NJ Tech Weekly

NJ Tech Weekly

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  • NPower Brings Newly Approved IT Apprenticeship Program to Jersey City


    on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

     
     
     
    On March 20, NPower held a reception in Jersey City to celebrate the registration of its IT Generalist Apprenticeship Program with the U.S. Department of Labor.
    The Department of Labor’s recent approval of IT apprenticeships has created the new certification of “IT Generalist,” and Larry Byrd, a resident of Jersey City and a veteran, is the first person to receive it. Bernard E. Treml, III, state director for the Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship, and Donna Scalia, apprenticeship and training program specialist at the Labor Department, were present to show support for the NPower apprenticeship program.
    After finishing the program — which includes a course, an internship and on-the-job training — participants receive a Certificate of Completion of Apprenticeship and the title of IT generalist.  This is a new direction for the Department of Labor, which has traditionally recognized apprenticeships only for manual trades.
    “It is a great opportunity for vets to get a job,” said Byrd. “I heard of other opportunities that don't really provide at the end. This is great.” Indeed, Byrd found his current job through his internship under the program.
    Anise Ward, a young graduate of the program, told NJTechWeekly.com that she also got a job after her internship. She now works for Great Oaks Legacy Charter School as a technical coordinator, troubleshooting and maintaining computer operations.
    NPower (Brooklyn, N.Y.), a national nonprofit organization with offices in New Jersey, has just signed a “Standards of Apprenticeship” agreement with the Department of Labor to sponsor a registered “IT Generalist” apprenticeship program for training young adults and veterans for in-demand technical careers in New Jersey. This is in addition to the many accelerated computer-training programs that NPower already offers. Thus, the new apprenticeship program furthers NPower's mission to “create pathways to prosperity by launching digital careers for military veterans and young adults from underserved communities.”
    NPower provides free IT career training that helps students get industry-recognized credentials such as CompTIA A+, CCNA and Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). In addition, NPower helps graduates get paid internships and job opportunities with Fortune 500 companies. The company has already found a partner for the apprenticeship program: Atlas (Berkeley Heights), a consulting firm that specializes in workforce management and job placement. Atlas has hired NPower graduates in the past and will help place IT generalists who complete the NPower apprenticeship program.  Byrd interned at Atlas, before being placed in his current job.
    Founded in 2002, NPower expanded into New Jersey in the fall of 2015. The apprenticeship program started in December 2015. It is a 15-week, half-day program that teaches many computer skills, as well as the work and social skills necessary for success. The course is followed by a seven-week paid internship and then by 30 weeks of on-the-job training.
    The participants take the course at New Jersey City University (Jersey City), and the material covers the gamut of computer-operations topics, such as best practices, office software like MS Excel and PowerPoint, technical writing, help desk functions, operating systems, wireless networks, Web services, information assurance, security, networking, multimedia and databases. The work and social skills training covers topics like work ethics, team building and project management.
    The reason NPower chose to expand to Jersey City is stated on NPower's website: “The most densely populated county in New Jersey, Hudson County is home to some of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse communities in the country. Despite a concentration of Fortune 500 companies in Jersey City's downtown, poverty and unemployment remains high within some pockets of the city and county. With nearly 40 percent of Jersey City residents being between the ages of 18 and 24, NPower is committed to training and preparing young adults for high quality jobs in the technology sector.” 
    Béatrice Tassot, NPower regional director for New Jersey, whose son is a Marine, said, “I pushed hard for the program to include training for vets. Any vet could be my son. Some vets have unique challenges. I'm glad to help.” Indeed, Byrd is a good example. Unable to drive to his job, which is a half-hour ride from his home, he commutes three hours — each way — by public transportation, while looking to relocate!
    “Since our New Jersey program launched, we have trained over 45 young adults and veterans, 75 percent of which were granted extended internships, placed in full-time jobs, or decided to continue their education.” Tassot added.
    NPower CEO Bertina Ceccarelli said, “Next we will bring our cyber security training to New Jersey within a year. This includes Linux+, Network+ and CompTIA certifications. This is 14 weeks of classroom training and 12 weeks of internship. Right now, New Jersey residents can go to [our] Brooklyn [facility] for this training.” Ceccarelli then noted that “NPower is funded by grants, and the apprenticeship is mostly funded by the [U.S. and New Jersey] Departments of Labor.” Notable private sponsors include: Verizon, JPMorgan Chase, Atlas, Bank of America, and the Hyde and Watson Foundation.
    The officers of the New Jersey board are: Tassot;  Richard “Rik” Jones, a former Marine, now director of technology business management at KPMG; Vivian Brady-Philips, deputy mayor of Jersey City; Jacquie Cleary, president and CEO of Atlas; Chris Murphy, director, platform services, TD Ameritrade; Master Sgt John Escalante, New York City Representative, Marine For Life Network, U.S. Marine Corps; Evan Guzman, head of military programs and engagement–global talent acquisition, Verizon; Josh Richards, director, identity and access management, Pearson; Joe Carlin, director, technology service delivery, Mars, Incorporated; and Robin A. Wilkins-Toombs, founder, executive director and president of Boots Up.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
     
     
     
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  • Liberty Science Center Expansion Wins Key Vote from Council


    on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

    Liberty Science Center expansion wins key vote from council

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  • Businesses Worry that Too Many Millennials Headed Out of New Jersey


    on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

     

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  • Get Ready! Propelify (Formerly Propeller) is on Its Way and It Promises to Be Bigger and Better


    on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

     
    Let’s face it. Last year we weren’t sure if Aaron Price could pull it off. He had a vision for a big regional tech festival to be held on a pier on the waterfront in Hoboken.
    It would draw folks from all over the Northeast to listen to tech-entrepreneur speakers, watch drone races, participate in virtual reality experiences and meet prospective employers and each other. And he — along with a hundred volunteers — made it happen. Last year almost 8,000 people showed up.
    So can he pull it off again? The indications are good. For one thing, Price says he has a group of experienced, dedicated volunteers who are determined to make this year’s festival even better and “more awesome” than last year’s. They’re even more pumped because they’ve seen what’s possible.
    Propelify is scheduled for May 18 (rain date May 19) on a pier in Hoboken facing the New York City skyline, a beautiful backdrop for a day that promises to be full of fun, tech and entrepreneurial enrichment.
    Price said that Propelify is intended to be an event where ideas are launched and people are inspired, and the program so far reflects that. “Last year was a proof of concept, and there were a lot of people who doubted we could pull it off. Now it’s about, not just making it possible, but making it amazing and being able to maintain that. You know I have a high bar, and I’m bringing that bar to this event.”
    Everyone who went to Propeller last year will notice the festival’s name change. Price said that he had run into some legal problems with the name of the festival, and came to an amicable agreement with the holder of a federal trademark for the name.
    Also, having a rain date is something new this year. Last year’s festival was going to be held rain or shine. May 2016 was a very rainy month, but Propeller was held on a warm, sunny day. Price decided to add a rain date “to take some of the risk out of the equation.”
    Having Propelify in New Jersey wasn’t a given, as Price sees the festival as an innovation event that unites the whole Northeast. He and his colleagues looked at a lot of location options. “We just wanted a location that was a bit of a destination, inspiring, and was representative of what is next. Hoboken checked all of those boxes. It’s very accessible, it’s beautiful and we’re excited to be back.” NJTechWeekly.com is thrilled that the event is back in the Garden State.
    There were certainly some glitches at last year’s event, but Price is determined to fix them for this year’s. “I come from a software background, and it was like having people walk around your creation, rather than experience your digital offering. We got a lot of great feedback. We are improving the attendee experience. Giving people better guidance as to where they can go related to their specific interests.” This includes better signage and communication throughout the event.
    For example, the festival will clearly identify which companies are hiring. If attendees are into AI, they will be able to find AI-related companies more easily. Or if attendees want to hear a particular speaker, they’ll know where and when that speaker will be on stage.
    Some of the highlights of the event include speakers like Divyank Turakhia, founder and CEO of Media.net (New York); Jason Saltzman, cofounder and CEO of Alley (New York); Albert Wenger, a partner at Union Square Ventures (New York); Jesse Hertzberg, CEO of Livestream (Brooklyn, N.Y.); and Wendi C. Sturgis, EVP sales and services at Yext (New York). These speakers, and others, have already been announced, but Price said that some “celebrity” speakers are close to being pinned down.
    Deloitte is hosting the investor speed-dating event and Samsung will be sponsoring the startup competition.  Beatie Wolfe, a musical performer who sang with Bell Labs’ Human Digital Orchestra, will also be there. Her innovative performance last year was not to be missed.
    We asked Price what will be new this year. “While I can’t go into the details, we are probably going to have a digitally enabled bouncy house and potentially a Ferris wheel this year,” he said. “We might have a VR arcade or a VR theater. We have some great sponsors that we are thrilled to have joined us, like Deloitte. Jet is back, Staples is involved with Innovation Row, [and there’s] WeWork and Alley.” Entrepreneur magazine continues to be the media sponsor for the event.
    “Our biggest partner is Nokia Bell Labs, based in New Jersey. They’ve been a tremendous partner for us.”
    Price said that when Propelify launched ticket sales last week to a very small group of people, the buyers came from three countries and 15 states. “This isn’t about just the small players locally. It’s about the big and small players locally and the big players domestically,” he added.
    While Price wants Propelify to be a regional event, we encourage our New Jersey readers to show up in force at Propelify and demonstrate that we are Jersey Strong. Our tech innovation ecosystem continues to grow here in the Garden State. And in case you thought the festival is just for tech entrepreneurs and innovators in startups, it isn’t. All of you who work in tech in larger companies in the state will be inspired by this festival and will learn something from it. If you’ve been trying to establish a culture of innovation at your company, sending your employees to Propelify could be just the thing to boost morale and encourage “out of the box” thinking.
    Buy a ticket and show off your Jersey pride. NJTechWeekly.com has made arrangements for you to enjoy Propelify at 25 percent off. Just go to the Propelify website, choose general admission and use this code: NJTechWeekly.
    Here are the articles NJTechWeekly.com published about last year's Propeller:
    Propeller Officially Launches; Hoboken to Host Thousands for Innovation Festival By Esther Surden
    Opinion: Why You Should Go to Propeller and Bring Your Employees By Esther Surden
    Impressions: Propeller Fest Gets Networking, Business Hopping in Hoboken By Givon Zirkind
    Propeller Takes Off in Hoboken As Thousands Learn, Play and Propel Their Startups Forward By Esther Surden
    Propeller, a Day of Tech Entrepreneurship Learning and Fun, Through Pictures By Esther Surden
    Opinion: Propeller Shows Startup Momentum is Building on This Side of the Hudson By Laurie Petersen
    Opinion: The “Price” is Right for the NJ Tech Scene. Or Is It the Other Way Around? By Henry Bestritsky
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  • Tech Biz Tips: Self-Discipline for Tech Entrepreneurs


    on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

     
    Everybody wants to achieve financial independence, be fit and trim and spend more time with our families. This is the fundamental wish list we all have. But most people are not willing to invest in the self-discipline needed to achieve these goals.
    Self-discipline isn’t easy for the typical entrepreneur, who is tortured with a head full of ideas and wants to explore them all simultaneously. Simply stated, “Self-discipline is the ability to do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.”
    It’s a fact that the lack of self-discipline is a major cause of failure for most entrepreneurs. On the other hand, successful entrepreneurs make a habit of doing the things that unsuccessful people don’t like to do. When you master the power of self-discipline, you will be unstoppable.
    The age-old Pareto Principle (the 80/20 rule) applies to everything in life, i.e., 20 percent of your time equals 80 percent of your results; and, conversely, we waste 80% of our time and are only productive 20% of every day, if that. It’s a fact that 20% of the population earns 80% of the money, and enjoys 80% of the riches and rewards in society. Unfortunately, the bottom 80% make little or no effort to upgrade their skills, which is becoming more and more obvious in our technology-driven society, as routine jobs are automated out of existence.
    Every entrepreneur should study the law of cause and effect, which says that if you want to achieve success in any endeavor, you must study how success is achieved in that area, and then practice those skills and activities repeatedly to achieve the same results. This is self-evident in sports, politics, war and business. The winners are disciplined and the losers are not.
    Another problem most entrepreneurs have is the lack of a written plan for their business. You would think that anyone starting a business would have a plan — right? WRONG!
    Many entrepreneurs rush wildly into starting a business based on their idea of how to make a better world. Frequently, they start their business with other like-minded tech entrepreneurs who don’t have a plan either. The results are obvious, as the majority of new businesses fail in the first 12 to 18 months. Why is that? Basically, because they haven’t developed a well-thought-out business plan and they run out of money due to a lack of business experience.
    Even more fundamental is the fact that they haven’t even developed a simple break-even analysis to determine how much they will have to sell month-by-month just to cover their startup expenses. That should be the first critical planning lesson for any entrepreneur.
    Many entrepreneurs spend all of their startup funds just getting ready to do business, so they fail before they start. The reasons for developing a business plan are as follows:
    You get to understand all that is involved in starting and managing a business for profit. It’s a wonderful educational experience for any entrepreneur.
    Developing a business plan before starting is relatively inexpensive and can be done on paper, or on a computer. It may save an entrepreneur from himself.
    Doing a break-even analysis for the first year of a new business to determine if you can sell enough of whatever you are creating to cover your startup expenses is another eye opener for entrepreneurs. Even just developing a new app takes time and money.
    Measuring actual results against a budget is another fundamental exercise in cash flow for entrepreneurs.
    Every business is about numbers, pure and simple. Accounting is another much-needed staple for any entrepreneur.
    Lastly, business is also about marketing. Most entrepreneurs are great salesmen, but not good marketers. You can have a great new product, but if you don’t understand how to let consumers know about it, how great it is won’t matter.

    In conclusion, to be successful is to become someone you have never been before. That means you will have to do something you probably have never done before — become more disciplined.
    Bob Donnelly is an author, educator and brand builder for businesses and individuals. He is an entrepreneur himself and has started and sold several technology based businesses. He teaches Entrepreneurship & Innovation MBA courses at Saint Peters University, and also for an online global university. His book,  Guide book To Planning - A Common Sense Approach, is available on Amazon in a soft cover edition, an E book, and an audio book. He can be reached at: rdonnelly@saintpeters.edu. […]

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