Written on: June 26th, 2012 in Effective & Efficient Government
When I visit local businesses – which I do all the time – I ask one question: How can we facilitate growth and success for their company? Their answer is often the same: businesses want a talented workforce as well as strong schools and thriving communities in which their employees and their families can live, learn and grow.
It's no secret that job creation is key to strengthening Delaware's economy, so here are a few ways we're addressing their answer.
Improving the economic climate in Delaware requires that all of us work together – private sector, all levels of government, community organizations, even academia.
This team approach will be especially important in the coming months as we look to tackle outdated, ineffective and redundant regulations while giving a boost to small business. When Executive Order #36 was signed, we launched a statewide effort that brings citizens, businesses and state agencies together to identify and remove regulatory hurdles.
Regulations can help meet shared goals. They allow us to drink clean water and breathe clean air. But we want to know when regulations aren't working – when they're intrusive, when they‘re slowing things down. This statewide effort will find those problems and remove them.
“This reinforces Delaware's ranking among the best places in the country to do business. Small businesses are deeply appreciative and we're looking forward to working with the Governor's administration to implement this order.“
– Ellen Valentino, state director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses
Just this year, businesses Capital One and Bloom Energy announced plans to create jobs in Delaware, while others currently operating in Delaware, including Amazon and JP Morgan Chase, announced plans to expand their Delaware workforce.
“We look forward to opening our second facility in Delaware this year, creating more than 850 new jobs in the state. We're grateful to state, county and local leaders who have committed to Amazon jobs and investment.”
– Dave Clark, vice president, global customer fulfillment at Amazon
Businesses looking to locate in Delaware want to know their employees will not only have access to good schools, but also safe neighborhoods, active communities and engaged leaders who are focused on continually enhancing the quality of life for residents.
We're constantly seeing evidence of this work being done - both by state and local officials as well as community organizations and local residents alike. Whether it's making air quality improvements at a local transportation facility or getting local municipalities to agree to lower their electric rates, it's clear that Delawareans come together to ensure the First State is first on the list for prospective businesses.
“[The Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation] and its member communities share Governor Markell's goal of making Delaware one of the most attractive and competitive locals in the world. We recognize how important lower energy costs are to Delaware
– Patrick McCullar, CEO of the Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation
A talented workforce is developed through great public schools and great public schools attract a talented workforce. Our new Secretary of Education, Mark Murphy, understands this and has already begun working with teachers, community members and local school districts to see how we can continue to enhance the public school system. We're working to strengthen our schools, in part, through putting emphasis on STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
According to the U.S. Commerce Department, STEM occupations are expected to grow by 17% from 2008 to 2018 compared to 9.8 percent growth for non-STEM occupations. With this in mind, last year Delaware officials convened a STEM Council to take a look at how we can be more competitive in this area. Community leaders donated thousands of hours of time to create a strong series of recommendations on how we can better prepare our kids for the future. The full report is available at stem.delaware.gov.
“You don't need a crystal ball to see what the future holds – though not all our students will pursue a STEM career, the vast majority of them will absolutely need some STEM skills to compete. Our ultimate goal is to create a seamless Pre–K–through–higher education STEM system so that our students have every opportunity to succeed, and provide the workforce to attract STEM businesses to Delaware.“
– Former US Senator, Ted Kaufman