For the latest COVID-19 information and list of resources, please click here.
Our business, government and community leaders have been clear that containing COVID-19 will require a united effort to protect our citizenry and that it is in everyone’s best interest to minimize the risk of exposure to the virus. Our thoughts are with the individuals and families of those who continue to be stricken during this pandemic.
NRBP is here to support your organization. Our office is closed until at least March 27, with staff working remotely, in support of nation-wide efforts to curtail community spread. During this time you may hear from us as we will be using this opportunity to increase our member care efforts. You're welcome to contact any member of our staff should you have questions or immediate needs. We will respond to email and voice mails.
Additionally, we have postponed our March 24 Partners & Leaders Dinner honoring RWJBarnabas Health CEO Barry Ostrowsky and Newark Mayor Ras. J. Baraka. Working with our Board of Directors, honorees, sponsors and supporters, we intend to reschedule the dinner and will advise our members accordingly.
There are numerous professional resources available online that provide valuable information including:
Resources for business owners:
We urge you to heed the advice of professionals to maintain good health for all.
We are aware that our event schedule may require further modification based upon COVID-19 activity but for now we intend to maintain an active calendar so that you can plan ahead to be with us. NRBP is also considering webinars and other media as resources to share information that we might otherwise present at an event. We will keep you informed of any changes and suggest that you visit our event calendar from time to time.
We look forward to continued dialogue with all of you and it is our sincerest hope that COVID-19 will be contained effectively and quickly. We extend our best wishes for good health in the weeks and months ahead.
- Chip Hallock
President & CEO
UPDATES as of March 23, 2020
UPDATES as of March 19, 2020
John White, a Dewberry intern studying architecture, recollects his experience traveling out of the country for the first time and how having visited nine countries and 47 cities in only 78 days impacted his contribution to the workforce.
"I stood atop the Alps, tried escargot in Paris, ate the most amazing pizza in Italy, and attended my first professional soccer game in Munich. I had, without a doubt, the experience of a lifetime. But aside from all the fun, this trip allowed me to grow exponentially as an architecture student." Read more here.
A decade ago, very few people outside of the Information Technology (IT) industry knew what cybersecurity was or even considered it something worth worrying about. Many of us naively believed that with the right passwords, encryption software and firewalls, our data and information would be secure.
In recent years, however, our world has become far more technologically advanced and, as a consequence, technologically dependent. Nearly every occupation and industry has developed some use for artificial intelligence, a big data platform, or web-based application, whether it is banking, retail, pharmaceutical, medical, legal or agricultural. Most organizations that generate significant data store work product/files on servers or in the “cloud”. With the advent of e-commerce and electronic file storage, we can now share photos and documents as well as make financial transactions from our phones, computers, and other smart devices.
While these advances in technology have made our lives easier in many respects, they have also created significant opportunities for individuals and organizations to use the same technology to commit cybercrimes. Although cybersecurity is neither a new or emerging field, there has been something of a collective epiphany in the United States regarding the essential and significant role it plays in our everyday lives, particularly since 2016. Since that time, there have been daily reports of cybersecurity crimes, ranging from denials of service, to hacks and breaches of personal, financial and confidential information, to election meddling. Some of the most noteworthy examples of these damaging crimes include:
In addition to these hacks and breaches, the use of ransomware has dramatically increased as well. Ransomware is a type of cyberattack that encrypts a computer’s files (and makes unavailable to the owner/user of such data), in which the owner/user of the data must pay the attacker a “ransom” often in bitcoin or some other untraceable cryptocurrency to release the files. Since 2013, more than 170 U.S. county-, city- and state-government systems have been attacked using ransomware, including at least 45 law enforcement offices. (https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/politics/ransomware-attacks-us-cities/index.html) Most recently, on August 20th, the State of Texas reported that twenty-three (23) towns were struck by a coordinated ransomware attack. (https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/19/alarm-in-texas-as-23-towns-hit-by-coordinated-ransomware-attack.html)
The prevalence of cybersecurity crimes, and their significant impact, became abundantly clear in the wake of the 2016 Presidential election, which experienced malicious hackings and massive breaches of campaign voter data, including hacking of election systems. (https://cdt.org/issue/internet-architecture/election-cybersecurity/) As our election and voting systems become more data-driven and electronic, our nation becomes more susceptible to such cyberattacks, which have and will continue to impact our voting practices and democratic norms. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-cybersecurity-202/2019/07/15/the-cybersecurity-202-here-s-an-overlooked-election-cybersecurity-danger-outdated-software/5d2bc0321ad2e552a21d53d4/)
In an effort to protect our financial, personal, medical, and otherwise confidential or personal data, as well as our election systems, we need to continue to attract and employ the services of the most qualified cybersecurity experts from around the world. However, at present, there is a dire shortage of such qualified experts in the United States. On January 10, 2019, Jon Oltsik, Chief Security Officer of Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) and a world renowned cybersecurity expert wrote:
At the end of each year, ESG conducts a wide-ranging global survey of IT professionals, asking them about challenges, purchasing plans, strategies, etc. As part of this survey, respondents were asked to identify areas where their organization has a problematic shortage of skills.
In 2018-2019, cybersecurity skills topped the list — 53 percent of survey respondents reported a problematic shortage of cybersecurity skills at their organization. IT architecture/planning skills came in second at 38 percent.
The cybersecurity skills shortage is nothing new. Alarmingly, the cybersecurity skills deficit has held the top position in ESG’s annual survey every year... Furthermore, the percentage of organizations reporting a problematic shortage of cybersecurity skills continues to increase.
Now, people like me have been talking about the cybersecurity skills shortage for years, and there are a lot of worthwhile industry and academic programs in place to address this issue. Despite these efforts, however, research from ESG and others indicates that the cybersecurity skills shortage is getting incrementally worse each year. (Emphasis added.) (https://www.csoonline.com/article/3331983/the-cybersecurity-skills-shortage-is-getting-worse.html)
Our technology and data infrastructure need significant work to keep them safe from hacks, breaches and ransomware attacks, but there are simply not enough qualified professionals in the U.S. to fill this need. In this regard, our business leaders and corporations must be open to recruiting and retaining qualified foreign nationals who possess the requisite skills, education and expertise to perform these duties.
In addition to the standard-issue H-1B and L-1B visa classifications, there are a variety of immigration options available to U.S. employers who seek to hire foreign nationals with cybersecurity expertise. One of these options is the O-1A nonimmigrant classification for individuals of extraordinary ability in the sciences or business. This often overlooked nonimmigrant visa classification is available to a foreign national who can demonstrate a level of expertise among a small percentage who have risen to the top of the field. Individuals who have made original, documented contributions to the field, as evidenced by patents and/or publications, and have served as the judge of the work of others (journal reviewers/editors) or in essential/critical capacities can readily qualify for the O-1A visa classification.
Another option available, which leads to permanent resident status in the United States, is the National Interest Waiver (NIW) petition. NIW petitions are typically granted to those who have exceptional ability and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit our nation. Cybersecurity has proven to be an endeavor that is in the national interest of the United States. Thus, individuals seeking a NIW can establish exceptional ability through documented evidence confirming that they possess at least a Master’s degree in a specialized field of study related to cybersecurity; possess at least ten (10) years of full-time employment experience in the field of cybersecurity; are recognized for their achievements in cybersecurity; and have publications in the field.
It is clear from the daily reports of cybersecurity crimes, that our nation is in dire need of cybersecurity experts who possess the resources and advanced knowledge, skills and experience required to combat these crimes. In this regard, as there is currently a shortage of U.S. workers who possess these qualities, U.S. corporations and governmental agencies should consider thinking “outside the box” as it relates to these immigration options in order to attract and recruit foreign nationals with this expertise.
While there are many immigration options available for both temporary and permanent employment of cybersecurity experts, it is best to plan ahead and consult with an attorney in advance to identify which options best meet the goals of U.S. employer, the foreign national and most importantly, the national interests of our country.
Lin Walker is an Associate and Scott Malyk is a Partner at Meyner and Landis LLP | Counsellors at Law, Newark, New Jersey. (www.meyner.com)
Check out this short video of Jacob Jackson, Project Manager at NRBP member Dewberry, explaining cybersecurity in automation.
Last month, NRBP member Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey launched the Knock Out Opioid Abuse initiative. This three phase initiative will focus on preventing opioid abuse and creating awareness by organizing town hall events, educating prescribers and parents, and launching a public awareness campaign that will make the town halls and other resources available online and that will include ads on public transit and social media.
Click here to read more from Jonathan Pearson, Executive Director, The Horizon Foundation for NJ.
Recently, the Newark Young Entrepreneurs Academy (Newark YEA!) Class of 2019 participated in the fourth annual Investor Panel at Rutgers Business School. This year's program participants, representing nine middle and high schools in Newark, pitched their business ideas to a panel of investors during a Shark-Tank style competition. Every young entrepreneur who presented was awarded funding that will enable her/him to bring their business to life. Among this year's business were a stationery brand, photography/videography company, cupcake company, and a makeup artistry company.
Newark YEA! is excited to announce that Emmanuel Ogbonnaya, a Senior at Weequahic High School in Newark and founder/owner of the photo/video company King's Likeness, will represent the program at this year's Saunders Scholars competition in Rochester, NY.
This year's young entrepreneurs enjoyed the shared learning experience of the program and Investor's Panel. Below are some of their reflections:
"I was nervous during the presentation but enjoyed the thrill of working through my nerves. It was a great experience that provided me with practice for future presentations” – Emmanuel Ogbonnaya, Founder/Owner, King's Likeness
“My experience in the Investor’s Panel was really eye opening. It gave me a chance to connect with business owners and learn new things. I felt very welcomed and like I was treated like family.” – Rizyah Guy, True Lenses
“The Investor’s Panel, I believe, was so important to the entire program because it’s easy to explain yourself and your business in front of your peers, but when faced with people who can make your dream company into reality and sell yourself within 5 minutes it truly gives you the sensation of being an official entrepreneur. ” – Mirleen Dameus, For Everyone
“The Investor’s Panel was a good experience. I feel that we were well prepared for it." – Khalif Bey, Sweet Melanin Apparel
Newark YEA! students with Emily Manz, Program Manager, and their business mentors.
Guest blog from Wells Fargo.
Fewer than half of investors say they are “more confident” about their ability to save for retirement than they were 10 years ago
The Great Recession’s legacy
March 2019 marked the 10-year anniversary of the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s low point, which is when the U.S. began to climb out of the 2008–09 Great Recession. Investors say they still feel the influence of the recession, according to the first quarter 2019 Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index survey. Fewer than half of investors (45 percent) say they feel more confident today about their ability to save for a comfortable retirement than they did during the Great Recession.
Among different age groups, 47 percent of those ages 18–49, 45 percent of those ages 50–64 and 28 percent of those 65 and older are more confident today. In addition, 60 percent predict that over the next 10 years, the U.S. economy will experience another period as bad as the 2008–09 recession.
At the same, 65 percent of investors say they are better at shrugging off market volatility 10 years later; 35 percent say it bothers them just as much as before.
“As we enter year 10 of the economic recovery, not even half of investors feel more confident about their ability to prepare for retirement,” said Wayne Badorf, head of Intermediary Distribution at Wells Fargo Asset Management. “How do we help people feel more confident? It comes down to good advice, services and solutions from a trusted advisor.”
The survey, which was conducted Feb. 11–17, 2019, queried 1,029 U.S. adults with $10,000 or more invested in stocks, bonds or mutual funds.
The survey showed some weakening in investor confidence.
Overall, the Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index slipped to 90 in the first quarter, down from 98 in the fourth quarter of 2018.Investors remain generally optimistic, however, about a range of economic conditions and financial expectations:
Meanwhile, the percentage of investors who say it is a good time to invest in the financial markets (64 percent) is roughly the same as the 67 percent in August 2018 and 68 percent in May 2018. Investors are less upbeat about the performance of the stock market (49 percent are optimistic about its 12-month outlook) and about inflation (31 percent are optimistic).
To achieve their investing targets, investors are more likely to say their main investing goal is to maximize growth (61 percent) than to protect from major losses (39 percent).
Majority of Investors Favor ‘the Human Touch’ Over Technology When Seeking Financial Advice
Despite increasing automation in nearly all aspects of the consumer experience, 84 percent of investors say that financial advisors will always be needed and will not be replaced by automated investing technology, according to the survey.
Investors expressed an openness to technology playing a role in their financial planning — just not at the expense of working with an advisor. Only 24 percent say they currently use automated investing technology for their own investing, without the assistance of an advisor. But 56 percent say they would prefer working with a financial advisor who uses automated investing tools on their behalf.
Investors also say they want to communicate with their advisor on a regular basis — on average, three times a year. When asked how they want to communicate, the majority of investors (63 percent) say they prefer a personal connection, including in-person meetings (39 percent), phone calls (22 percent) or video calls (2 percent). Just 20 percent say they prefer to connect through internet chat, and only 18 percent say they want to review their investments on their own, without help from an advisor.
Guest blog by Holly Kaplansky, Owner, Minuteman Press.
Learn more about her business by visiting www.mmpnewark.com
Recently I had the honor of serving on a business panel hosted by Prudential here in Newark. This came about because of the strong relationships I have with my customers…..in this case Rutgers Business School. When the opportunity came up for a speaker at the Newark Anchor Collaborative Vendor Summit, they thought of me. This would never have happened if I didn’t have a strong relationship with the Rutgers Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at Rutgers Business School.
I’m a firm believer that business is built on good relationships. One networking meeting or one cup of coffee doesn’t bring in business. I work at cultivating my network because it pays off. This approach has helped me be successful in a very competitive industry. Here’s how I work on my relationships to help my business.
Be human. Keep in mind that people do business with people, not companies. Relate with people on a personal level by building connections on things you have in common. Plus, getting to know people makes networking more interesting and enjoyable.
Focus on exceptional customer service. The strongest relationships you have are your customers. To build strong relationships be attentive to their needs, exceed their expectations, and show your appreciation. When they have a concern, pick up the phone and talk to them.
Volunteer. Develop the respect of others over time through various activities and experiences. Take a leadership role in a chamber, professional group, nonprofit, or community organization to develop relationships. Allow others to see firsthand your professionalism and how you work with others.
Give as much as you get. Effective relationships in business require reciprocity - not a one-way, half-hearted effort. Offer and deliver help, connect people with each other, or share industry or nonprofit-sector information.
Diversify. Go beyond the people in your immediate circle so that your affiliations grow. Keep in mind that your network can go beyond work relationships.
Spend time on key relationships. Every relationship can be important but spend extra time with your most important customers, influencers and mentors. They can have the greatest impact on your business.
Strong relationships lead to all sorts of opportunities for you and your business – repeat business, referrals, word-of-mouth marketing, potential partners, community leadership, raised awareness, and more. It’s worth the effort and time to build them.
Carrisa Sestito of Rutgers Today interviews Jay Soled, Professor and Director of the Master of Accountancy in Taxation Program at Rutgers Business School about what the changes in the federal tax code mean for New Jersey. As the article notes, "New Jersey is in one of the nation’s higher tax jurisdictions", so the changes could have a major impact on residents and businesses in the state.
Click here to read more.
On February 4, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey observed World Cancer Day. While research predicts that as many as 16,000 families in New Jersey may lose a loved one to cancer this year, Horizon is dedicated to doing what they can to raise awareness and increase the odds of survival.
Read more from Thomas Graf, MD, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, about some of the many ways that Horizon is working to save lives