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At Rutgers event, speakers focus on links between business, academia and Newark

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Nancy Cantor is chancellor of Rutgers University's Newark campus.
Nancy Cantor is chancellor of Rutgers University's Newark campus. - ()

Nancy Cantor jokes that she is still “the new kid on the block in Newark,” even if it's been seven months since she took over as chancellor of Rutgers University's campus there.

But there’s one thing it didn’t take long for her to notice as she surveyed the mix of faculty experts, business leaders and students in and around the Brick City.

“I already feel the energy and the talent in this area — and the multigenerational talent,” Cantor said. “So let’s keep our eye on really bringing that diverse community of experts to the table and being in this for the long haul.”

At Rutgers Business School, academic leaders hope to do just that by sparking collaboration among the city's businesses, faculty and students of Rutgers-Newark, with an eye toward finding solutions to foster economic development in the greater Newark community. Through the Rutgers Center for Supply Chain Management, Cantor and her colleagues hope to “create an infrastructure of collaboration to really make change.”

The center kicked off that effort Friday when it hosted a series of round tables on the university's Newark campus.

The first round table, held after a series of speakers, focused on how to spark collaboration among the city's businesses, faculty and students of Rutgers-Newark and the greater Newark community to better foster economic development in the area.

Mitch Kahn, president of Unionwear — a Newark-based manufacturer of headwear, bags and workwear — appeared on the panel. He spoke to the importance of networking and hiring locally.

"We could hire a web developer from anywhere in the world, but all of the services we hire are within the city limits of Newark," he said. "We network locally: the more manufacturers we meet, the more we'll get referrals from them, give referrals to them and share information."

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Paul Goldsworthy, a professor at Rutgers' Department of Supply Management & Marketing Sciences, talked about the importance of a symbiotic relationship between business and education from the perspective of the community's universities.

He urged business, particularly those smaller and lesser known, to visit classrooms and engage directly with the students.

"Most of our students come and think about the big companies, but there's a lot of other smaller manufacturing companies that you can lean a lot from and give a lot of contributions," he said. "We encourage you to come to us and we can get you in the classroom and get that awareness in. And we'd like to go out and look at your facilities, because it's an eye-opener for the students."

Dr. Wayne Eastman, another Rutgers professor and chair of the third round table at the event, described this relationship between business and education as "an infrastructure of collaboration in the employment supply chain."


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