Phil Murphy

Murphy Announces $29.5M in Programs to Support Colleges & Universities

Gov. Phil Murphy and New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Dr. Brian Bridges today outlined two new initiatives for the state’s colleges and universities that have been facing challenges during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Approximately $29.5 million of federal COVID-19 response funds are being used to set up the new grant programs to support the goals of the State Plan for Higher Education.  The first is the Opportunity Meets Innovation Challenge, a competitive grant program open to all institutions of higher education that receive state funding. The program will provide awards totaling $28.5 million, ranging from $500,000 to $1.5 million, to spur the implementation of plans in key areas that impact degree completion.

The second initiative is the Hunger Free Campus Grant program, which will provide $1 million toward eliminating hunger and food insecurity on college campuses.

“This is an epidemic not just in our state, but in our country that is far too overlooked,” Murphy said, adding that this program will further build on a state law he signed in 2019 to combat food insecurity on college campuses. Grants under this new program will range from $40,000 to $100,00 per institution.

“We know this past year has placed enormous challenges on both our institutions of higher education and their students,” Murphy said.  “Working collaboratively, we know we could create new best practices and creative solutions that will keep New Jersey’s colleges and universities among the very best in the nation, if not the world.”

According to  Bridges, “The COVID-19 pandemic only intensified the challenges many students already faced in the pursuit of higher education, including college affordability and food insecurity, making our State Plan priorities even more critical.

“New Jersey’s higher education sector will experience long-term effects from the pandemic. However, we remain committed to ensuring students have equitable access to postsecondary education now and in the future, and are equipped with the supports needed to increase their likelihood of completion. This funding allows us to further that commitment. We look forward to continuing to explore innovative ways to strengthen higher education supports and carry out our student-centered vision.”

Murphy also announced the appointment of members to the New Jersey Council on the Green Economy. The council, which was established under Executive Order No. 221, will be overseen by the Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy, and serve to develop a blueprint for expanding the green economy and build a diverse workforce to support the Murphy administration’s clean energy and climate goals.

Members of the council include representatives from state departments, as well as leaders from chambers of commerce, organized labor, industry, utilities, green business, environmental justice communities, academia, small business, workforce development, and environmental advocacy.

“Ensuring equitable economic development and job creation through our transition to clean energy is essential to creating a stronger and fairer New Jersey,” said Governor Murphy. “The New Jersey Council on the Green Economy brings together a diverse and talented team of experts from both inside and outside of government. This group will build a roadmap for transitioning the workforce into high-quality, family-sustaining clean energy jobs that will provide opportunities for all New Jerseyans.”

Members of the New Jersey Council on the Green Economy include the following individuals:

  1. Honorary Chair: First Lady Tammy Murphy
  2. Executive Director: Jane Cohen, Executive Director, Office of Climate Action and the Green Economy
  3. Co-Chair: Shawn LaTourette, Acting Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
  4. Co-Chair: Robert Asaro-Angelo, Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development
  5. Co-Chair: Joseph Fiordaliso, President, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities
  6. Donnel Baird, Founder, BlocPower
  7. Tom Churchelow, President, New Jersey Utilities Association
  8. Francisco Cortes, President, NJ State Veterans Chamber of Commerce and Corporate Advisory Board Member of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber
  9. Dave Daly, President, PSE&G
  10. Kim Gaddy, Environmental Justice Organizer, Clean Water Action
  11. Aisha Glover, Vice President of Urban Innovation, Audible
  12. Lisa Jackson, Former EPA Administrator and Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives, Apple
  13. Sean Jackson, Chief Executive Officer, Isles
  14. Andrea Jung, President and Chief Executive Officer, Grameen America
  15. John Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer, New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program
  16. Kevin Lyons, Associate Professor of Supply Chain Archaeology, Rutgers University
  17. Debra Coyle McFadden, Executive Director, Work Environment Council
  18. Bill Mullen, President, New Jersey Building and Construction Trades Council
  19. Alli Gold Roberts, Director of State Policy, Ceres
  20. Charlie Wowkanech, President, AFL-CIO

Additional members of the council include representatives from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, New Jersey Department of Education, Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, and the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel. The council is committed to ensuring community engagement, as well as transparency, and will provide opportunities for public participation in the group’s work.

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