NJBIA's Public Policy Forum: The Road to Recovery REGISTER

As New Jersey businesses face unprecedented challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, NJBIA is highlighting some of the unique and uplifting ways NJBIA members are responding across the state. Share your good news story with us on social media at #NJBIAtogether or email us at communications@njbia.org.


Berkeley College Responds to Community Need with Volunteers, Supplies

Berkeley College is responding to community need during the COVID-19 crisis, both as healthcare workers in the trenches and by donating vital supplies to area hospitals and emergency management efforts.

Two Berkeley College faculty members recently answered the call for volunteers from the New Jersey State Nurses Association. Joseph Charleman, a licensed practical nurse and chair of Berkeley’s Surgical Technology and Surgical Processing Technician programs, and Dr. Eva Skuka, Dean of Berkeley’s School of Health Studies, were assigned to a mobile testing center.

“As a nurse, it is part of your oath to care for your patients, no matter what the diagnosis,” said Charleman, who administered 150 COVID-19 tests on his first day and continued to serve at testing sites throughout April. “We train our students for these real-life situations when they complete their clinical rotations. I don’t feel fear – I just see the need for kind care.”

Many Berkeley College graduates have gone on to successful careers in healthcare and are currently serving on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19 at medical centers such as New York-Presbyterian Hospital; Mount Sinai Health System; Columbia University Irving Medical Center and others.

Berkeley College has also donated more than 50,000 medical supplies, including isolation gowns, shoe covers, gloves and surgical masks to area hospitals and emergency management efforts. The supplies had been available for use by students preparing for careers in the Surgical Technology, Surgical Processing Technician, Medical Assistant, Practical Nurse and other programs offered through the Berkeley College School of Health Studies.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything we’ve seen before,” Skuka said. “We have to find ways to pool our resources and work together to support hospitals and healthcare workers on the front lines who are caring for our communities during this crisis. To make a difference you do not have to be brilliant or perfect. You just have to care.”

In March, the college delivered personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Hackensack Surgery Center in Hackensack, which continues to serve patients facing surgical emergencies. Approximately 20 students in the Berkeley College Surgical Technology program have completed clinical rotations at the facility over the past 10 years.

ExxonMobil Modifies Facilities to Produce Medical-Grade Sanitizer for NJ

ExxonMobil has reconfigured manufacturing operations in Louisiana to produce medical-grade hand sanitizer for donation to COVID-19 response efforts in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Louisiana and Texas.

Initial production of 160,000 gallons of medical grade sanitizer – enough to fill nearly 5 million 4-ounce bottles – is being distributed to medical providers and first responders. Additional donation locations are planned.

“The ingenuity and dedication of our employees to develop a consumer-ready product in record time demonstrates ExxonMobil’s commitment to help those in need during the global pandemic,” said Darren Woods, chairman and chief executive officer of ExxonMobil. “We’re focused on keeping our people and communities safe while supporting front-line responders and meeting customer needs.”

ExxonMobil has increased monthly production of isopropyl alcohol – a key ingredient in sanitizer – by about 3,000 metric tons at its chemical manufacturing facility in Baton Rouge. To produce, package and distribute hand sanitizer, the company purchased additional ingredients and modified equipment in Baton Rouge and at a lubricants plant in nearby Port Allen, Louisiana.

“To stand up an entirely new process and supply chain in a matter of weeks, while maintaining ExxonMobil’s high standards for safety and quality and in compliance with FDA requirements is truly remarkable,” said Karen McKee, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Company.

Earlier this month, ExxonMobil announced the increased production of isopropyl alcohol, which is enough to enable monthly production of up to 50 million 4-ounce bottles of sanitizer. The company also increased its capability to manufacture specialized polypropylene, used in medical masks and gowns, by about 1,000 metric tons per month, which is enough to enable production of up to 200 million medical masks or 20 million gowns.

ExxonMobil is also participating in a technology collaboration with the Global Center for Medical Innovation to rapidly redesign and manufacture reusable personal protection equipment, such as medical face shields and masks.

Bank of America Donates $1.6 million to Community Food Bank

Bank of America has donated $1.6 million to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey in Hillside to help the nonprofit organization combat food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Andrew Koob reported in NJ.com that the contribution will go toward the creation and distribution of emergency meal kits, as well as to increase distribution across the counties in which the food bank operates: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren.

“With the shuttering of businesses across the state due to the coronavirus, countless people are facing the realities of reduced work hours, layoffs and missed paychecks. The need for CFBNJ’s services is growing day by day,” Carlos Rodriguez, president and CEO of The Community FoodBank of New Jersey, said in a statement.

Bank of America has committed a total $100 million in philanthropic grants to communities in need to address the impact of the coronavirus, including immediate humanitarian needs delivered by local organizations and global nonprofits, according to Bank of America’s website.

“As the needs in our local communities continue to rapidly escalate, we must take swift action to provide resources where there are gaps, and help local communities protect their most vulnerable populations,” said Brian Moynihan, chairman and CEO of Bank of America in a press statement.