A Glimpse Into the Immigration Crystal Ball

Anyone who has dealt with the Immigration Service or ICE over the past 2 years would agree that we are living in a fairly contentious pro-enforcement immigration environment.

In looking forward to 2019, our crystal ball tells us to expect more of the same.

The trend of deliberately voluminous and combative Requests for Evidence from USCIS is expected to continue along with a surge in worksite compliance enforcement (I-9 audits) from ICE and the reversal of rules that were once beneficial to certain foreign nationals.

H-1B and L-1 Adjudications

On April 18, 2017 an Executive Order, “Buy American Hire American” (“BAHA”) was signed, and set off a chain reaction that resulted in a palpable difference in the adjudications process of H-1B and L-1 visas.

According to the National Foundation of American Policy,[1] by the fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 2017 (“FY 2017”), almost 70% of H-1B applications filed received Requests for Evidence (RFEs).  In fact the number of RFEs received in the fourth quarter of FY2017 alone almost equaled the number of RFEs for the first three quarters combined, with 63,184 RFEs issued  in the fourth quarter alone compared to 63,599 in the first, second and third quarters combined. This drastic increase began in July 2017, less than three months after the signing of BAHA.

Within the increase of RFEs, there is an evident national origin disparity.  Applications filed on behalf of Indian nationals received RFEs at a higher rate than those of any other country.  We believe this disparity is related to higher scrutiny of applications in the Information Technology industry.  In the fourth quarter of FY2017, 72% of H-1Bs filed on behalf of Indian nationals received RFEs as compared to 61% from all other countries.  More significantly, the denial rate of H-1Bs for Indian nationals rose 42% from the third to fourth quarter of FY 2017 alone, with 16% of H-1B petitions denied in the third quarter and 23.6% of H1B petitions denied in the fourth quarter.[2]

The same trend has been seen in the adjudication of L-1 petitions filed with the USCIS Service Centers in the United States. Denials of L-1B petitions rose from 21.7% to 28.7% in FY 2017, representing a 33% increase, with almost half of petitions filed on behalf of Indian nationals being denied in the final quarter of FY 2017. While the statistics for the full fiscal year of 2018 have not yet been released, it is reported that the denial rate for L-1B petitions in the first quarter of FY 2018 was 30.5%, and 29.2% in the second quarter of FY 2018.  The rate of denial for L-1A petitions increased by 67%, from 12.8% to 21.4% in FY 2017.[3]

While the rate of RFEs for L-1 petitions remained fairly consistent, the occurrence of RFEs continued to be inflated.

Aside from BAHA, another driving force behind the increase in RFEs and denials is the loss of the long-standing practice of deference to prior adjudications.  On October 23, 2017, that practice was officially rescinded by USCIS wreaking havoc on the adjudications of extensions and amendments of previously approved H-1B and L-1 petitions.

We expect to see similar trends in the year 2019, perhaps not with the same level of increase, but do not necessarily expect these numbers to climb any higher.

ICE Worksite Enforcement Spike

The year 2018 saw a significant increase in compliance enforcement with regard to I-9 regulations and employment-based record keeping.

ICE instituted a two-phase enforcement effort in the year 2018. The first phase was conducted from January 29th through March 30th 2018 and resulted in 2,540 Notices of Inspection (the Notice of Inspection, or “NOI” is the notification given to employers that an I-9 audit is being conducted), and 61 arrests.  In July, the second phase began and resulted in 2,738 NOIs being issued, resulting in 32 arrests.[4]

In its totals for FY 2018, ICE reported that a staggering 6,848 worksite investigations were opened by Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) in FY 2018, as compared to 1,691 in FY 2017. Similarly, HSI opened 5,981 I-9 audits in FY 2018, as compared to 1,360 in FY 2017; a 400% increase.

Further, FY 2018 saw HSI make 675 criminal arrests and 984 administrative worksite-related arrests, as opposed to FY 2017 in which ICE made 139 criminal arrests and 172 administrative arrests. This is an increase of more than 500% year over year.

Continued targets for I-9 audits will likely include factories/manufacturing companies, food packaging companies, restaurants, construction companies and staffing companies. However, we also expect that in the coming year, random audits will rise and thus the types of companies subjected to I-9 audits will not be limited to those industries listed above.

Once ICE comes knocking on the door, and issues a NOI, a business has 3 business days to produce payroll records and all I-9s.  Thus, the best protection for any employer is to maintain and conduct internal audits of I-9 records before a NOI is issued.  A company that completes internal audits and I-9 training prior to an audit has the added defense of “good faith” compliance which is a powerful bargaining tool in order to negotiate fines and reduce them significantly if ICE ever does come knocking on the door.

Rescission of Employment Authorization for certain H-4 visa holders

Many Executive Orders signed by the prior administration have been negated in the past 2 years, and one of the next on the proverbial chopping block may be the current eligibility for certain H-4 non-immigrant visa holders to obtain work authorization in the United States.

The current rule, in place since 2015, allows H-4 dependent visa holders to obtain work authorization if an immigration petition (I-140) has been approved for the H-4’s spouse, and there is a quota backlog which does not otherwise allow for the final stage of the green card application to be filed.

The proposed rule (RIN 1514-AC15) to rescind this grant of work authorization was initially expected to be published in February 2018 but was delayed.[5] At this point we continue to wait for the proposed rule to be sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to be reviewed as a Notice of Proposed Rule Making. There is reason to believe that this proposed rule will become a final rule in the year 2019 in keeping with the spirit of BAHA. However, the current federal government shutdown is preventing this process from moving forward at the moment, so there is at least some hope that this rule may survive the year.

The Supreme Court may have good news in store this year-  Kisor v. Wilkie

Because there is always a silver lining, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments this year in a new matter, Kisor v. Wilkie.  Kisor is a challenge to two key precedents (Auer v. Robbins and Bowles v. Seminole Rock& Sand Co) which give agencies automatic deference in their reading and interpretation of their own regulations. USCIS often cites Auer in decisions where it applies heightened standards for reviewing the “employer-employee” relationship or creates new evidentiary standards for demonstrating that a position qualifies as a specialty occupation.

If the court were to reverse the ruling in Auer v. Robbins (one of the decisions it is reviewing in Kisor), this will remove USCIS’s ability to consistently change its interpretation of regulations that have been on the books for decades, essentially moving the goal post every time practitioners adjust to the new standards being imposed by USCIS.  This could, in effect, force the agency to settle on more reasonable definitions and standards of review.

It should be noted that if the Kisor ruling does overturn Auer, this will not mean that deference will be completely removed from federal agencies, but instead, the Skidmore standard of deference would control. The Skidmore standard allows a federal agencies’ interpretation of its own regulation to be “weighed” based on its ability to persuade, but does not allow for absolute deference, which is what federal agencies currently enjoy. Thus, with this new case, the stage is set for the U.S. Supreme Court to force USCIS to live reasonably within the four corners of the regulations which would negate the existence of many of the RFEs it issues now.

The reason for our collective optimism in the Supreme Court agreeing to hear arguments in Kisor exists in the unlikely prospect that that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear this particular case for the purpose of affirming longstanding precedent.  In fact, we know that in their time on the Circuit Courts, both Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh have expressed support for reigning in the level of deference afforded to federal agencies and have sought to limit the unbridled power of federal agency interpretation. So our prediction is that in the year 2019, we may very well see the USCIS served with some accountability and oversight if it goes too far adrift of its own regulatory standards.

Summary

Given BAHA and its trickle-down effect on U.S. immigration policy, anyone seeking to file an application for an immigration benefit in the year 2019 should approach the process with careful optimism.  In the year 2019 the practice of immigration law will continue to present a challenging environment but with the proper professional assistance, any employer can navigate the labyrinth of regulations and policies to achieve success in the process. We remain optimistic – so should you.

[1] The National Foundation for American Policy is a 501(c)(3), non-profit, non-partisan research organization focused on immigration, international trade and other global issues. NFAP’s research has been cited on over 100 occasions in authoritative sources such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post.  See https://nfap.com/about-us/

[2] https://nfap.com/wp…/H-1B-Denial-and-RFE-Rates.DAY-OF-RELEASE.July-2018

[3] Id.

[4] https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ice-delivers-more-5200-i-9-audit-notices-businesses-across-us-2-phase-nationwide

[5] https://www.natlawreview.com/article/uscis-publishes-notice-proposed-rule-making-to-remove-employment-authorization

CIANJ’s New Board Members are Top New Jersey Business Leaders

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THIS MONTH’S cover story salutes today’s heroes—first responders, veterans, diversity champions and sports stars, showcasing George Martin, co-captain of the 1986 Super Bowl Champion New York Giants; Medal of Honor recipient Col. Jack Jacobs; the late General Norman H. Schwarzkopf, Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Central Command during Operation Desert Shield/Storm (the first Gulf War); and New Jersey police and firefighters.

In honor of February being Black History Month, we also feature the Honorable Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State; Martin Luther King III, son of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.; former New York Giants All-Pro defensive end Justin Tuck; and baseball legend Hank Aaron.

Just as these heroes play a vital role in leading the way forward, CIANJ’s leadership role as the voice of the New Jersey business community is also important. Vital in this regard are the executives on our board of directors, and the following new CIANJ board members were elected at the 2018 Annual Luncheon:

John J. Anderson, vice president for external affairs for Jersey Central Power & Light, leads a team that liaisons with municipal governments; key commercial and industrial customers; and civic organizations. His team also provides support for community involvement activities.

Dale A. Creamer; as executive vice president of J. Fletcher Creamer & Son, Inc., he establishes policies and processes; oversees all equipment purchases and maintenance; reviews all field operations; and reviews bids. He started with the firm in 1986, and currently serves on the board of Holy Name Medical Center

Christine M. Cormier, regional sales director of United Airlines, manages a team of sales professionals who are tasked with acquiring new business and retaining business from a portfolio of accounts. She is United’s primary representative for corporate, agency and civic activities within the New York region.

Richard J. Helldobler is the eighth president of William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey, one of the state’s largest public universities with more than 10,000 students. He assumed the presidency on July 1, 2018. He has 30 years of higher education experience.

Thomas J. Herten, Esq., shareholder, executive vice president and director at the Archer law firm, concentrates his practice on complex commercial litigation, Chancery Practice, land use and transactional law—including commercial and residential real estate

Jason Kroll, vice president and chief strategy officer for New Jersey City University, works with the president and the board of trustees to identify, develop, lead and manage strategic initiatives. He oversees Athletics, Auxiliary Services, Development & Alumni Affairs, the Center for the Arts, Government & Community Relations and Marketing & Communications.

John Manna joined PNC Wealth Management in 2013 as senior vice president and wealth director for the Millburn, New Jersey Team. In 2017, he was promoted to wealth managing director for the NJ/NY market.

Randy Minniear, executive vice President of external affairs for CarePoint Health, has direct oversight of all governmental, community relation and communications operations, in addition to his role on the executive team, which maintains authority over all company operations.

Peter Webster, resident managing director of Aon NJ, oversees the Risk, Health & Benefits and Marketing divisions of Aon’s Morristown and Somerset offices. He is responsible for leveraging Risk, Health & Benefits, Aon Hewitt, Univers and Benfield as an Aon One Voice total solution, driving growth and talent engagement for both internal and external clients.

CIANJ Board of Directors Member Dax Strohmeyer, president of Triangle Manufacturing Company, was appointed to serve as an At Large Member on CIANJ’s Executive Committee. He was a board member prior to this promotion.

Leadership matters, and we are grateful to have these business leaders as members of our board or directors.

When the Smoke Clears, Cannabis Will Be the Garden State’s New Cash Crop

IN NEW JERSEY, WHILE CANNABIS will soon be a growing industry, it will be complicated because the drug is still classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. This makes bank financing difficult to find, and expen-sive as well. Local ordinances banning cannabis facilities add an additional roadblock when it comes to locating real estate for these businesses. As sage legal counsel is essential when assessing the challenges and opportunities for this new industry, COMMERCE asked many of the state’s top law firms to weigh in on the prospects for cannabis-related companies in the Garden State.

Archer By William J. Caruso, Esq., Of Counsel, Cannabis Practice

The recent and rapid changes to cannabis law here in New Jersey, nationally and internationally have affected almost every practice area in the firm. Archer has seen steady increases in work in obvious areas such as corporate transactions, land use and real estate. However, practice areas relating to family and labor law have also been impacted by these changes. The ever-shifting legal landscape and conflict between state and federal laws provide complexities and a lack of clear direction for businesses that are seeking to enter into the cannabis industry, as well as traditional companies that are not involved in cannabis. However, this challenge provides a unique opportunity to develop good policy from the ground up. Archer lawyers have been working to craft new cannabis policy in Trenton through both regulatory and statutory changes to arm businesses with the certainty they need to function effectively in this new, exciting market.

Brach Eichler LLC By Charles X. Gormally, Esq., Co-Chair, Cannabis Law Practice

When counseling clients interested in the cannabis space, we emphasize the importance of forming relationships with reliable support team members. A successful cannabis business participant must create strong professional relationships across a broad range of specialties—accounting, taxation, real estate, land use, banking, environmental law, administrative law, municipal government, food handling, packaging, horticulture, medical research, security—and have access to the expertise necessary to produce and process cannabis products. The Cannabis Practice Group works as a team to equip the client with a broad range of required legal services, while assisting the client in formalizing its professional relationships with partners, vendors and suppliers. The overarching goal of the Group is to position clients for success by assuring that the client will be compliant with all of the requirements of state law, while keeping the client cognizant that conducting a business in this area currently remains a violation of federal law.

Capehart Scatchard By Sheila M. Mints, Esq., Cannabis Group Leader

Since the business is still in its infancy in New Jersey, and the regulatory structure has not yet been developed, there are a lot of uncertainties. We attempt to help the clients understand that this is a real business that requires significant upfront investment not only of money, but of time and expertise. There are stringent policies which must be followed—in cultivation, manufacture of edibles and dispensing of medical marijuana. There are issues of local government approvals, land use and zoning requirements for the location of facilities. Especially with cultivation, there will be a significant time lag between obtaining a license (if indeed a license is awarded) and harvesting. Our strong recommendation to clients is that they prepare early if they want to apply in the next round of licenses and have their team of consultants and experts prepared so that they are ready for the pending application process.

Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC By Lee Vartan, Esq., Member, Chair, Cannabis Law Group

The biggest universal challenge for clients (and the firm) is preparing for all-but-certain legalization in a form that is still very uncertain. There are competing bills in the New Jersey Legislature, and no one knows whether oversight will ultimately be housed in an independent commission or somewhere else, what the tax rate will be, or innumerable other details. But what we do know is that, regardless of the final form of any bill, the state licensing body is going to be focused on applicant diversity, as well as evidence of support from the local community and a location that is appropriately zoned. At CSG, we have been working with clients to shore up those pieces now, so that when the legislation is passed, and an application period is open, our clients can move without delay. Our advice is simple: legalization is coming, and the time to prepare is now.

Cole Schotz P.C. By Robert M. Dipisa, Esq., Member, Cannabis Law Group

With New Jersey’s impending adult-use market, our Cannabis Law Group is seeing expediential growth in the number of pre-license plant-touching clients. We’re currently assisting clients with identifying shortfalls within applications, raising capital, obtaining municipal support and securing real property. There are substantial opportunities within the non-plant touching, ancillary side of the business. We are preparing clients to transition their existing products and services in non-cannabis industries to address one of the many facets within the nuanced cannabis industry. The ability of these clients to sell products and services across state lines, and avoid exposure to various regulatory compliance obstacles, puts them in a unique position to capitalize on the industry. The most significant challenges stem from cannabis’s federal status. Of particular concern are issues associated with insuring and financing the acquisition of real property—insuring against casualties, the acceleration of existing financing and non-cash payment methods, to mention a few.

Connell Foley LLP By George Garcia, Esq., Partner, Cannabis Law Group

Connell Foley’s Cannabis Law Group consults on a wide range of issues regarding medicinal and adult-use cannabis matters in New Jersey. We assist clients with business and legal matters related to cannabis business formation, licensing, real estate acquisitions and land use approvals. The Cannabis Law Group also advises clients on pending legislation, business plan development, regulatory matters, distribution agreements, and labor and employment matters pertaining to cannabis entities. Given the complexity of this new industry, businesses are often misguided by the recent amendments to existing cannabis law. In 2018, the New Jersey Legislature continued to amend the existing medicinal legislation and the proposed adult-use legislation; further amendments are likely forthcoming in 2019. Using cost-effective methods, Connell Foley continues to thoroughly analyze these recent amendments to effectively counsel clients on the potential financial and legal impacts the legislation may have on cannabis-related entities.

Dunn Lambert, LLC By Peter E. Lembesis, Esq., Cannabis Practice Leader

New Jersey’s burgeoning cannabis industry presents an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs. The anticipated legalization of recreational cannabis should benefit the state by generating tax revenue and creating jobs, including in ancillary service businesses (i.e., information technology and security). However, due to societal misconceptions and current federal law, cannabis businesses still face many political, logistical and regulatory challenges. Our firm has been helping clients surmount these challenges by bringing to bear its substantial experience in numerous fields. We regularly assist companies in navigating various evolving compliance frameworks and have deep experience in corporate and financing work, tax, real estate, intellectual property, commercial litigation and employment law. In addition to utilizing this significant experience to effectively advise cannabis clients in several sectors, we have been closely monitoring legislative developments to insure our clients are ready to hit the ground running once recreational cannabis is legalized.

Genova Burns By Michael C. McQueeny, Esq., Co-Chair, Cannabis Law Group

Although the current adult-use developments seem to be moving at a monotonous pace, the likelihood of passage is a foregone conclusion and the time to begin preparing is now. For example, the last round of requests for applicants to apply for licenses to operate a medical cannabis dispensary was first announced in late July; the actual application was released for the first time on August 1 and is due by August 31. Thus, the opening of this last round for applications resulted in a common refrain from virtually every applicant—they wished they had more time to prepare. Indeed, the time to prepare is right now and retaining the right legal and non-legal team is critical to navigate the complex legal and policy issues of this highly regulated and nuanced industry. We’ve advised and represented clients not only in connection with applications for licensure, but in all aspects of the formation and operation of cannabis companies.

Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis LLP By Jack Fersko, Esq., Chair, Cannabis Industry Practice Group

After launching an interdisciplinary Cannabis Industry Practice Group in 2018, our firm has focused on guiding clients with an interest in the cannabis space based on our deep knowledge of New Jersey’s statutory laws and regulations. We provide guidance as to where the industry currently stands and where it is likely to go from both legal and business perspectives and advise on the key components of acquiring a cannabis license (e.g. real estate, corporate formations, financing and insurance). It is critical to consider the economic and social justice opportunities related to a legalized cannabis industry and their potential to spur economic development and job creation—especially given New Jersey’s population and geographic location. Moving forward, and given the inevitable growing pains still ahead, proper planning and risk mitigation strategies should be of paramount importance to both the state and industry participants.

Harwood Lloyd LLC By John W. McDermott, Esq., Partner, Cannabis Practice Leader

A host of opportunities will be created as New Jersey moves toward uniting its medical cannabis industry with a legalized recreational one. Notwithstanding the same, the addition of recreational sales will also create a host of bureaucratic difficulties integrating traditional business, lending, zoning and employment laws (to name a few), with both federal and state regulatory laws—some of which conflict with each other. Harwood Lloyd’s professionals are familiar with navigating these challenges and look forward to working with those seeking to capitalize on the opportunities this growing industry will present. The regulation and controlled distribution of cannabis will help stimulate job creation and foster business opportunities for entrepreneurs, while concurrently offering an added source of tax revenue to help alleviate the heavy fiscal burden currently plaguing our state.

McCarter & English, LLP By Patrick Harrity, Esq., Cannabis Practice Founder

Our advantage over most law firms stems from our representation of medical and recreational cannabis clients out west and our experience in a number of emerging growth sectors. That experience allows us to identify cannabis companies’ immediate and future needs and measure where that overlaps with our capabilities. For cannabis clients, we have done company formation, capital-raising, licensing applications, government relations and regulatory work. Our attorneys have provided commentary on New Jersey’s pending legislation, preparing us for the concerns of prospective cannabis clients, which, when the sector matures, will need guidance on tax, patent, brand protection, real estate and land use, insurance coverage, bankruptcy, employment, products liability and electrical energy work. The challenges will include compliance with regulations—particularly those that will supplement the law—and meshing what’s allowed in New Jersey with what federal law prohibits. The opportunity appears endless, based on what has happened in western states that allow recreational use.

Norris McLaughlin, P.A. By Keya C. Denner, Esq., Chair, Cannabis Law Group

Shortly after Governor Murphy took office, we identified that it was not a question of “if”, but “when” we would have an adult-use market in New Jersey. In response, we created our Cannabis Law Group from a diverse group of lawyers spanning virtually every practice area at our firm. The attorneys in our Cannabis Law Group are constantly attending industry events and sharing our knowledge with each other so that we can better prepare our clients for entering this space. The cannabis industry is rife with challenges, from obtaining site control of suitable property in a town that is welcoming, to securing funding in a mainly closed financial market, to mastering a web of extremely tight regulatory controls. For those clients who are committed and willing to persevere, there will be opportunities to get in on the ground floor of a new micro-economy in our state.

Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP By Zahid N. Quraishi, Esq., Partner, Cannabis Law Group

The attorneys in our Cannabis Law Group emphasize the importance of being prepared and making early progress. Securing financing, finding a location, and obtaining municipal support are among the many tasks that can be completed before cannabis becomes legal. Our goal is to walk clients through those steps in a way that positions their business to enter the industry early and efficiently. Also, due to the New Jersey Legislature’s stated emphasis on social equity and community involvement, our local communities have the most to gain from legalized cannabis; the state’s cannabis industry is unlikely to be dominated by out-of-state conglomerates. Rather, expect to see a cannabis industry comprised of small and mid-sized businesses with local roots that can achieve the state’s objective in engaging local communities. As a regional law firm, we strongly identify with those goals and will work diligently to help our clients succeed in this space.

Scarinci Hollenbeck By Daniel T. McKillop, Esq., Chair, Cannabis Law Group

One of the most significant impacts of legalized cannabis in New Jersey will be with respect to labor and employment issues. To address this, we are counsel-ing clients regarding the language of the proposed legislation pertaining to New Jersey’s coming adult-use cannabis program and the separate legislation designed to expand the current medical cannabis program. We are then assisting clients with reviews of their existing employee policies and handbooks and providing insight regarding necessary revisions. Beyond labor concerns, we are also counseling clients in understanding the business opportunities, risks, and best practices pertaining to participation in the legal cannabis industry. This effort includes review of the legislation or existing law at issue, strate-gizing as to the best path forward for each individual client and then immediately executing on each client’s plans to the greatest extent possible so that the client is ahead of developments in Trenton.

Sills Cummis & Gross P.C. By Robert E. Schiappacasse, Esq., Co-Chair, Cannabis Industry Practice Group

Rather than pursue a course of action based on what might be, we think clients are better served by a wait-and-see approach giving them and us the ability to immediately pivot in the right direction when and if legalization becomes a reality. That said, we know from the medical cannabis landscape in New Jersey that locating real estate to support a cannabis line of business can be a challenge—one we expect to continue. So, we do re-commend that clients begin the process of locating potential sites for review in anticipation of legalization. We also know from our experience with the medical cannabis license applications that having a quality consultant on board to assist in the application process is critical. We suggest that clients begin the process now of interviewing possible consulting teams so there is no delay in moving for- ward if legalization occurs.

Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A. By Angelo Cifaldi, Esq., Shareholder, Co-Chair, Cannabis Group

We advise clients in all aspects of cannabis law. Recently, we represented clients in connection with Alternative Treatment Center applications for a license under New Jersey’s expanded medical marijuana program. This work was extensive and involved significant research and preparation. The challenges and opportunities here are likely to mirror those of California, Washington, Colorado and other states that have legalized cannabis. We also anticipate opportunities and challenges specific to New Jersey, such as unique energy law issues.

 

 

Murphy Administration Proposes Rules for NJ’s Re-Entry into Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

FULFILLING HIS PLEDGE TO “restore New Jersey to a national leadership role in the fight against climate change and sea-level rise,” Gov. Phil Murphy has announced that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has formally proposed two rules that will steer New Jersey’s re-entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

The RGGI is made up of Mid-Atlantic and New England states working to reduce carbon dioxide gas emissions from the energy sector through a cap-and-trade auction process that encourages more market efficiencies, invests in renewable energy and improves power plant technology. The RGGI’s members are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. Virginia is planning to join the RGGI.

Returning New Jersey to the RGGI has been a priority for Gov. Murphy since the outset of his administration. In January, the governor issued Executive Order 7 directing the state to rejoin the RGGI and develop a program that implements solutions that benefit communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change.

New Jersey was a charter member of the RGGI and was a key member of the effort until the state’s withdrawal in 2012 under the Christie administration.

One of the proposed rules establishes the mechanisms for rejoining the RGGI and sets the initial carbon dioxide cap for the state’s electricity generation sector at 18 million tons in 2020, when the state will officially begin participating in the RGGI again. Through a combination of the RGGI’s required carbon dioxide reductions and achieving Gov. Murphy’s aggressive renewable energy goals, the NJDEP projects that the state’s greenhouse gas emissions will be 11.5 million tons by 2030.

The other rule proposal establishes the framework for how the state will spend proceeds from the RGGI carbon dioxide allowance auctions, with an emphasis on projects that will benefit disproportionately burdened communities.

NJDEP Commissioner Opposes Federal Roll Back of Water Rule Protections

A Trump administration proposal to severely limit the number of wetlands and waterways protected by the federal Clean Water Act would penalize states that prioritize clean water and public health, says NJDEP Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe.

“The Trump administration’s proposal to roll back federal rules on clean water abandons our moral obligation to protect the environment for our children and grandchildren,” she explains. “It creates a ‘race to the bottom,’ encouraging states to loosen their own regulations and penalizing those that truly protect their residents and public health.”

Commissioner McCabe says that “New Jersey is committed to protecting its water resources. Water that is clean and safe is a critical natural resource for everything in our state and our country. Instead of creating a jigsaw puzzle of what is protected, we need strong leadership that will serve our communities by safeguarding all the water that flows through them.”

The proposal calls for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to repeal the 2015 rule defining the waters of the United States and revert to a definition from 1986. The key difference is that the 2015 rule provides sufficient protection to wetlands as “waters of the United States.” The 1986 rule does not. With reduced protections in border states such as New York and Pennsylvania, New Jersey could likely experience more flooding and reduced water quality downstream.

2019 College/University Presidents Roundtable: Educating America’s Future Business Leaders

THE FINEST COLLEGES AND universities are preparing students to become the business leaders of the future with an eye on what skill sets they will need to succeed. From investing in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education to adding global studies to business curricula to linking course study with area employer requirements, many schools are engineering their MBA and EMBA programs to connect with the business community and local business leaders. Global travel and experiences are also giving students needed knowledge and valuable experiences for the jobs of the future. In our 2019 College/University Presidents Roundtable, higher education leaders discuss how they are educating America’s future business leaders.

Berkeley College By Michael J. Smith, President

Through the Berkeley College International Business degree program, students gain critical knowledge, skills and experience that prepare them for roles in the global marketplace. This includes positions in corporations as well as government, non-government and nonprofit organizations. Students complete extended simulation projects running a global business, learn business analytics, and may participate in Model United Nations conferences with students from around the world. Our dynamic faculty, many with doctoral degrees and global industrial, retail, commercial, nonprofit and govern- ment experience, invite speakers from international companies to address their classes. Career management preparation at Berkeley College begins in the first year of study, and students may take advantage of a seamless transition earning Associate’s, Bachelor’s and MBA in Management degrees—all within a five-year period. The MBA Global Immersion Program provides upper level MBA students both classroom and field experience in global businesses through international field trips.

Drew University By Dr. MaryAnn Baenninger, President

To prepare students for business leadership roles, Drew emphasizes real-world learning, such as through our Wall Street semester, which takes students into New York City, where they learn from leading professionals. Similarly, internships are central to our Master of Science in Finance program and Launch, our new undergraduate experience. Mentoring and hands-on learning are core to our programs—students work closely with leaders in their field and have access to thousands of internship opportunities. Also, to help students realize our larger mission of adding to the world’s good, we offer a New York City semester on social entrepreneurship and make ethics in financial services mandatory to earning a Master of Science in Finance. We strive for results, with 94 percent of recent grads either landing jobs or entering graduate school within six months of graduation.

Fairleigh Dickinson University By Dr. Christopher A. Capuano, President

At Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Silberman College of Business, the breadth of our online and on-campus programs is building tomorrow’s leaders in specific, discipline-based areas. Students can now earn an MBA, an MS in Accounting and an MS in Supply Chain Management entirely online, as well as at one of our two New Jersey campuses or our Vancouver Campus. We also offer an MBA for Executives (EMBA), which includes a 12-day overseas International Business Seminar. All MBA students must complete the Global Business Capstone. Our MBA students can specialize in accounting, finance, international business, management, marketing or pharmaceutical management, and those who have already earned an MBA can earn a post-graduate certificate in any of those areas.

Felician University By Dr. Anne Prisco, President

Beginning with our very first MBA course, “Leadership in the 21st Century,” a non-textbook driven, practical review of case studies and applications, Felician instills in our students a broader perspective in understanding and a vision for the future. A required experiential component for every cohort engages students, current businesses, and not-for-profits in strategizing, planning and marketing for today and future needs. Through an annual, organized trip to Ireland, students are given the opportunity to engage in meetings and activities with business leaders and organizations, broadening problem-solving skills and engagement in the global market. Felician also benefits from our valuable status as a Non-Government Organization (NGO) at the United Nations, promoting a commitment to raising public awareness on issues of global concern and an active participation in finding solutions. To create a better world, Felician University has uniquely aligned our dedication to creating strong and focused global leaders who reflect our Franciscan values.

Georgian Court University By Dr. Joseph R. Marbach, President

Georgian Court University supports global studies through virtual collaborative online learning experiences in multiple courses, faculty-led studies abroad, and semester abroad advising. Our Global Transformation Initiative also enables more students—across various majors—to have direct experience in multiple cultural settings. Similarly, our MBA program challenges students through case studies, capstone projects and interactions with highly qualified faculty members. Business professors are constantly in touch with industry leaders, alumni entrepreneurs and area employers—many of whom work as adjunct professors and deliver real-world insights to the program—to ensure that our students are learning relevant, timely and useful skills.

Montclair State University By Dr. Susan A. Cole, President

The Feliciano School of Business at Montclair State University offers programs that provide rich interdisciplinary knowledge, conveyed with a global perspective, that prepares students for careers within and outside of the United States. The undergraduate international business degree focuses on management in multinational corporations, international trade practices and market expansion strategies. Supported by simulations, speakers, experiential opportunities and internships, the content promotes understanding of the complex forces that drive international commerce and collaboration. The MBA degree combines rigorous academic content with an international business travel capstone for all students. The trip includes stays in two countries with emerging or transitioning economies. Students visit companies, tour facilities, and participate in live case studies and service activities. A combined Global MBA and Masters in Business Analytics, jointly offered by Montclair State University and the University of Newcastle, Australia, provides deep knowledge of globalization challenges with immersion in analytics and data visualization.

New Jersey Institute of Technology By Dr. Joel S. Bloom, President

Working with international partners advances our mission to solve problems that affect people, businesses and infrastructure, both at home and across the globe. Diversity—of backgrounds, ideas, problem-solving abilities—is essential for higher education. There is still another form of diversity that also is critical, while it gets less attention, and that is the differing and sometimes unique ways that societies apply the same technology. I think it’s important that our students and faculty experience this on the ground.

Ramapo College of New Jersey By Dr. Peter P. Mercer, President

Ramapo College’s Comprehensive Internationalization Plan strives to create an educational experience that enables its students to become literate and empowered global citizens. One example is the China Immersion Trip at Ramapo, a two-week program that provides both graduate and undergraduate students in business and other disciplines with the opportunity to develop a global business outlook and understanding of international management, international economics and capitalism by meeting with corporate executives and government officials and immersing themselves in Chinese culture. In addition, each year the college selects a different global region and incorporates year-long programs and events to highlight the culture, diversity, language and economic impact of that region. For 2018-2019, the college is focusing on Asia and the Pacific region. Our education plus an extensive Travel Abroad program, international internship opportunities and participation in the National Student Exchange Program have resulted in successful and well-rounded leaders of the future.

Seton Hall University By Dr. Mary Meehan, President

Seton Hall’s MBA with a concentration in international business teaches students how to succeed in any business climate anywhere in the world. We develop analytical thinking, cultivate expertise in change management, foster teamwork, and ground our instruction in ethics and social responsibility. By the time they graduate, our students have traveled to destinations such as China, Ireland, India, Peru, Egypt and elsewhere. These immersive experiences reinforce the development of leaders who are versatile, savvy and steeped in the nuances of global commerce. Seton Hall knows about international business because the world is our classroom. The university expanded its already strong presence in China four years ago and now instructs about 180 MBA students in Beijing, Shanghai and Zhuhai. As with everything we do, Seton Hall’s international MBA is tailored to our students’ needs and continually refreshed to keep pace with the steadily evolving global marketplace.

Stevens Institute of Technology By Dr. Nariman Farvardin, President

Stevens’ foundation as a technology-infused university has never been more prominent. Addressing societal and business problems through technological solutions has always been part of Stevens’ DNA; that orientation is a real differentiator for Stevens graduates. Engineering, science and business students are required to take a course in entrepreneurial thinking freshman year, and faculty equip students with skills and new perspectives to work in a world increasingly influenced by artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics. That learning is applied globally via co-ops, internships and corporate-sponsored projects that give students substantive experience solving real problems and leads to creation of new businesses. Lastly, Hanlon Financial Systems Laboratory and the Hanlon Laboratory for Financial Analytics and Data Visualization provide students with opportunities to learn the tools of their industry, so they are immediately productive on the job. In fact, 96 percent secure employment or enter graduate school within six months of graduating.

Stockton University By Dr. Harvey Kesselman, President

“Global Awareness” is one of the 10 Essential Learning Outcomes identified by Stockton University as necessary for personal and professional success in the 21st century. Within the School of Business, opportunities for developing competence in global awareness are threaded throughout business courses at the undergraduate and the MBA levels and in required general courses which complement the business curriculum. Stockton’s Office of Global Engagement assists students with opportunities for study abroad, focused study tour courses and international service learning projects. Our Model UN travel team recently returned from China and has traveled to Italy, Galapagos and Japan. Stockton has partnerships with some 25 universities around the world. Internships provide students with opportunities to work at companies with an international reach. In all areas, Stockton seeks to create the global awareness and understanding necessary for meaningful participation in the world as independent critical thinkers and informed and prepared global citizens.

The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) By Dr. Kathryn A. Foster, President

TCNJ’s MBA program, which will launch in 2019, will prepare future business leaders in several innovative ways. First, our unique “T-Style” curriculum will offer students the benefit of deep-dive learning with specializations in Data Analytics, Finance, Strategy, Innovation and Leadership during the first year of study. Through this approach, students will gain enhanced skills to apply in their day-to-day decision-making. Second, the program will utilize business practitioners associated with each course. The faculty will use the practitioner to help reinforce and expand upon the application of MBA concepts in practice. Finally, the program will be offered in a hybrid format, which will allow students to enroll in the MBA program while maintaining their personal and professional obligations.

William Paterson University By Dr. Richard Helldobler, President

Our Cotsakos College of Business offers programs that provide the skills students need to excel in a global business environment. Our bachelor’s degree in global business combines a strong liberal arts foundation with upper-level business courses in areas such as economic globalization, economic growth and development, international financial management, global marketing and global supply chain management. The required capstone course, Business Strategy and Policy, integrates information and skills learned throughout the curriculum, preparing students for global strategic decision-making. In addition, all business students must complete a series of professional enrichment seminars and workshops focused on strategic technology and soft skills required of the global workforce. On the graduate level, the MBA program, with a concentration in entrepreneurship, covers topics such as financing new ventures; innovation and product development; innovation, strategy and corporate sustainability; and marketing in a global environment. We also have faculty with real-world, global start-up experience.

Caldwell University By Dr. Nancy H. Blattner, President

Today, more students are focusing on careers in science and healthcare. When combined with the strengths of a liberal arts emphasis—strong oral and written communication skills; critical thinking and analytical reasoning capabilities; and the ability to work independently or as part of a team—Caldwell University creates an incredibly rich educational experience for our students. At Caldwell, record numbers of students are choosing to major in biology, chemistry, health sciences and nursing or join one of our healthcare affiliation programs in medicine, dentistry, occupational therapy or other related programs. This year, two new majors, the BS in Public Health Education and the BS in Health Care Administration, were developed to meet the demand-ing needs in these areas. Caldwell University recognizes the importance of science and healthcare programs for our students and our communities.

College of Saint Elizabeth By Dr. Helen J. Streubert, President

The College of Saint Elizabeth is well positioned to offer high-quality STEM programs having completed a $5.2 million renovation to our science building that now contains the most up-to-date technology for our students in biology, chemistry, nursing, and foods and nutrition. Our science students work in laboratories that rival those of larger institutions. They are moving into internships, graduate schools and careers with confidence having learned on the best technology available. Historically, our science and math programs have produced high-achieving women committed to careers in science, math and related fields. They serve in both basic and applied science and math settings. Our support for current students is very much focused on providing the highest- quality education with access to cutting-edge internships and supporting the transition to work in local, regional and national markets.

County College of Morris By Dr. Anthony J. Iacono, President

During the past academic year, County College of Morris (CCM) trained more than 5,000 individuals through our Workforce Development programs. As part of those efforts, we held roundtable sessions with businesses to address the need for skilled professionals. Additionally, we have launched a $2.25 million campaign to provide the facilities to prepare students to excel in our technology-driven world. Through that campaign, we will be constructing an Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing Center and Healthcare Simulation Center, featuring state-of-the-art equipment. Also, in the area of STEM, we are expanding our Cyber Security programs to meet the demand for employees and an educated public. Plus, we provide hundreds of students each year with internships and practical learning opportunities, while our Women Who Dare program serves to encourage young women to enter STEM.

Eastwick College By Tom Eastwick, President

Eastwick College has been providing training in information technology and electronics for more than 50 years, so we’re especially proactive in keep- ing our curriculum current in an industry that can experience major technological shifts in the span of just a year or two. In our latest efforts to enhance our STEM studies and provide our graduates with an advantage in the job market, we have integrated a number of new and upcoming technologies to our computer electronics certificate and associate degree paths of study, including wireless, mobile and fiber optics. The associate degree also features Comp TIA certification in Network+ and Security+, two areas that have become critical for the safe and efficient exchange of data and information within the modern workplace.

Hudson County Community College By Dr. Glen Gabert, President

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor show that 28 percent of community college graduates out-earn their four-year college and university peers over the lives of their careers. Hudson County Community College’s signature STEM, nursing and business programs create opportunities that are in line with projected economic growth for students from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Our faculty and staff work with community and business leaders, and deliver job fairs as well as externships, internships and actual employment, that give our students the advantage of on-site experience and mentoring from experts.

Kean University By Dr. Dawood Farahi, President

Kean University STEM programs are designed to give students a competitive advantage in this technology-driven job market. Our New Jersey Center for Science, Technology and Mathematics provides a unique program structured around multi-disciplinary core studies in mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics. It is integrated with hands-on, authentic research experiences under the guidance of a mentor from freshman year until graduation. This approach provides our students with a strong foundation in science and technology, command of technical application, and deep research experience that makes them highly attractive to prospective employers and graduate programs. Kean prepares our graduates to be responsive and productive in our dynamic, changing landscape. Successful career placement is one of the hallmarks of our STEM-related programs.

Monmouth University By Dr. Grey J. Dimenna, President

Monmouth University’s $40 million renovation of its Edison Science Building embodies our commitment toward STEM education, especially because our general education requirements bring all students into the building for at least four classes during their undergraduate career. A critical component was $5 million in state funding through New Jersey’s Building Our Future Act and Capital Improvement Fund. We have also significantly expanded our marine science capabilities with the acquisition of the 49-foot R/V Nauvoo, providing a major boost for hands-on research for our faculty, students and regional partners. We have entered into an agreement with the Borough of Rumson to construct a $7 million Marine and Environmental Field Station on the Navesink River, where faculty will collaborate on STEM programming for K-12 students.

New Jersey City University By Dr. Sue Henderson, President

NJCU prepares students for leadership roles in the digital age by providing a business education grounded in leadership, ethics, and critical thinking. The NJCU School of Business offers a particularly relevant M.S. degree program in Business Analytics and Data Science, which facilitates informed business decision-making and prepares students for careers in the burgeoning field of data analytics. Students hone skills needed to gather, store, analyze and interpret large amounts of “Big Data,” which is increasingly at the center of global business practice. The degree program benefits new graduates as well as seasoned professionals who wish to become leaders in this vitally important emerging field. Courses are taught by NJCU faculty experts who are top practitioners in the field. NJCU’s School of Business has launched a pilot program with Harvard Business School’s digital learning initiative—HBX, which utilizes HBX’s online platform to prepare entering graduate students with a non-business background for graduate studies in business. The program engages NJCU’s MBA students with the HBX Credential of Readiness (CORe) program, which offers an interactive, social and case-based education in business analytics, economics and financial accounting.

Ocean County College By Dr. Jon H. Larson, President

At Ocean County College, we strive to promote research and experimentation in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics. In that vein, OCC has devised a multi-faceted STEM Center for our campus in Toms River. The facility will involve learners in interactive instructional activities and in laboratories equipped with cutting-edge instrumentation, and it will seamlessly merge resources to grow the STEM student pipeline, deliver engaging educational opportunities and create a network of resources for existing businesses and startups. Through local partnerships, and the enrichment of our degree programs, we endeavor to encourage students of all ages to consider a STEM career.

Thomas Edison State University By Dr. Merodie Hancock, President

Many of our programs meet the needs of those seeking, or already immersed in, careers where opportunity is fueled by technology-related skills and leadership acumen. Our School of Applied Science and Technology’s offerings encompass associate to master’s degree programs in information technology, engineering technology, data management, cybersecurity, aviation and health technology. Our W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing’s programs are a cornerstone for nurses seeking flexible pre-licensure through doctorate degree program options that enrich their careers and position them to lead healthcare transformation. Our School of Business and Management has developed career-focused undergraduate and master’s programs in accounting, data analytics, finance and healthcare management. Across all our areas of study, students can leverage their STEM-related career skills by earning equivalent academic credits for their professional licenses, certifications and military training.

Union County College By Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin, President

We are continually evaluating programs of study and course offerings to best meet the needs of the STEM job market. Faculty utilize experiential learning as well as project-based learning across the STEM disciplines to help students better understand career opportunities. Union students in the engineering and architecture programs have access to software such as MATLab and 3D printers to help them build their design portfolios. Our students in the STEM programs have access to research leaders through specialized seminar talks and the opportunity for networking and mentorship. Additionally, our students are exposed to graduate programs and the career opportunities that follow. Union also has a program in cyber forensics, which is a rapidly growing STEM field with a need for qualified professionals.