Berkeley College | Caucus NJ: Getting The Best Return on Your College Investment

Berkeley College | Caucus NJ: Getting The Best Return on Your College Investment

August 14, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


hi I’m Barry Ostrowski at Barnabas
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trusted source and northjersey.com and by Politicker NJ welcome to caucus i’m steve adubato is
college for everyone every student and their family is looking for the
assurance that a college experience will provide a solid foundation for a future
successful life and business here to discuss the smartest decision that you
can make for college we have in the studio michael klein CEO of new jersey
association of state colleges and universities Gretchen Orsini associate
vice president of high school and community outreach at Berkeley College
Michelle Sakura president chief executive officer of New Jersey business
and industry association and Michael abou is a first cement is in his first
semester at Berkeley cause I want to thank all of you for joining us you’ll
see several websites up throughout this program that will be providing valuable
information about college and affordability and also the best return
on investment Michelle let me turn you you’ve been with us many times talking
about business issues yes but this is it a higher ed she is an economic issue
business issue are all them oh it’s a combination of all of them Steve
absolutely think about workforce development and think about we still
today do things in a very traditional manner of being a parent what did I say
to my kids all their young years you got to go to college you got to go to
college you go to go to college being where I am now and seeing all the array
of opportunities available to students not everyone’s cut out for the four-year
education you got two year you got career preparation you’ve got
certification programs you got straits unskilled trade opportunities there’s a
lot out there and folks need to really stop and think about what is the right
thing for them so interesting by the way real quick we don’t plug a lot here but
this publication New Jersey business your publication when I went through it
recently many of the articles are about higher education many of the articles
are about higher at institutions and what they are doing to partner with
business organizations and vice versa it’s a trend that’s happening more and
more it is and let me put some numbers behind what Michelle had said there are
62 percent of our jobs in 2010 in New Jersey required post-secondary education
you can’t get by with just a high school diploma so to answer your question the college might not be for everyone
but this is a valuable discussion because students and parents should
think about what to do after high school because by the year twenty twenty sixty
eight percent of the jobs in New Jersey are going to require some kind of
post-secondary training and that’s really important we’re at 62 we need to
get to 68 so let’s talk about this the right fit how how do you help families
students because we’ve talked about you in a minute you didn’t find your way to
berkeley the first shot around it was a second time are you how do you help
families students figure out what the right fit is i think this is just
another step and most families in their parenting it’s knowing your child we’ve
all said we have multiple children every child is different and it’s more about
finding them out what they’re passionate about what is going to be something that
they’re really truly interested in when you talk to students may be your average
student in high school we’re their grades direct dip on their transcript
may be the classes that they really didn’t enjoy you find a kid that says I
was great in math but I hated science well now we need to look into what
careers can you do and what education do you need to participate in those careers
that are going to concentrate on your strengths and allow you to grow as that
person that’s why Berkeley has a very strong commitment we have different
levels of education we have different entrance and exit points for students to
your point before we have certificate programs what does that mean a
certificate program certificate programs are taught at a college level however
they feed the need of an industry such as medical assisting yeah medical
assistants are very prominent in the medical field or an intricate part of
the medical community what do you need to become a medical assistant well we
make sure that our students have the ability by being k hep approved what
does that mean have is a program it’s the you need
certain approval clearly to enter that field it’s yes here’s the thing I the
area that I want to focus on every student or every young person has his or
her passion or they haven’t figured out what it is and it seems to me that and
again we have four kids ages believe it or not 23 all the way to five and
they’re so different in so many ways and i will tell you if with our son stephen
from my first marriage I had an idea as to where I wanted him to go to school
and it wasn’t his idea as to where he wanted to go to school and let’s just
say we had a spirited discussion about where he was going to go to school and
he went out and the irony was that this school I wanted him to go to he was
offered a very significant scholarship and he turned it down to go to the
school he wanted to go to it wound up being the best decision he ever could
have made for him somehow he sent it I wasn’t listening to him and that’s a
mistake we make now for you you did what after high school because you wound up
transferring after that how did you prepare to make a decision about how to
go to school not everyone is prepared is everyone else well I was speaking a lot
with my parents about where they thought I should go where they thought yes and
then I started thinking about where I wanted to go and what I wanted to study
so at first I wanted to study the marine biology program so i was looking towards
florida california and let me ask you this de florida or california have any
appeal to you because of the weather not really ok being in the cold and the
spring ok stuff like that but yeah I look towards florida in California and I
got accepted to one school in Florida so the school I went down I looked at it I
liked it but it was smaller than most schools but not the smaller school I can
be in and I went there I was like okay I’m just going to go here I’ll try and
get through it but I didn’t really think that I
really wanted to be there so when I went there and they told me that I didn’t
make it into the program that was kind of my excuse not to go down and to stay
here and try and figure out what I actually wanted to do so I started
speaking with family friends that are in the accounting industry and I really had
an interest for numbers so I decided to look into that and see you switch majors
yes and was it friends you were talking about friends family friends family and
friends who gave you information about Berkeley an essay wind up yes it’s
interesting Michelle how do you think most students make the decision a and B
do you think it’s the student in our case it was our son it wasn’t we didn’t
do it he did it do you think the parents or the kid or both or what well I have
to say and maybe this is a generational issue but we as parents tend to
influence our children a lot or direct them perhaps I don’t know if we’re good
at influencing them but we do direct them and it’s a very difficult thing I
think parents tend to want to leave their children on the path that is a
very generational issue but I’ll tell you very similar story because my
daughter came to me in the end and she was between two colleges and she said
mom which one do I go to and I said she directly asked me and I said absolutely
not I will not make that decision for you you’ll make it and you will own it
and if it’s the wrong one after a year you’ll decide to transfer into do
whatever you need to do but I needed her to own that decision these I wanted her
to own that decision because if that didn’t go right if I said to her go to
be school and she went to be school and be school wasn’t working out she well
you told me to go there so I wanted her to own it in the end that’s interesting
a lot of evolved look good I think a lot of this has to do with it and it’s great
the way dimension Michelle handle that you want the student and the parent to
have is most the best information as possible and that’s something we r we
getting it well that’s exactly what I want to talk about and see what the
group thought that we we as a group of institutions through my association try
to describe who’s in your association ah it’s the state colleges and universities
six of them of the old state teachers colleges and then the the institutions
created in the late 60s and 70s and imagine a time when New Jersey could
create brand new institutions like ramapo
Stockton Thomas Edison along with Montclair State College of New Jersey
cane new jersey city university William Paterson and if I forget one I’ll get
fired but not the big army yeah so I just fit through to a weird just how we
were created Rutgers and New Jersey Institute of Technology and now Rowan
are not part of our association that they’re the research institutions got it
but we work we’re very collaborative collaboratively together and we owe this
idea of consumer information getting where do you get it our website the
institution’s websites that the government is trying to play a role now
the federal government and the state of New Jersey there are the Secretary of
higher education in New Jersey’s got a good website that has links to everybody
each of the institutions website you given hold on what about the fact that
there are whole bunch of people who are looking at lists right so look at our
list is this institution on the best business school list the best this
school list is are there any new jersey schools on the top 100 the top 200 top
500 whatever it is and it’s I don’t I don’t know who these people are making
these decisions I don’t know what value there is you know to those lists and I
don’t know how to compare that to what is best for my child and what about that
that’s why I really believe that it’s very important for both children and
families to go down and visit whatever school they’re looking into now what are
they looking for when they get there is it physically it looks like helps no
they’re looking at themselves they’ll get a feeling when they go to a school
they will be able to assess the classrooms can they visualize themselves
sitting in those classrooms do they feel comfortable do they like what they see
do they like the interaction that they see between the students and the
professors I’m actually sitting class and what you’re saying don’t just look
at the physical campus yeah go into a classroom mm-hmm why because you need to
know everyone learns in the learning environment in a different way I can be
perfectly happy sitting in myself sitting a
class I have to have my questions answered immediately I very low patience
so I need to be able to say excuse me over here I’m not understand there’s a
200-person lecture hall you’re not getting I’m not getting that attention
now for some students that’s perfectly fine and they can function that way but
for the student who can’t my answer is don’t put yourself into that situation
because whichever class room you’re in whether it’s a large class of a small
class you need that information to get the skill set that you’re going to use
in your career so you need that information however way you get it is up
to you and you can’t get it all online Michelle well there’s a lot of resources
online I mean there’s a lot of resource online but the whole idea of word of
mouth you know when you’re looking at schools talk to people who went there
find other students have your kid talk to other people being there absolutely
because you know they’ll share their personal experience that matters sure
let’s talk about money the economics of this cuz we’re talking about return on
investment and you deal with return on investment all the time with the
businesses that are members of the businesses industry association well
Michael how do you deal with that question of return on investment how
would you define a return on your investment of the tuition that it costs
to go to college how many how do you deal with that well is it do I get a job
in this much time how much does the job pay me I mean how do you measure that
for me it’s more of getting a job right out of college and Berkeley does help
with that because they help mark Berkeley helps with getting a job like
placement we haven’t yet we have a career services department that works
with our students in helping them prepare for interviews prepare the
resume putting together how to do a job search so Mike how’d you respectfully
how’d you even know because sometimes there are students who don’t even know
that services exist how did you even know that that existed uh when I went on
my first tour for Berkeley I asked a lot of questions with my admissions
counselor just to make sure that it was for you did that yes and now that you
know that you know their internships are you out
there on it yet no because you’re only in a first semester yes your game plan
is to do what moving forward in terms of internships for me it I want to try and
work in a smaller business just so that I can get used to the industry and then
i’ll look into berkeley and seeing if i can get into a bigger business seeing
like forensic accounting trying to sit next to someone watch what they do and
just kind of get the feel of where i want to be mark let me ask you this the
financing of your education is it planned out yes I’m paying for my own
college it’s all coming out of like grants and loans but my mom and dad
aren’t helping you with payments I have to work I work with my dad in
construction to pay for my own college you’re doing that yes I sick and push a
little further how much more invested are you in your college experience
because you are doing this yourself oh by doing it myself I kind of feel a
little bit more with the time management it’s helping me a lot because I go from
school to work to soccer practice and there’s a sucker as well yes so I do
that and then on fridays i don’t have school so I i go to work all day then
soccer practice saturdays at work and i’m just trying to work as much as
possible now this way i can slowly pay off my my loans you’re all in aren’t you
yes like what are you hearing it’s a admire what what he’s doing tremendously
and it speaks exactly to what we’re trying to get at that the return on
investment is not a dollar sign at the end of the day I wanted to hear that
this school is helping him get his aspirations and reach his goals is
really more snow in the work he’s doing the work which is great he’s got the
resources and sounds like terrific counselors and his own personal
motivation which is what everyone’s got to bring to the game
what what is frustrating for for for me and folks in our association is it
seeing lists like what you’re talking about before where return on investment
is simply a dollar sign 10 years out what are typical graduates making and
that’s from our criteria that’s used yeah I don’t think that measures the
quality of the education that they get if someone brings the passion of wanting
to work in a particular industry and and can get there through the school that
they pick that’s the sign of success it’s if you want to make the most money
and it’s got more to do with what you do be the major that you pick rather than
the school there you go all the return on investment lists invariably it’s
engineers to make the most money well that’s we we kind of know that if your
community here that man’s dick sorry for driving so if you’re not in that major
you’ve done really well you even find a good job you’re fortunate enough in this
tough these tough times to find a good job but you’re not earning as much as an
engineer those lists may not say that that school is one of the best schools
because you’re not an engineer but the fact is engineers are making the most
Michelle when you heard mark talked about how he I was looking at you is
that’s the spirit of an entrepreneur absolutely absolutely that’s what we see
more and more and educational environments that can embrace that and
can empower that is HUGE HUGE I mean that’s what those are real skills
absolutely nice really well and skill and let’s talk about skills chief cuz
that’s what it’s all about you know workforce development is all about
skills so our companies are businesses are 20,000 businesses across the state
of New Jersey you know unfortunately they’re telling us every day that
they’re not finding the marks in the world unfortunately you know a lot of
the students have become very good right now because good that’s good well he’s
got a lot to be proud of that’s right but you know they’re telling us that
students are coming out whether it be you know two-year four-year without the
communication skills and the hands-on experience that they need you know the
technical skills you learn by it being in the trade sure but those
employability skills the ability to communicate to write to comprehend
critical thinking to work in a team of management time
management finishing a job absolutely and when he and when he said when he’s
mark you use the term time management right now okay that is HUGE because we
hear that all the time showing up to work on time you think that’s a given no
it’sit’s criticality right now in workforce development that employability
skills are lacking so what we’re doing on that is we’re trying to play a role
of facilitator and coordinator we’re trying to say to our businesses what are
the skills that are lacking employability and technical we’re trying
to go back bring private sector into the game go to our two and four-year
colleges and say here’s what the businesses are telling us is missing
right now they’ll even help you come and write the curriculum okay so that you
can deliver the students and the product that can walk right out and walk into a
job how receptive are you fine is interesting yeah only because I’ve
taught at a few of the institutions of higher learning in the area of business
and I know that getting a course approved is not easy let’s just say
there’s a little bit of bureaucracy fair a little bit fair how receptive have you
found most institutions of higher learning to the business and industry
association coming in and saying listen we have some ideas they’re coming along
so I will say more so everything is evolutionary you got to start somewhere
and then you got to keep bringing you know what’s the value to you on us and I
think the reason why they’re coming along is because they’re they’re
scratching their own heads when you have a college president you know sitting
there saying well what do you what do you mean that my product my student
isn’t what you want sore need it’s a sense of pride as well they are coming
along and it is beautiful there’s a need what are you hearing well Berkeley has
always had our unique approach to our academic joining academics and making
our students very career focus from the onset I think it starts from day one
because all of our professors not only have their academic credentials to teach
but also have practical work experience in the field in which they’re educating
our students on so they’re not giving them a strict book education they’re
also interjecting in with them what their personal experiences have been
from industry and what industry is looking for an industry
needs so it becomes a different perspective where it is a professor but
it is also a mentor and my section in it yes because I believe that you’re
teaching your passion so that makes it a different classroom environment and I
think you would agree and that’s in the accounting field have you dealt with
professors who actually are in the field as well I haven’t started my accounting
classes yet are you in general yeah right now I’m in my general classes I
started late so I didn’t really get to choose my accounting class but I feel
like they help you a lot and they kind of guide you in the right direction but
if you don’t do the work yourself you’re not going to succeed what they’re trying
to get you to stay in what Marcus said because by the way you’ve been looking
at web sites throughout this program about how you get more information but
ultimately ultimately is it fair to say that even though the institution of
higher learning can provide lots of resources lots of information lots of
help some financial assistance where that is appropriate ultimately I often
say this I do a lot of executive coaching and leadership development and
I often say to my clients you are the quarterback of your own career someone’s
that I didn’t get this partnership because so-and-so didn’t help me I
didn’t get this promotion you’re shaking your head right I’ll say you are the
quarterback of your own career I’m not saying you control everything but it’s
you’re the quarterback of your academic experience is that too simplistic sigh
just spoiling on a bumper sticker it’s not really true I believe it but more
importantly do you believe it I do and it the students and parents can be
overwhelmed with choices and and my little brother used to say that you
can’t trust in HTC there’s marked quarterback of his academic career I
think he’s proven it ya knows every student was just ultimately the person
who has the greatest influence over his or her academic career there’s an
interesting poll that Gallup did with Purdue University that shows it’s coming
out of college looking back on it graduates say they had their ones that
had the most satisfaction and forth thought they both got the most out of it
didn’t do it alone they felt like they had to have workplace experience which
is what we’re talking about sir and can look back and had a mentor and those two
things made them much more satisfied with their college experience not the
what their grades were not what the job was so those are really key fact isn’t
it the job of the student respectfully to find that mentor t listen if someone
reaches out for you and says I want to be your mentor that’s great but if you
don’t have one don’t you have to go find one I think it depends on I agree with
you the student is definitely the quarterback and they but they also have
to be able to have the assertiveness and the comfort level to go out there and
pick who they want on their teams you can be a great quarterback but if you
don’t have somebody to throw the ball to you’re not going to score that’s
interesting Michelle final thoughts here about the importance of making the bet
not the right choice because not any one choice the best possible choice about hi
red well few things it’s back on your future absolutely i mean i think you
have to you always have to step back and so it’s one thing to be passionate I
mean passion drives everything but passion also is just being a
self-directed person on be honest about your skills and your abilities I truly
believe we talked about this earlier I truly believe technical skills you can
pick up along the way when you’re in the right environment but being self self
driven motivated and staying focused and sharp I think that’s significantly
important if you bring passion to the game and if you bring motivation and
your self driven you’re going to be successful the skills are going to come
along someone can teach you let’s I want to thank all of you for joining us and
talking about the importance not just of higher education but making the right
choices and you I know you’re nervous before you came on the program you are a
great role model who motivated a lot of people you should be proud of yourself
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