Capital Analytics Highlights South Jersey’s Business Growth

Capital Analytics Highlights South Jersey’s Business Growth

Invest: South Jersey offers economic insight in a time of uncertainty

July 6, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

CHERRY HILL, NJ – Capital Analytics’ in-depth research into the South Jersey market has never been more important. Invest: South Jersey, one of an annual series of business reports, offers comprehensive business intelligence during a time of economic uncertainty. Invest: South Jersey dives into the top economic sectors in the county, including real estate, construction, utilities and infrastructure, transportation and aviation, banking and finance, legal, healthcare, education, and arts, culture and tourism. The publication features exclusive insights from industry leaders, sector insiders, political officials and heads of important institutions. It analyzes the leading challenges facing the market and uncovers emerging opportunities for investors, entrepreneurs and innovators.

“South Jersey was an important expansion for us because it is a unique and dynamic area that functions with the greater Philadelphia region. Our South Jersey expansion showcases how metro areas are more than just cities, but rather a diverse ecosystem made up of many companies, locations and environments. Despite the challenges put upon us by COVID-19, Capital Analytics remains steadfast in our purpose: to deliver in-depth business intelligence through its print and digital platforms. Now more than ever, information is not only necessary, it is vital,” said Abby Melone, President and CEO of Capital Analytics. 

Over seven months, the Capital Analytics team conducted extensive research and interviewed over 200 high-profile industry leaders such as; Steve Sweeney, New Jersey’s Senate President, Marty Small, Mayor of Atlantic City and Michael Snyder, Director of Operations for Visit South Jersey. Through their research, the Capital Analytics team identified significant business insights that will serve as important knowledge benchmarks for investors, entrepreneurs and innovators. The publication is the first and most comprehensive report on South Jersey’s vibrant business climate, as seen through the eyes of those at the forefront of their sectors.

“Over the course of our seven-month research period, we were given the ability to truly peel back the curtain and discover what has gone into making South Jersey the hotbed for investment that it has become. What we found was that this economy has not only flourished thanks to cross-sector collaboration but also because of thoughtfully calculated community efforts to raise South Jersey’s status as a preeminent destination for both economic and social prosperity,” said Max Crampton-Thomas, Regional Editor of Capital Analytics. 

 

About Capital Analytics:

Capital Analytics produces in-depth business intelligence with a focus on providing comprehensive investment knowledge on markets within the United States for the domestic and global business community. Over a seven-month research period, it meets with more than 200 top political, commercial and industry leaders to deliver targeted information, in-depth analyses and strategic insights to the global business community on economic trends and investment opportunities.

Its first publication, Invest: Miami, has a global readership and includes among its readers top executives working in real estate, finance, technology, trade and logistics, health, hospitality and others. Books are distributed locally, nationally and globally to trade and investment boards, executives of Fortune 500 companies, institutional investors, consulates and embassies, hedge funds, leading chambers and associations, as well as high-level summits and conferences.

 

 

For more information contact 

Max Crampton-Thomas 

Regional Editor

mcthomas@capitalaa.com

TEL: 305-523-9708 ext 233

How South Jersey is celebrating the 4th of July during the pandemic

How South Jersey is celebrating the 4th of July during the pandemic

By: Beatrice Silva 

2 min read – Celebrating Independence Day is a big deal for most Americans. The Fourth of July officially became a national holiday in 1870. Then in 1941, a provision was expanded, making it a paid day off for all federal employees. People across the nation celebrate by setting off fireworks, watching parades, and having casual BBQs with their friends and family. This year however, festivities are going to look a lot different due to the constantly evolving COVID-19 virus. 

South Jersey skies will sparkle slightly less than they have in previous years, as most towns have canceled their usual spectacles. However, that doesn’t mean the holiday is completely up in smoke. There are still quite a few CDC-regulated activities you can enjoy that will keep you safe while satisfying your patriotic urges. Invest: South Jersey explores five of the top things to do this Fourth of July weekend during a pandemic. 

Middle Township Fireworks 

Mayor Tim Donohue let freedom ring when he decided to reverse his decision to cancel this year’s fireworks display. The town’s annual celebration will be held at dusk on Saturday, July 4 and gates will open one hour before start time. People are encouraged to wear masks and practice social distancing. The fireworks will also be streamed on the Middle Township Facebook page for anyone who wants to enjoy the festivities from the comfort of their home. 

For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10217619152931637&set=a.1465495198362&type=3

Burlington County Virtual Contests 

Bordentown Township, Medford and Riverton have all canceled their fireworks celebrations. However, county officials are still encouraging their residents to hold family picnics on their lawns or driveways at 4 p.m. on the Fourth of July. They hope these festivities will help unite their community while still practicing safe social distancing. Officials also announced that they will be holding virtual house decorating, patriotic costumes and pet pageant contests. Contestants are asked to submit photographs of their entries. The winners will be announced on riverton4thofjuly.com, Facebook, and Instagram. 

For more information visit: https://www.riverton4thofjuly.com/covid

Ocean Gate 4th of July Parade

On June 20, Ocean Gate borough took to Facebook to announce that it will still be hosting its annual July Parade. Registration for the parade opens at 8 a.m. on July 4, at Adrian Hall. Try to come early because only a limited number of people will be allowed into the building at one time. The July Parade begins at 10 a.m. on Ocean Gate Avenue. To encourage social distancing, the parade route will be extended this year.

For more information visit: https://www.jerseyfamilyfun.com/event/independence-day-parade-oceangate/

North Wildwoods Family Parade, Kite-Flying Competition and more 

A few towns in Cape May County have canceled their celebrations but not Wildwoods. Independence Day Family Parade will begin at 9 a.m. at 9th and Atlantic Avenue in North Wildwoods. A barbeque will then be held from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. for a minimum donation of $8. Fourth of July fireworks will be held on the beach at Rio Grande Avenue. Since the fireworks can be viewed from almost anywhere on the Wildwoods Boardwalk, visitors have been encouraged to enjoy the show from a distance. Anyone who is participating in the celebrations is required to follow CDC regulations. 

For more information visit: https://wildwoodsnj.com/events-calendar/?month=7-2020

Virtual Fourth of July Festivities

Celebrating a holiday from the comfort of your home has its perks, especially during these unprecedented times. For starters, you won’t have to worry about parking or overpriced drinks if you are hosting a small gathering at your house. Also, a majority of cities across the country are streaming their festivities live so anyone can join the fun no matter where you are. For example, viewers will be able to watch Houston’s “Shell Freedom Over Texas” at 8 p.m. Eastern on ABC12.com. The show will include performances by the Houston Symphony and country singer Pat Green. To make your at-home experience even more thrilling, try setting off a few fireworks from your backyard or get creative and decorate your front porch. We’re sure the neighborhood will enjoy your efforts as well.  

The Post-Pandemic City

The Post-Pandemic City

By: Abby Melone, President & CEO, Capital Analytics

It’s a truism in today’s hyper-connected world that people go where the jobs are, more so now than ever before. But what happens when your job suddenly can be done from anywhere?

 

The 19th century ushered in the first and second Industrial Revolutions that saw more and more people move to urban environments, precisely because that’s where the jobs were. In the United States, the rise of manufacturing opened a new world of employment possibilities, pushing people from the farm to the factory. It’s a push that in one way or another continued into the 20th and 21st centuries. The result is seen today in the population densities that cram big cities from coast to coast, border to border.

According to the United Nations’ World Urbanization Prospects report and the website Our World in Data, the world crossed over in 2007. That’s the fist year the number of people living in urban areas rose above the number living in rural areas (3.35 billion versus 3.33 billion). In the United States, around 82.3% of the population lives in urban areas, according to the World Bank. Growth trajectories project a steady increase in urbanization as far out as 2050. 

Today, the millennial generation is changing the character of urbanization by spearheading the live-work-play ethos. This generation prefers to skirt the traffic jams and live and play near where they work. The goal to have it all close by has given rise to the mixed-use building concept that puts everything – your living options, your entertainment choices and your shopping – all in one convenient location, which preferably, is near your workplace. 

It also means we are all living closer to each other in smaller and smaller spaces. That seemed to suit a lot of people just fine. Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened, and all of sudden, none of that seemed fine at all.

The pandemic resulted in shelter-in-place orders that forced people to live 24 hours a day in their homes while also working from their home offices, if they had one, or their kitchen tables if they didn’t. The very idea of needing to go somewhere else to do your job turned out to be not so much of a necessity after all. In just a few months, priorities appear to have shifted. Now, many of us seem to crave space, the great outdoors, and we seem to be split 50-50 on whether we want to continue working from home, wherever we choose that to be, or prefer an official office setting, mostly for the socializing.

There is little doubt that the world has changed as a result of the pandemic. Most experts are puzzling on whether that change will last and just what our cities will look like as a result. The fact is, though, that change was already in play before COVID-19 hit.

My company focuses on nine major U.S. markets like Orlando, Miami, Atlanta and Philadelphia. We talk to industry and political leaders to understand the issues their communities face to gauge the direction in which they are moving. Today, everyone is talking about the pandemic’s impact on the retail sector, for example. Yet, e-commerce was already a thing before COVID-19. In 2019, a record 9,800 stores were shuttered, according to a Bloomberg report, with 25,000 closures expected in 2020 due to the coronavirus impact, the report said, citing Coresight Research. Yes, that’s a devastating impact, but the pandemic really has only accelerated the pace of implementation. It pushed more people online immediately, but those people were likely headed there anyway.

Many of the leaders we have spoken with during the pandemic agree that retail and commercial real estate was already undergoing a slowdown as industrial space to accommodate last-mile delivery for the Amazons of the world was booming. Many expect this trend will continue.

More importantly, what the pandemic has done has caused a rethink of priorities among individuals and it is this impact that will likely shape the post-pandemic city. Living in lockdown awakened people to the “smallness” of their space, forced on them by a combination of convenience and higher and higher housing prices in big cities. The median listing price for a home in Miami-Dade, for example, was $465,050 in May compared to the average U.S. listing price of $329,950, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Interestingly, population growth in Miami-Dade was already slowing as more people moved out, with escalating living costs among the factors. With the pandemic highlighting the risks of living so close together, will more people decide that farther away is not only cheaper, but safer?

Big city living will change in the post-pandemic world as social distancing forces “people places” like gyms and restaurants to accommodate lingering fears from the virus. Tens of thousands of small businesses have already closed down for good, clearly altering the very unique characteristics of cities that attracted people in the first place.

The biggest impact, however, will be on how – and where – jobs are done. Remote working is hear to stay in some form or another. Like the industrial revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries, people will always go where the jobs are. For many, those jobs will now be done from home, which means that home can be virtually anywhere. It creates choice like never before, and this will dramatically alter the character, although not likely the course, of urbanization. That’s an important difference. 

Big cities have seen the ebbs and flows of population growth before and will likely see them again. Through it all, they have more often thrived than not. The post-pandemic city may look and feel a bit different – the way condo units are built, for example, may change to accommodate working from home, while adding elements like air filters to battle any future virus outbreak – and there may even be a greater push to the suburbs in the short term. Overall, however, continued urbanization likely will remain on the cards. If we’re lucky, there may just be a little more distance between all of us.

 

Florida and Pennsylvania unemployment claims level off as economies slowly reopen

Florida and Pennsylvania unemployment claims level off as economies slowly reopen

By: Beatrice Silva 

3 min read June 2020 — As of June 5, most of Florida has taken the next step of reopening the economy that was devastated by COVID-19. Unemployment figures are starting to level off as businesses slowly start to open up again. On June 6, the U.S. Department of Labor saw its lowest figure for new unemployment claims since March 26. However, the sunshine state’s economy isn’t in the clear just yet. Florida has the fourth highest unemployment claims in the U.S. To make matters worse, some Floridans are still struggling to collect their unemployment benefits. 

 

 Since March 15, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has paid out $1.5 billion in state claims and another $4.6 billion in federal unemployment benefits. Approved applicants should be getting $600 per week from federal benefits plus the state’s additional $275 weekly benefits. Unfortunately, issues resulting from an influx of people filing for benefits has caused the Florida DEO’s website to crash on multiple occasions. On April 15, Gov. Ron DeSantis placed Jonathan Satter, Florida Department of Management Services secretary, in charge of fixing the state’s unemployment benefits system. As a result, a new mobile-friendly website was born. People can now submit an application on the new website if they don’t currently have an open unemployment benefits claim on file. 

 

Different markets were hit particularly hard by the COVID related economic slowdown. The transportation and hospitality sectors are expected to take the longest to get back on their feet.

“There are a couple of key industries that will be greatly impacted the longer this goes, especially tourism and real estate. On the positive side, there is a significant number of secondary markets in Florida. Traveling overseas will likely not be as popular in the next couple of years, speaking well for these secondary markets. Challenges do drive opportunities and developers might take cues from the latter. Hospitality and tourism will continue to suffer and will likely require continuous stimuli the longer this continues,” said Blain Heckaman, CEO for Kaufman Rossin in an interview with Invest: Miami. 

 

Florida isn’t the only state feeling economic pressure as a result of COVID-19. Northeastern regions of the United States that were hit particularly hard by the virus, like Pennsylvania and New York, have also started reopening nonessential businesses in an effort to jumpstart the economy. Since March 15, the Unemployment Compensation department has paid over $16.4 billion in state and federal unemployment compensation benefits, according to Pennsylvania’s government website. The state is also preparing to activate an unemployment program that would extend benefits for up to 13 more weeks for eligible individuals. The last time Pennsylvania initiated the extended benefits program was during the fallout from the Great Recession in 2009.

 

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is taking a three-phase, regional approach to reopening the state. The system consists of red, yellow and green phases that are then applied to individual counties. Red is the most restrictive and green is the least. On June 5, Wolf allowed 34 counties to transition into the green phase. Although most restrictions are lifted during this final phase, people are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines. Businesses like gyms, hair salons and indoor recreation centers that remained closed in the yellow phase can start to reopen at 75 percent occupancy. There are still 33 Pennsylvania counties in the yellow phase, which serves the purpose of slowly powering up the economy while still trying to contain the spread of COVID-19. 

 

Gov. Wolf has publicly voiced his desire for Pennsylvania to reopen. However, he warns business owners not to open up too early. “By opening before the CDC evidence suggests you’re taking undue risks with the safety of your customers. That’s not only morally wrong, it’s also really bad business. Businesses that do follow the whims of local politicians and ignore the law and the welfare of their customers will probably find themselves uninsured because insurance does not cover things that happen to businesses breaking the law,” Wolf said during a press conference. 

 

To learn more visit…

 

https://kaufmanrossin.com/

 

https://www.baynews9.com/fl/tampa/news/2020/06/15/florida-unemployment-benefits-update

 

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article243450076.html?

 

https://www.pa.gov/guides/unemployment-benefits/

 

 

Spotlight On: Michael Pallozzi, President, HFM Investment Advisors, LLC

Spotlight On: Michael Pallozzi, President, HFM Investment Advisors, LLC

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read May 2020 — HFM Investment Advisors has been advising South Jersey and the Greater Philadelphia region residents on financial and investment planning since 1989.  Last year was a banner year for the company in terms of team growth. HFM President Michael Pallozzi talks with Invest: about trends in retirement planning and how technology has significantly changed the way the firm does business. 

What does HFM’s R.I.C.H. approach mean for the firm and its clients?

We strive to develop a deep, meaningful relationship with all of our clients to help their family or their business, and that’s what the “R” stands for: relationship building. “I” is to inspire our clients to think outside the box and what’s important to them, such as their financial situation, legacy or succession plan. “C” is to help compose a meaningful plan. Everything we do for our clients revolves around their personalized action plan. The “H” is for “holding you accountable.” We want to hold our clients accountable to their goals, objectives and action plans, and we ask that they also hold us accountable for what we promised. 

HFM’s biggest differentiator is our value proposition and the way that we work with our clients. At most firms, advisers work as a solo with their clients, so clients usually have only one person to talk to. At HFM, we are team-oriented around our R.I.C.H. process, so all our clients work with our entire team.

 

What are the benefits of being located in South Jersey?

Gloucester County has one of the fastest-growing business communities in South Jersey, and being located here represents a great advantage. We are strategically located on Rowan Boulevard in the heart of Rowan University. We also sublet space to the Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce, which provides us great visibility in the market. Similarly, the South Jersey region provides access to multiple sectors like education, health, logistics and consulting organizations. Many local, regional and international companies are starting to call Gloucester County their home. 

 

What are the most notable changes in South Jersey’s investment management and financial services industry?

The biggest change has been the reduction in cost and improved technology within the investment platform offerings. With the rise of technology platforms in our industry, we’ve been able to offer more investment choices and provide more financial planning services at a substantially lower cost. I believe we are ahead of the curve for firms like ours in South Jersey. We are in the process of a major change in 2Q20 for all of our clients’ investment choices through the use of a new technology platform. This will potentially save our clients an average of 25-35% on their investment-related expenses. Technology is also allowing us to provide additional financial planning services in a more impactful and efficient way. 

 

What are some trends in retirement planning and investment management?

401(k) retirement planning is a growing part of our practice. We focus a majority of time in two areas. First is protecting the plan sponsors, who are typically the owners of the companies and usually the human resources managers. With the recently implemented SECURE Act, there are a lot of fiduciary and compliance rules that can trip up business owners with the Department of Labor. We proactively work with them and their third-party administrator (TPA) to keep them updated on the rules that apply specifically to them. 

The second area is focused on helping the employees of our clients. We provide an employee experience that focuses on educational workshops, one-on-one meetings and personalized retirement plan projections.

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit: 

https://www.hfmadvisors.com/

Pennsylvania ready for a partial reopening; Philly, New Jersey not there yet

Pennsylvania ready for a partial reopening; Philly, New Jersey not there yet

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read May 2020 — Along the East Coast, states are phasing in the reopening of their respective economies after weeks of economic inactivity as a result of the coronavirus. In the Northeast, Pennsylvania is the latest state to begin the battle of balancing public health and economic recovery by partially opening 24 counties along the northwest and north-central regions of the state beginning Friday. Most notable during this process, Philadelphia County, a major economic driver for the state and its most populous county, will remain shut down. Across the Delaware Valley, New Jersey remains in a health battle as Gov. Phil Murphy extended his shelter in place order for another 30 days.

“Over the past two months, Pennsylvanians in every corner of our commonwealth have acted collectively to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a press release. “We have seen our new case numbers stabilize statewide and while we still have areas where outbreaks are occurring, we also have many areas that have few or no new cases.” The 24 counties reopening on Friday are Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Venango and Warren. These counties were deemed ready to move to a reopening because of low per-capita case counts, the ability to conduct contact tracing and testing, and appropriate population density to contain community spread, according to the governor’s office.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney says he’s “not going to sacrifice people’s lives” in reopening the city too soon during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to local news sources. Kenney said there is no timetable as to when the city will open. “You can’t set a timeline. The timeline is what the virus dictates. We certainly have targeted things we’d like to see happen, but unless the data indicates that it’s safe, then it’s not safe,” Kenney said, according to CBS 3 Philly. 

Gov. Wolf urged citizens to adhere to all social distancing and health guidelines. “Every human-to-human contact is a chance for the virus to spread, so more contacts mean a higher likelihood of an outbreak,” Wolf said. “If we see an outbreak occur in one of the communities that has been moved to yellow, we will need to take swift action, and revert to the red category until the new case count falls again. So, Pennsylvanians living in a county that has been moved to the yellow category should continue to strongly consider the impact of their actions.”

In New Jersey, Gov. Murphy erred on the side of caution, as the state continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. “I want to make it absolutely clear that this action does not mean that we are seeing anything in the data which would pause our path forward, and it should not be interpreted by anyone to mean we are going to be tightening any of the restrictions currently in place. These declarations, unless extended, expire after 30 days,” Murphy said. 

No formal timeline was given as to when the economy will reopen. In the meantime, Murphy urged residents to continue to observe all social distancing and health guidelines. “If this extension of the public health emergency signals one thing, it is this: we can’t give up one bit on the one thing that we know that is working in this fight, social distancing,” Murphy said. “Remember, in the absence of either a vaccine, or proven therapeutics for COVID-19 specifically, our only cure is social distancing, covering our faces, washing our hands with soap etc. And we know, by the way, that the effort of millions in this state is working. We have made enormous strides, folks, unlike any American state. Let’s keep it that way.”

 

To learn more, visit: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-announces-reopening-of-24-counties-beginning-may-8/

https://www.nj.gov/governor/news/news/562020/approved/20200506c.shtml

South Jersey and Philadelphia transition into online learning

South Jersey and Philadelphia transition into online learning

By: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read April 2020 —Jefferson Health is a multistate, nonprofit health system, including teaching hospitals, centered in Philadelphia. CEO Dr. Stephen Klasko details how earlier actions helped its hospitals get ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of preparation. Klasko also outlines the actions he would like to see from the state and federal governments to deal with the fallout from the pandemic.

What accommodations have you made to handle the influx of patients due to the COVID-19 outbreak? 

No one was totally ready for this pandemic, but Jefferson Health – all 14 hospitals – had a head start in preparing because of two initiatives. More than 10 years ago, Jefferson infectious disease doctor Edward Jasper started leading pandemic drills, and he stockpiled a supply of PPEs (personal protective equipment). In fact, we even sent PPEs to New York City in the early days of the crisis. Second, in 2014, we invested heavily in telehealth, launching JeffConnect, which immediately connects patients by video-call to an emergency department physician. As a result, we didn’t have to rebuild our system when calls went from 50 a day to more than 3,000 a day. Telehealth handled the first wave of the crisis, allowing us to support COVID-19 patients at home, as well as help thousands of people who were sick but not with COVID-19.

How are you working to ensure that patients and healthcare professionals alike are maintaining a safe environment?

Jefferson Health moved very quickly to a “universal masking” policy, requiring all staff to wear masks at work, even if their patients were COVID-negative. We were one of the first hospital systems to adopt universal masking, exactly to ensure we protect our own staff. We were in close contact with our colleagues in Italy, who told us that proper protection for staff dramatically cuts transmission within a hospital. 

Because we were prepared, we are able to allow a loved one to attend our patients during end of life situations, even for COVID-positive patients. We even allow a loved one to attend labor and delivery for a birth. This requires a full procedure of having a nurse escort to attend the loved one. We did this because of the long-term psychological trauma of unresolved grief when families are unable to say goodbye in person. 

How can the community best assist the local healthcare providers in this time of need?

The first answer is the critical one: Do not spread the illness. Our frontline staff are working horrendous hours attempting to save the lives of vulnerable patients. They are isolating themselves from their own children and families in order not to spread the virus. Do not increase their already heavy workload by getting sick yourself. 

But there are also vulnerable populations who need our help. The virus is disproportionately hitting places of congregate living – that includes retirement homes and communities. It is disproportionately hitting people who are poor. And the consequences of staying home are hitting people with medical needs all across society, from uninsured women who cannot get prenatal care, to older people on dialysis. In each case, there is specific advice, which may just be to give money to help not-for-profits that are providing assistance to the poor. 

What is your message to the local community that is sheltering in place and waiting for a return to normalcy?

Many of us are concerned that people with urgent medical issues are delaying treatment plans, not collecting medications, not seeking help. Please tell your family and friends: Do not delay getting help for cardiac and stroke issues. Do not delay taking medications. Stay on your cancer treatment regimen, and if you have the opportunity to join an advanced protocol or clinical trial, you should do that. Very important: Use telehealth to get mental health support if you need it. It may take more work today than it did last year, but please get the help you need. 

Do you feel you are receiving enough state and federal support and what more is needed? 

I believe Congress should immediately convene a COVID Commission along the lines of the 9/11 Commission – it is that serious. We need immediate changes to policy to enhance innovation to fight the immediate threat, but we also need to review the financial implications of this fight for hospitals, and we need to figure out how to ensure the next pandemic doesn’t create a health and economic crisis of this magnitude. On my list of things we need: Immediate access to the internet for all citizens, not just those who can afford a data plan. We need the federal government to lead preparation for surge capacity for intensive care, responding to any crisis. We need to prepare to offer health insurance after massive layoffs. And we need to evaluate the ethics of how we pay for healthcare to ensure equity for disadvantaged communities. 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit: 

https://www.jeffersonhealth.org/index.html

https://www.jefferson.edu/

South Jersey and Philadelphia transition into online learning

South Jersey and Philadelphia transition into online learning

By: Felipe Rivas

2 min read April 2020As the coronavirus reduced daily activity to only essential services, educational institutions were forced to transition at a moment’s notice into a virtual setting as shelter-in-place measures and social distancing became commonplace. Entire curriculums, testing, labs, and even physical education in some cases, transitioned into an online classroom setting as teachers and students of all grade levels resumed their education under the COVID-19 pandemic. 

These risk-management decisions stressed and challenged the infrastructure of universities, colleges, and schools throughout the nation, while at the same time creating opportunities for innovation in the educational landscape. Although fully online classes are a temporary measure to slow the spread of COVID-19, and as local, state and national governments consider what a reopened economy may look like, educational systems alike are being forced to mitigate the challenges and innovate their educational practices and offerings via learning innovation and digitalization.

In the Philadelphia region, Neumann University transitioned quickly into an online learning setting thanks to close to two years of prior preparation. For the last 24 months, the university has been expanding its online and remote learning capabilities, President Chris Domes told Invest: Insights in a virtual interview. “Our faculty were well-prepared. Our students work off of their devices and their phones, they already live in a virtual world socially, and now they get to live in a virtual world academically,” Domes said. In similar fashion, in New Jersey, the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden, was preparing for a shift in the educational landscape as early as February. In February, the university created an emergency operation center as part of its risk-management strategy, school of nursing Dean Donna Nickitas told Invest: Insights in a virtual interview. “By the time we got to spring break, we knew we were going to have to make some quick changes,” Nickitas said. The nursing school quickly notified students if they needed resources like computers, webcams, and access to remote learning software.

Under the COVID-19 landscape, tuition-dependent institutions are among the most vulnerable as students are liable to put their education plans on pause as they grapple with loss of employment and income. Colleges and universities with strong endowments and alumni contributions will likely survive the impact of COVID-19, but declines in revenue and increases in costs will likely loom for the coming academic years. Declining revenues could stifle innovation as institutions reprioritize budgets and offerings. 

However, a life post-COVID-19 may be ripe with opportunities for innovation and further streamlining of classes. COVID-19 helped destigmatize fully online learning. Moving forward, educational leaders will likely see online education as more than a source for extra revenues. Instead, online education will likely become an integral part of institutional resilience and academic continuity. Educational institutions will have to rethink how they plan for, fund, and market online learning. More unified institutions will emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, as online courses and student support functions become more centralized and integrated into existing academic structures and processes. 

After student outreach efforts, Neumann University found that close to 80 percent of its students were adjusting well to the remote learning setting. The university is working to assist all of its students with resources like tutoring, student engagement activities, counseling, and more. The feedback gathered from students will help determine what innovations and changes the institution needs to make for the future, according to Domes. “We are getting initial feedback from our students and are utilizing that to help us understand that moving forward if we remain in this status for some time what are we learning and how might we make this more appropriate for students in the future so that we make sure we are adapting along the way,” he said. For Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden, the school is preparing to continue to groom the next generation of nurses and healthcare professionals. “What we have learned is that we need to be prepared, Nickitas said. Though summer and fall enrollments figures will likely fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nickitas hopes the essentiality of nurses and healthcare professionals will motivate more students to explore a career in medicine. “I do hope that because of the kind of publicity that TV stations and media are giving nurses, that people understand not only what nurses do, but what they know. Hopefully, that will resonate with some individuals and inspire them to say, ‘I want to make a difference, that is what I want to do.’”

Additionally, it is possible that online learning goes truly global as colleges and universities expand their student base to allow for more international students who may never see the inside of a physical campus. 

The lasting impact of COVID-19 to the educational sector remains to be seen. For the time being, it is likely that students will finish the spring semester and potentially the 2019-2020 school year from the comfort of their homes. As educators prepare for summer and fall semesters, they will have to contend with the challenges and opportunities of educating students in a post-COVID-19 world.       

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

https://nursing.camden.rutgers.edu/

https://www.neumann.edu/

To see our full interview with the education leaders and more, visit:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=42&v=V9oL3kIX-NI&feature=emb_title

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8wU5yYFccw&feature=emb_title

https://www.capitalanalyticsassociates.com/invest-insights/

Spotlight On: Gregory Sorensen, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Tower Health

By: Max Crampton-Thomas

2 min read April 2020 — Tower Health is a regional, integrated healthcare provider/payer system that oversees six acute care hospitals and other entities serving 2.5 million people. Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Gregory Sorensen told Invest: what Tower is doing to handle the influx of COVID-19 patients, the community’s role in fighting the virus and his message to the community.

What accommodations is your hospital making to handle the influx of patients due to the COVID-19 outbreak? 

We monitor our bed capacity hourly. The elimination of elective surgeries and the general decline in routine demand for care has reduced normal bed demand and is freeing up beds for possible use by COVID-19 patients. We will also coordinate bed capacity among Tower hospitals.

How is your hospital working to ensure that patients and healthcare professionals alike are maintaining a safe environment?

Safety for our employees and patients is our top priority. Like other healthcare providers, Tower Health is working very hard to manage and conserve our supplies of masks, eye protection, disinfecting wipes, gowns, and other materials related to controlling the spread of COVID-19. Our normal production sources and distribution channels have been interrupted, just as they have for every hospital in the country. While our inventories are not at normal levels, with careful management we believe we can meet current needs. We are working to acquire additional supply. We are implementing a number of strategies, including sharing supplies across Tower Health facilities; gathering supplies from shuttered outpatient clinical areas and getting them to the hospitals; and identifying alternative sources for supplies. 

How can the community best assist local healthcare providers in this time of need?

We have been gratified by the many offers from area businesses, organizations, and individuals to donate supplies and we are accepting contributions of specific items. More information is available on our web site.

What would your message be to the local community that is sheltering in place and waiting for a return to normalcy?

We encourage all members of the public to adhere to the guidance of the governor and the PA Department of Health on sheltering at home, practicing social distancing and practicing infection prevention. These steps will reduce the spread of COVID-19, which protects the community and helps ensure the safety of our healthcare team and the patients relying on us for care. Our team at Tower Health is committed and prepared to care for our communities through this pandemic. The public can contribute meaningfully to this effort by remaining at home to prevent the spread of the virus.  

Do you feel you are receiving enough state and federal support for items you are in need of? What can these entities be doing better? 

Our public health officials at the local, state and federal levels are working hard to keep the public safe during an unprecedented situation. We support their efforts and are grateful for their dedication, perseverance and leadership. 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit: 

https://www.towerhealth.org/