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SEPTEMBER 28, 2018 — Middlesex County’s second annual Business Summit attracted more than 150 representatives from private business, non-profit organizations, chambers of commerce and local, county and state government to discuss “The Impact of Education and Policy on the Economy of Middlesex County.”

 Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios moderated the panel, which included Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin; Rutgers University President Robert Barchi; Robert C. Garrett, Co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health; Barry H. Ostrowsky, President and CEO of RWJBarnabas Health; Christopher J. Paladino, President of the New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO), and Dr. Carl Van Horn, Rutgers University Distinguished Professor and Director of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development.

The panelists provided information regarding how the worlds of academia, health care, private business and government can work together to boost Middlesex County’s economy.

“My fellow Freeholders and I called upon this esteemed group of panelists, each of whom has moved Middlesex County forward through innovation, collaboration and hard work, to share with us their insight,” Freeholder Director Rios said. “Together, it is our hope that participants leave the summit inspired to explore new concepts, challenge perspectives, outline opportunities, and most importantly, having attained the necessary ideas on specific business challenges to propel their business or organization toward regional and national success.”

Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin of Woodbridge gave the Keynote Address.

“I  want to thank the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders for the opportunity to shed some light on what we are doing legislatively to support our businesses and enhance education in New Jersey,” said Assembly Speaker Coughlin. “New Jersey’s economic well-being depends heavily on our business community. If our businesses are successful, New Jersey thrives. We also recognize that education and economic growth are intertwined, and that the quality of education people receive will either provide or deny advancement opportunities. It is paramount that everyone, regardless of what part of the state they live in, has access to a good education. The economic viability and competitiveness of New Jersey relies greatly on these two entities succeeding, and we are committed to working and putting forth practical legislation to make sure that they do.”

Robert Barchi, President of Rutgers University, said: “Middlesex County is uniquely positioned with the intellectual capacity, innovative creativity and political will – at all levels – to become the economic engine that drives the state and regional economy. The potential in Middlesex County is unlimited and we are fully committed to expanding and enriching the partnerships that the University has developed with our host communities, the county and the state.”

Robert C. Garrett, co-CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, said: “It’s an honor to work with such a proven and dedicated group of leaders who share a common goal: working together to improve business and educational opportunities and to enhance access to high quality health care to strengthen communities in Middlesex County and beyond.’’

 Barry H. Ostrowsky, President and Chief Executive Officer of RWJBarnabas Health, said: “RWJBarnabas Health is committed to ensuring the health and welfare of the residents of Middlesex County. As an anchor institution in New Brunswick, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, a flagship of our system, partners with local businesses and organizations to support the growth and success of Middlesex County’s businesses, and organizations.”

Christopher J. Paladino, President of the New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO), said: “We have the unique opportunity in New Brunswick in partnership with Rutgers University and Middlesex County, to create an ecosystem where creative collisions occur every day, seeding innovation, accelerating commercialization, and supercharging job creation.”

Dr. Carl Van Horn, Rutgers University Distinguished Professor and Director of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, said: “There are many exciting economic opportunities on the horizon for Middlesex County, including the Innovation Hub, health care services, and advanced manufacturing facilities. Educational institutions, government leaders and businesses need to partner to educate and train people for those opportunities, including people without degrees or credentials; midcareer, long-term unemployed workers; veterans; out-of-work/out-of-school youth, and people with disabilities.”