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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)March 14, 2007

(Mahwah) – Students enrolled in a Social Welfare Policy class at Ramapo College of New Jersey traveled to Trenton in February to testify before the Senate Labor Committee in support of the state’s Family Leave Act.  The legislation ultimately passed by a 3 – 1 margin.

Dr. V. Scott Massimo, an associate professor of social work who teaches the class, explained that the testimony was developed by the entire class.  At first, students thought this Act applied to only older workers with families to support, but they came to realize its relevance to their personal histories as well as their futures.  This led them to write in their testimony:  “We want to be able to be productive workers in the economy as well as dedicated family members.  We are investing in a college degree so that we can build a foundation for our future.  But what if tragedy strikes?  We need Family Leave Insurance in order to feel secure in our quest for success, whatever the future may hold.”

“After the hearing, to the students’ surprise,” noted Massimo, “they were invited to a press conference where the president of New Jersey Citizen Action specifically named Ramapo College and thanked the class for its support.”  Citizen Action has asked the class to speak before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee in the near future when the bill reaches that final stage before going to the governor for approval.
In addition, at the end of February, the students were invited to present at the Influencing National Policy Symposium held at Rutgers University’s Newark campus.  They were one of three student groups chosen to address almost 200 people, including
Sheila Oliver, Assemblywoman, 34th NJ Legislative District, and Walter Kalman, Executive Director of the NJ chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.  After their presentation, the class organized postcard signings, where symposium participants filled out cards addressed to the governor and assembly members in support of the Family Medical Leave Insurance bill and to bring the cards back to their schools for signatures.

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Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, has been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on Niche.com, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice.

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