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Addresses policies guiding services to low-income residents in a challenging economy
TRENTON – Department of Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez returned to her alma mater today to serve as a guest lecturer in two public policy courses focusing on how policy decisions and budget constraints determine the breadth and scope of government services to vulnerable populations. The undergraduate classes are part of Drew University’s political science department curriculum.“It’s really an honor and pleasure to return to Drew and engage with the students on these issues,” said Velez. “They ask thoughtful questions and offer a fresh perspective on some pretty complex policy initiatives.”
The Commissioner graduated from Drew with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics prior to pursuing her law degree at Rutgers Law School in Newark. She has served on Drew’s Board of Trustees since 2009. This is the second year she has been asked to participate as a guest lecturer.
“We’re grateful the Commissioner took time out of her very busy schedule to share with us her expertise about topics many of us only read about in the newspapers,” said Dr. Patrick McGuinn, one of the two professors who invited Velez to his class. “It’s important for the students to see in practice what they’re learning here, in theory.”
Dr. McGuinn’s class is an introduction to public policy, particularly social policy in America. The course description indicates that “the purpose is to provide students with an understanding of how and why the American public policymaking process functions as it does.”
During her lectures, the Commissioner addressed topics including, the state’s decision to provide General Assistance – welfare – to single, childless adults; the need for Medicaid reform to sustain the entitlement program for children, the aged and people with disabilities, and; the restructuring of the subsidized Child Care system, which moved to a voucher-based model and electronic payment and attendance monitoring process.
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