Monmouth County News Briefs, Jan. 11

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The Count Basie Center for the Arts and Bank of America have announced the first of 12 area nonprofit organizations to be recognized during The Giving Year, the year-long initiative to recognize and reward organizations for their contributions to the regional community.

Mental wellness nonprofit Shore House will receive $1 from every Count Basie Center ticket sold in January, along with tickets for the organization’s clientele and volunteers, according to a press release.

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Founded in 2010, Shore House’s mission is to empower and restore hope, independence and self-worth for people living with a mental illness, according to the press release.

Shore House is a local community resource where people who participate are known as members, with membership open to adults living with a mental illness. Shore House is not a treatment program or a mental health service, but rather a place where members can learn new skills, develop new relationships and explore new opportunities, according to the press release.

Organizations interested in consideration for The Giving Year may learn more and apply for consideration at www.thebasie.org/thegivingyear. Organizations need only apply once – qualifying applications will be considered on a rolling basis throughout 2023.

Gov. Phil Murphy has signed legislation (S-588) establishing the requirement of K-12 instruction on information literacy under the implementation of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards.

The bill requires the New Jersey Department of Education to develop New Jersey Student Learning Standards in “information literacy,” which is defined as a set of skills that enables an individual to recognize when information is needed and to locate, evaluate and effectively use the needed information. Information literacy includes, but is not limited to, digital, visual, media, textual and technological literacy, according to a Jan. 4 press release from Murphy’s office.

“Our democracy remains under sustained attack through the proliferation of disinformation that is eroding the role of truth in our political and civic discourse,” said Murphy. “It is our responsibility to ensure our nation’s future leaders are equipped with the tools necessary to identify fact from fiction. I am proud to sign legislation that is critical to the success of New Jersey’s students and essential to the preservation of our democracy.”

The bill requires the commissioner of the Department of Education to convene a committee, including certified school library media specialists and teaching staff members, to assist in developing the information literacy standards. The standards will be reviewed by experts as they are developed, according to the press release.

The proposed information literacy standards will be subject to public input prior to their adoption by the state Board of Education.

Each school district will incorporate instruction about information literacy in an appropriate place in the curriculum of students in grades kindergarten through 12 as part of the district’s implementation of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards, according to the press release.

New Jersey’s statewide minimum wage increased by $1.13 to $14.13 per hour for most employees, effective Jan. 1.
The increase was part of legislation signed by Gov. Phil Murphy in February 2019 that gradually raises the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024 for most employees, according to a press release.
When Murphy took office in 2018, the state’s minimum wage was $8.60 per hour.
Under a law signed in 2019, the minimum wage increases by $1 per hour each year – or more if warranted because of significant increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), according to the press release.
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) sets the minimum wage for the coming year using the rate specified in the law or a calculation based on the CPI, whichever is higher. Once the minimum wage reaches $15 per hour, the State Constitution specifies that it continue to increase annually based on any increase in the CPI, according to the press release.
Under the law, seasonal and small employers were given until 2026 to pay their workers $15 per hour. The minimum hourly wage for these employees increased to $12.93 per hour on Jan. 1, up from $11.90.
Agricultural workers are guided by a separate minimum wage timetable and were given until 2027 to reach the $15 per hour minimum wage. Long-term care facility direct care staff saw their minimum wage rise by $1.13, to $17.13.

 

Brookdale Community College, ARC of Monmouth County and Voyagers’ Community School have announced a free, pre-vocational program that offers adult students, ages 18 to 24, who have intellectual disabilities a classroom learning experience in life, consumer and employment skills, self-advocacy, healthy habits, financial literacy and the innovative use of technology.

This grant award was funded through the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education through the County College-based Center for Adult Transition Program, according to a press release.

The Achievement Zone Plus (TAZ) will begin in late January and will prepare students to pursue their goals, clarify their plans and take the next step as adults. Program offerings will focus on career readiness and job coaching through mini-lessons and group projects targeting various job skills. Each student will consider the milestones to fruitful employment, according to the press release.

Meeting at Brookdale Community College, participants will join in activities and experiences that strengthen and increase soft and career skills; self- and career-awareness; understanding of practical steps in preparing for employment; and vocational awareness and readiness.

Participants will acquire specific employment and job-specific skills. Those interested as a potential participant or as a professional representing a potential participant in the TAZ Plus program may complete an inquiry form or email nkane@brookdalecc.edu.

 

Adult use of marijuana is now legal in New Jersey and employers are required to address this issue from a workplace perspective. New Jersey business leaders who are interested in maintaining a safe, healthy and drug-free workplace are invited to participate in the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey’s (PDFNJ) free webinar, “The Challenges of Addressing Marijuana and Measuring Impairment in the New Jersey Workplace,” at 11 a.m. Feb. 9.

The webinar, hosted by PDFNJ’s workplace prevention program, Drugs Don’t Work in NJ, will examine the legal and legislative developments regarding the use of marijuana in New Jersey, measuring impairment, drug testing and how to revise drug-free workplace policy and procedures, according to a press release.

Representatives from small, mid-sized and large businesses, human resource managers, compliance and safety experts, government and union representatives, and not-for-profit executives are invited to attend. Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/4316644734621/WN_09LU9fKKTXuAyv4XmeutUA

For additional information, contact Bill Lillis at 862-253-6808.

 

 

The Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners has announced the inaugural Monmouth County Travel Guide Cover Photo Contest, which is open now through Feb. 1.

“The winning photo of the Monmouth County Travel Guide Cover Photo Contest will be featured on the cover of the guide that is requested worldwide. Additionally, it will be showcased in future marketing efforts with the photographer’s spotlight placed in the official travel guide. The runners-up will have their photos published in the guide,” Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone said. “We can’t wait to see all of the amazing photos of our county.”

For the contest, photo orientation preference is vertical; if horizontal, the image must be at least 3,000 pixels tall; photo should not exceed 10 MB; photo must be submitted in JPG format; photo must not have any watermarks.

“We invite everyone to grab a camera and capture a photo that shows how Monmouth County is one of the best tourism destinations in the world,” Arnone said. “Everyone who would like to help select the winning photo, make sure to visit the Monmouth County Tourism social media pages on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to vote for your favorite.”

Individuals submitting a photo must be 18 years of age or older and those under 18 will need parental consent; multiple entries are encouraged; photos must be submitted via the website submission form and include all required contact information; photos must be taken in Monmouth County; Monmouth County Tourism will select the finalists; the runners-up will receive placement in the travel guide with photo credit; the contest will be open until Feb. 1. To learn more, go to tourism.visitmonmouth.com or contact tourism@visitmonmouth.com.

 

 

The latest newsletter of Legal Services of New Jersey (LSNJ) centers on available assistance for health insurance coverage for children and help for food stamp recipients.

The bilingual publication, “Looking Out For Your Legal Rights,” may be viewed online at www.lsnjlaw.org, according to a press release.

The newsletter offers pieces on additional subjects, including protection against water and utility shut-offs.

Beginning in January and depending upon a family’s income, the state will provide health insurance coverage for all residents under the age of 19, including immigrants.

Starting in January, adults with children in their care are advised to go online at www.njfamilycare.org and click the red star on the home page to begin the application process. Information also is available by calling the LSNJ free legal hotline at 1-888-576-5519.

The children’s program covers a wide range of child health issues, including medical visits, dental exams and vaccinations, among others.

Another article in the newsletter deals with the Low-Income Home Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), which will pay some or all of a resident’s water and sewer bill arrears – up to $2,500 each for sewer and water bills. Applicants may contact LIHWAP by calling 800-510-3102.

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