May 2008
Houston Metro Hires NTI for Bus, Light Rail Security Training
The Harris County (TX) Metropolitan Transit Authority has contracted with the National Transit Institute to train its 2,000 Houston Metro bus and light rail employees on system security awareness, including terrorism activity recognition and response. In April, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) hired NTI to tailor a similar program sepcifically for its bus system employees. The two contracts total over $500,000.


April 2008
Brownfields Center Hosts Tri-State Conference on Remediation, Community Revitalization
New Jersey Commissioners Joseph Doria of the Department of Community Affairs and Lisa Jackson of the Department of Environmental Protection headlined a daylong conference hosted by the National Center for Neighborhood and Brownfields Redevelopment on the role of brownfields remediation in community revitalization. Planners and community development professionals, researchers, and students were invited to learn about a program to build capacity in community-based organizations and CDCs to participate in brownfields redevelopments. Workshops were conducted with regional expert panels.


April 2008
NJDOT Renews Major Contracts with VTC
The New Jersey Department of Transportation has renewed its annual contracts with the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center to continuing running the state's Bicycle & Pedestrian, and Safe Routes to School resource centers. NJDOT awarded $404,561 to VTC to manage the Bicycle & Pedestrian Resource Center for the seventh consecutive year, and year two funding of $250,000 to continue running the Safe Routes to School Resource Center.


March 2008
CEEEP Enters Year Three of NJ Energy Master Plan Work
The NJ Board of Public Utilities has renewed its contract with the Center for Energy, Economic and Environmental Policy (CEEEP) for a third year to help develop the state's Energy Master Plan. CEEEP's work has included extensive data collection, modeling, and analysis of the the electricity, heating and transportation sectors. The third year contract is valued at over $200,000.


February 2008
HIV Prevention Initiative Wins Over $500,000 In New Jersey Funding
The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services has provided $562,799 to support the HIV Prevention Community Planning Support and Development Initiative (CPSDI), a joint program between the state and the Bloustein School. The project is designed to improve the state's HIV prevention capabilities by increasing the impact of planning body members in their advisory roles and providers in their service roles.


January 2008
Preservation Oklahoma Turns to CUPR for Economic Impact Expertise
Preservation Oklahoma Inc. has asked the Center for Urban Policy Research to document the economic contribution that historic preservation provides to the state and its local communities. The study will examine the economic contributions of historic rehabilitation and heritage tourism, as well as how historic designation impacts property values.



October 2007
NJSSI Releases Results of Energy Sustainability Project
The New Jersey Sustainable State Institute and the Rutgers Innovation Studies Initiative co-hosted a daylong conference on global warming solutions where they released the results of the New Jersey Energy Sustainability Project, a major research and stakeholder outreach process that developed indicators and targets to guide climate and energy policy. Dean James Hughes, Ralph LaRossa, president and CEO of PSE&G, NJ Board of Public Utilities President Jeanne Fox and Bob Ceberio, executive director of the NJ Meadowlands Commission, were among the featured speakers.


September 2007
NPR's Day to Day features Carl Van Horn
Carl Van Horn, Director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development was featured on NPR's "Day to Day" program in a segment titled "'Marketplace' Report: The State of U.S. Workers" Click here for the transcript. Click here to listen.


July 2007
Martin Robins takes part in international Urban Summit hosted by Rockefeller Foundation, Brookings Institution
Martin Robins, Senior Fellow with the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center, was an invited guest of the Rockefeller Foundation and the Brookings Institution at an Urban Summit held in Bellagio, Italy. Robins took part in a session on metropolitan transportation and infrastructure reform in the United States. Click here to learn more.

May 2007
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awards $3 million grant to Heldrich Center
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded a $3 million grant to the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development to honor the lifetime service of John Heldrich. Click here to learn more.


February 2007
Local Public Finance Database
The Center for Urban Policy Research, in collaboration with the Center of Government Services, has assembled the first Local Public Finance Database, providing property tax and local spending data for New Jersey's 21 counties, 566 municipalities, and more than 600 school districts. The data can also be viewed for the municipalities comprising the New Jersey Meadowlands, Pinelands, Highlands, and Abbott school district areas.

Click here for Excel Spreadsheet (12 MB)


January 2007
Martin Robins on National Public Radio segment about Amtrak
Martin Robins, Director of the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center was included in an NPR report on the future of Amtrak and the Northeast Corridor. David M. Laney, Chairman of the Amtrak Board of Directors, who was a guest speaker here in December, was also featured in the report.
podcast Listen to "Amtrak Urged to Bolster Service in Northeast" on NPR site
podcast Watch David M. Laney's "Amtrak and U.S. Intercity Passenger Rail: Prospecting for a Future"



December 2006
Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center Receives NJ DOT Contract
The New Jersey Department of Transportation has awarded the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center a $15,000 contract to study New Jersey’s system of public and private heliports. The research, which will be conducted by Director Martin E. Robins and Ph.D. student Robert Checchio, will study the effectiveness of the current state policy of managing these aeronautical resources in meeting the needs of business and personal travelers.


November 2006
National Center for Neighborhood and Brownfields Redevelopment Receives Grant
The Dodge Foundation awarded the National Center for Neighborhood and Brownfields Redevelopment $20,000 for the initial phase of a project in the New Jersey Highlands. The goal of this first phase is to develop a dialogue between NJDEP and the Highlands Council on the use of green building and other innovative technologies to address water quality issues associated with failing septic systems in the Highlands Preservation Area. If successful, the result would be an MOA between them that would provide a platform for expanding the use of these concepts into new development that is now severely restricted because of water quality concerns in more than half of the Highlands region.


November 2006
Stuart Meck Co-Authors New American Planning Association Report
The American Planning Association has just published a new Planning Advisory Service report coauthored by Center for Government Services Director Stuart Meck titled An Economic Development Toolbox:  Strategies and Methods, PAS Report No. 541.  The report also cites publications of various Rutgers faculty members (among them Greenberg, Burchell, Listokin, and Krueckeberg).The report is especially suitable for teaching economic development to graduate students, or for training local officials. Click here for site.


July 2006
New Online Planning and Zoning Resource Center

The Center for Government Services has launched its new Planning and Zoning Resource Center providing local officials easy online access to state laws, regulations and other documents they need to perform their work. The Resource Center was created in response to a state law requiring training for all municipal planning and zoning board of adjustment members. To visit the Resource Center, click here.


July 2006
NTI Gains Full Federal Funding
The Federal Transit Administration awarded the National Transit Institute a $4,257,000 grant for Rutgers FY 2007; the full amount approved by Congress. In its reauthorization of the federal transportation bill in 2005, Congress stipulated that NTI remain housed at Rutgers. In July, National Public Radio featured NTI's anti-terror training program for transit systems on All Things Considered.


July 2006
Heldrich Center, State Agency Launch 'Ready for the Job II'
The Heldrich Center and the New Jersey State Employment and Training Commission have launched Ready for the Job II, an initiative that will refocus ongoing research on the workforce skill needs of industries important to New Jersey’s economic future. The new effort will explore how emerging workplace trends affect the skill requirements of jobs at all levels of New Jersey’s high-tech innovation economy. A final report, to be released in August 2006, will give New Jersey policymakers and other stakeholders the knowledge and tools they need to improve education and workforce systems for the state’s workers.


June 2006
New Professional Development Institute Created
The Professional Development Institute (PDI) was created in June within the Center for Government Services to promote better continuing education and improve the work of practitioners. The Institute will provide technical assistance in online education to other Centers in the School and oversee two existing professional development initiatives:  Bloustein Online Continuing Education for Planners and The Leading Institute.  PDI will also explore issues that enhance or hinder the professional development of those who work in planning or public policy.


May 2006
VTC Publishes Third Issue of Transit-Friendly Development
The Alan M.Voorhees Transportation Center published the third issue of its Transit-Friendly Development e-newsletter in May and hosted its second statewide Transit Village Symposium. VTC has become a national leader in its research and evaluation of new development anchored around train and bus stations.


March 2006
CEEEP Issues First Report from Strategic Issues Forum
The Center for Energy, Economic and Environmental Policy (CEEEP) in March published the first report from its Strategic Issues Forum, New Jersey's Energy Infrastructure: Investing in our Future, a study outlining some criteria policymakers can use to evaluate infrastructure policy and decisions focusing on linkages with New Jersey’s energy infrastructure. An appendix catalogues the various elements of the energy infrastructure located in New Jersey.


March 2006
Brownfields Center Develops Technical Assistance Program for CDCs
The National Center for Neighborhood and Brownfields Redevelopment in March completed the first phase of  its work to develop a brownfields technical assistance program for Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and other Community-based organizations (CBOs) working in low-income neighborhoods. The work is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


January 2006
Brookings Institution Publishes Robins Report on National Freight Policy
The Brookings Institution in January published a report on National Freight Policy co-authored by VTC Director Martin Robins and Anne Strauss-Wieder. VTC has won grants for additional freight studies from the NJ Motor Truck Association and the University Transportation Research Center at CCNY.



Motor Vehicle Commission
VTC surveyed 7,500 New Jersey motorists with driving suspensions to determine whether current laws are creating unintended consequences. VTC was hired to serve as secretary to Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force.


Transit-Oriented Development
The New Jersey Department of Transportation awarded the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) a third annual contract to monitor the state’s Transit Village program. Under a contract with NJ TRANSIT, VTC also launched a new e-newsletter, Transit-Friendly Development.


New Jersey Turnpike Authority
The Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) successfully completed a study that enabled the Turnpike Authority to consolidate its planning functions with the Garden State Parkway. The Authority has retained VTC to further its work assisting the Turnpike with its planning.


Penn’s Neck Study
The Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) completed its successful public outreach program and management of the Environmental Impact Statement process for the NJ Department of Transportation’s Route 1 Penn’s Neck project. The public outreach program overcame local opposition, which had stalled the project and built consensus behind a design. VTC prepared the final Environmental Impact Statement that gained federal approval, enabling the state to advance the project to preliminary engineering.


Ped/Bike Mobility
The NJ Department of Transportation has awarded the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) a fifth annual contract to run the NJ Pedestrian and Bicycle Resource Center for $350,000. Under its current contract, VTC has undertaken research projects into legal issues involved with crosswalk safety, pedestrian infrastructure and pedestrian lighting. Also, this year, the website for the Center was relaunched at:


Safe Mobility at Any Age
With the New Jersey Foundation for Aging, VTC conducted a year-long series of policy forums to explore issues the challenges and needs of persons who cannot or choose not to drive, with a focus on senior drivers. A final report was issued in April 2005.


National Center for Neighborhood and Brownfields Redevelopment, Plainfield, NJ
Beginning in 2002 with funding from the Dodge Foundation and the New Jersey DCA, the National Center for Neighborhood and Brownfields Redevelopment instigated and continues to support a neighborhood revitalization effort in Plainfield's West End. Recently, Center staff provided technical, planning and grant-writing support, along with community organizing, in the formation of a new resident-based community organization that is partnering with established local CDCs to begin to renovate housing, construct affordable housing and improve social services in accordance with the neighborhood plan.


With funding from the Mushett Family Foundation, the National Center for Neighborhood and Brownfields Redevelopment is working to develop a community-based approach for childhood asthma interventions in the Elizabethport neighborhood in Elizabeth, NJ. After performing a needs assessment, Center staff are focusing efforts on creation of a case management system for improved asthma care, community education programs, and pursuit of funding and support for a new, expanded community health center.


Working with colleagues from Vanderbilt, UMD and Rutgers, Center staff took the lead in developing a system for locating hazards and tracing their exposure paths at the Department of Energy's nuclear weapons facilities. The DOE has required that this system be used by all of its former weapons facilities. We now review the results of those efforts for the DOE.

Idaho DOE Site
Working with colleagues from UMD and Vanderbilt the Center has developed an approach for examining the human risk and economic costs and benefits of alternative remediation and final disposal options at the Idaho DOE site where high level and other nuclear waste products are buried and encapsulated. The approaches we have been presented to the facility managers and community advisory panel, which is reconsidering their existing environmental management decisions


HIV Prevention CPSDI
Jay Petillo and Dr. Ann Dey conducted an ethnographic study of Newark for the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Surveillance of HIV Risk and Prevention Behaviors with Injection Drug Users national study from September 2004 to May 2005. The Unit developed a statewide Resource Directory for HIV/AIDS services. The new directory can be found on the Unit website ( in a database format (searchable by type of service, location of service and name of agency).