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PRESS RELEASE

Jack Markell Announces Plans for Job Growth to Get Delaware Back on Track

WILMINGTON – Democratic candidate for Governor Jack Markell began a tour of small businesses around the state so he could share his new Job Growth plan with owners and employees of small businesses and discuss their needs as they try to grow. Markell’s tour highlights the new approach he will take to economic development overall compared to the Minner-Carney Administration.

“We can do better,” Markell said. “Middle class families are feeling squeezed, union members are worried about plant closings, we’ve fallen to 48th in new business creation and recently it was reported Delaware was one of just three states whose economy shrank last year. My Job Growth plan has new ideas that will help us go in a new direction.”

According to the national report card Measuring Up, Delaware has an “underperforming” workforce that is on a downward trend. The 2007 New Economy Index rates Delaware’s workforce education in the middle – 20th in the nation. Other states are recognizing the increasing demand for a skilled workforce and are taking steps to modernize their workforce delivery system.

“I’m talking to business owners and workers about my Job Growth plan around the state this week, because no one has a better perspective on how we can do better as a state than they do. The folks out there on the front lines, actually growing their businesses and creating the jobs are disappointed that Delaware’s economy, which for more than 20 years, outperformed other states, is now so badly lagging.” To put it simply, that’s bad for their businesses.

Job creation is one of the areas where the differences between the candidates for Governor is most clear: A candidate who has spent his life in government implementing the current approaches, and Jack Markell, a candidate with experience both in government and the private sector creating new jobs through new ideas.

Markell’s approaches to workforce development go far beyond simply alerting more students and parents to the availability of old-style “voc ed” in high schools and appointing more task forces to study the problem. Markell already released an Economic Development proposal called TIME (Turning Ideas into Meaningful Employment), and a series of detailed education proposals.

“So much of preparing Delawareans for jobs in this changing economy has to do with skills development,” Markell said. “We are fortunate to be able to build on the outstanding work at Delaware Tech, which has been helping Delawareans invest in their own futures for decades. I look forward to working with Delaware Tech and all of our institutions of education to help them help Delawareans in the future, as well.”

Wednesday’s release on Job Growth has six specific proposals:

Start a Career Readiness Certificate Program. About half the states across the country are starting Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) programs. The CRC identifies the career skills any individual needs for the majority of occupations in the country, and other states are using the CRCs to recruit businesses to locate and expand in their States. In addition, many jobs are going unfilled because business can not find skilled workers. The certificate program puts people to work by finding job-seekers with specific skills and matching them with unfilled positions.. Delaware is falling behind other states in developing a similar program. I will immediately start looking into developing a CRC program here in Delaware.

Start a Middle Skill Jobs Fund. The jobs that are in demand do not necessarily require a four year degree. Many are middle skill jobs: jobs that require more than a high school education but less than a four year degree. As Governor, I will start a Middle Skill Jobs Fund that will specifically direct resources to training programs, certifications, and associate degree programs for those in-demand occupations.

Prepare for an Aging Workforce. With baby boomers retiring, the demand for skilled workers is only going to increase further:

• The labor force will grow more slowly over the period 2004-14 – at a rate of just 1.0 percent a year – than it has in the preceding decade (1.2 percent) and in the one before that (1.4 percent);
• There will be virtually no net growth in the number of young workers (i.e., those age 16-24 and those age 25-44) in the labor force in this decade, while the number of workers age 55 and above will grow by over 40 percent. The percentage of Delaware’s population in the workforce will drop to 52.8 percent in 2030, significantly below 2005’s 59.6 percent.

While Delaware is projected to have a 1.0 percent annual job growth rate for the next decade the working-age population is projected to grow by only 0.66 percent. Different industry sectors will face various challenges in finding workers to fill retirements from baby boomers – which is why Delaware needs to work with businesses and identify those industry sectors facing the biggest challenges due to an aging workforce. Several states, like New York, have already started this effort. Delaware needs to do the same. As Governor I will start an Experience Corps program that will identify and address legal obstacles to continued employment; outline best practices for hiring, retaining and retraining workers; establish a clearinghouse of information; and assess the cost of state programs to hire, retain, and retrain a greater number of older workers.

Form “Next Generation” Vocational Education Programs. As Governor, I will ensure that vocational education in Delaware remains strong by fostering next-generation career and technical education (CTE) programs called Career Pathways. Career Pathways, which exist in some Delaware schools today, offer students the opportunity to begin training for a high-wage career in high school by taking a series of progressively more advanced courses in a particular area like electronics, computer programming, allied health or engineering. Career Pathways programs blend academic science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) coursework with cutting-edge vocational training to give students both the knowledge and the know-how to compete in the new economy; students complete the regular high school curriculum, but they also have the opportunity to take specialized college courses in their “career path” or professional discipline.

To facilitate Career Pathways, we must do more to make sure that dual credit options – allowing high school students to take, and receive credit for, college-level courses – are easily available, and that parents and children know about the ways that they can get an early start on college. States that have aggressively expanded dual-credit programs see both social and financial benefits. In Virginia, for example, the state estimates that participation in college credit while in high school “save[d] students and their families up to $5,000 in reduced college-tuition costs.” In addition to the array of state funds that support public school and higher education opportunities, we can use large federal grants to support these high quality CTE programs, and as governor I will ensure that we do.

Launch a “Workforce 21st Century” Marketing Campaign. We know from national studies that Delaware does not do an adequate job of graduating students from high school in four years and then, getting these high school graduates into college-level education and training. The Career Pathways public school/college partnership program that I’ve outlined will produce better outcomes, but only if they are widely utilized.

As governor, I will launch the Workforce 21st Century campaign to make sure our young people, parents and working adults understand the benefits of getting education beyond high school. I will work with the General Assembly to make $1,000,000 available over four years to market the Workforce 21st Century campaign statewide, and I will personally meet with students and parents in Town Hall sessions about the state’s menu of Workforce 21st Century career resources. This effort will build on the www.collegesavingstoolkit.com website I introduced last year in my capacity as Chair of the Delaware College Investment Plan board.

Promote Community College. Delaware must have a two-pronged approach to improving higher education opportunities, targeting both young people for two-year and four-year college degrees and adults already in the workforce who are under skilled for today’s jobs. It has the mechanism to achieve this coordination through its P-20 Council, which the Opportunity Knocks report rightly characterizes as one of our needed “first steps” in transforming Delaware’s education and training system.

As governor, I will direct Delaware's P-20 Council to work closely with Delaware businesses and institutions of higher education to identify education needs for workers and develop a plan for getting these employees into the classroom, where they can earn their associate degrees and bring those skills back to their jobs. Many states are moving aggressively in the direction of bolstering their community colleges by improving the linkages between high schools, community colleges, and 4-year institutions, and Delaware can be a leader here as well and the Next Generation Vocational programs can be an important part. We also will form the Governor’s Grants Office to help the state better maximize federal and foundation support for its major initiatives. Maryland established a Governor’s Grants Office with a full-time staff devoted to identifying federal grant opportunities, with the result of growing federal grant funding from $5.5 billion in 2005 to $7.5 billion in 2007.


Conclusion

Delaware needs a change of direction that not only helps citizens find job opportunities today but also looks ahead to the challenges of tomorrow. I will do just that. I will make investments in programs that help people to work, like the Career Readiness Certificate, partner with the business community in creating a pipeline of skilled workers today and in the future, and bring our workforce training and education systems into the 21st Century.

I believe we can do better than we have for the last eight years – and we will.

WILMINGTON – Democratic candidate for Governor Jack Markell began a tour of small businesses around the state so he could share his new Job Growth plan with owners and employees of small businesses and discuss their needs as they try to grow. Markell’s tour highlights the new approach he will take to economic development overall compared to the Minner-Carney Administration.

“We can do better,” Markell said. “Middle class families are feeling squeezed, union members are worried about plant closings, we’ve fallen to 48th in new business creation and recently it was reported Delaware was one of just three states whose economy shrank last year. My Job Growth plan has new ideas that will help us go in a new direction.”

According to the national report card Measuring Up, Delaware has an “underperforming” workforce that is on a downward trend. The 2007 New Economy Index rates Delaware’s workforce education in the middle – 20th in the nation. Other states are recognizing the increasing demand for a skilled workforce and are taking steps to modernize their workforce delivery system.

“I’m talking to business owners and workers about my Job Growth plan around the state this week, because no one has a better perspective on how we can do better as a state than they do. The folks out there on the front lines, actually growing their businesses and creating the jobs are disappointed that Delaware’s economy, which for more than 20 years, outperformed other states, is now so badly lagging.” To put it simply, that’s bad for their businesses.

Job creation is one of the areas where the differences between the candidates for Governor is most clear: A candidate who has spent his life in government implementing the current approaches, and Jack Markell, a candidate with experience both in government and the private sector creating new jobs through new ideas.

Markell’s approaches to workforce development go far beyond simply alerting more students and parents to the availability of old-style “voc ed” in high schools and appointing more task forces to study the problem. Markell already released an Economic Development proposal called TIME (Turning Ideas into Meaningful Employment), and a series of detailed education proposals.

“So much of preparing Delawareans for jobs in this changing economy has to do with skills development,” Markell said. “We are fortunate to be able to build on the outstanding work at Delaware Tech, which has been helping Delawareans invest in their own futures for decades. I look forward to working with Delaware Tech and all of our institutions of education to help them help Delawareans in the future, as well.”

Wednesday’s release on Job Growth has six specific proposals:

Start a Career Readiness Certificate Program. About half the states across the country are starting Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) programs. The CRC identifies the career skills any individual needs for the majority of occupations in the country, and other states are using the CRCs to recruit businesses to locate and expand in their States. In addition, many jobs are going unfilled because business can not find skilled workers. The certificate program puts people to work by finding job-seekers with specific skills and matching them with unfilled positions.. Delaware is falling behind other states in developing a similar program. I will immediately start looking into developing a CRC program here in Delaware.

Start a Middle Skill Jobs Fund. The jobs that are in demand do not necessarily require a four year degree. Many are middle skill jobs: jobs that require more than a high school education but less than a four year degree. As Governor, I will start a Middle Skill Jobs Fund that will specifically direct resources to training programs, certifications, and associate degree programs for those in-demand occupations.

Prepare for an Aging Workforce. With baby boomers retiring, the demand for skilled workers is only going to increase further:

• The labor force will grow more slowly over the period 2004-14 – at a rate of just 1.0 percent a year – than it has in the preceding decade (1.2 percent) and in the one before that (1.4 percent);
• There will be virtually no net growth in the number of young workers (i.e., those age 16-24 and those age 25-44) in the labor force in this decade, while the number of workers age 55 and above will grow by over 40 percent. The percentage of Delaware’s population in the workforce will drop to 52.8 percent in 2030, significantly below 2005’s 59.6 percent.

While Delaware is projected to have a 1.0 percent annual job growth rate for the next decade the working-age population is projected to grow by only 0.66 percent. Different industry sectors will face various challenges in finding workers to fill retirements from baby boomers – which is why Delaware needs to work with businesses and identify those industry sectors facing the biggest challenges due to an aging workforce. Several states, like New York, have already started this effort. Delaware needs to do the same. As Governor I will start an Experience Corps program that will identify and address legal obstacles to continued employment; outline best practices for hiring, retaining and retraining workers; establish a clearinghouse of information; and assess the cost of state programs to hire, retain, and retrain a greater number of older workers.

Form “Next Generation” Vocational Education Programs. As Governor, I will ensure that vocational education in Delaware remains strong by fostering next-generation career and technical education (CTE) programs called Career Pathways. Career Pathways, which exist in some Delaware schools today, offer students the opportunity to begin training for a high-wage career in high school by taking a series of progressively more advanced courses in a particular area like electronics, computer programming, allied health or engineering. Career Pathways programs blend academic science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) coursework with cutting-edge vocational training to give students both the knowledge and the know-how to compete in the new economy; students complete the regular high school curriculum, but they also have the opportunity to take specialized college courses in their “career path” or professional discipline.

To facilitate Career Pathways, we must do more to make sure that dual credit options – allowing high school students to take, and receive credit for, college-level courses – are easily available, and that parents and children know about the ways that they can get an early start on college. States that have aggressively expanded dual-credit programs see both social and financial benefits. In Virginia, for example, the state estimates that participation in college credit while in high school “save[d] students and their families up to $5,000 in reduced college-tuition costs.” In addition to the array of state funds that support public school and higher education opportunities, we can use large federal grants to support these high quality CTE programs, and as governor I will ensure that we do.

Launch a “Workforce 21st Century” Marketing Campaign. We know from national studies that Delaware does not do an adequate job of graduating students from high school in four years and then, getting these high school graduates into college-level education and training. The Career Pathways public school/college partnership program that I’ve outlined will produce better outcomes, but only if they are widely utilized.

As governor, I will launch the Workforce 21st Century campaign to make sure our young people, parents and working adults understand the benefits of getting education beyond high school. I will work with the General Assembly to make $1,000,000 available over four years to market the Workforce 21st Century campaign statewide, and I will personally meet with students and parents in Town Hall sessions about the state’s menu of Workforce 21st Century career resources. This effort will build on the www.collegesavingstoolkit.com website I introduced last year in my capacity as Chair of the Delaware College Investment Plan board.

Promote Community College. Delaware must have a two-pronged approach to improving higher education opportunities, targeting both young people for two-year and four-year college degrees and adults already in the workforce who are under skilled for today’s jobs. It has the mechanism to achieve this coordination through its P-20 Council, which the Opportunity Knocks report rightly characterizes as one of our needed “first steps” in transforming Delaware’s education and training system.

As governor, I will direct Delaware's P-20 Council to work closely with Delaware businesses and institutions of higher education to identify education needs for workers and develop a plan for getting these employees into the classroom, where they can earn their associate degrees and bring those skills back to their jobs. Many states are moving aggressively in the direction of bolstering their community colleges by improving the linkages between high schools, community colleges, and 4-year institutions, and Delaware can be a leader here as well and the Next Generation Vocational programs can be an important part. We also will form the Governor’s Grants Office to help the state better maximize federal and foundation support for its major initiatives. Maryland established a Governor’s Grants Office with a full-time staff devoted to identifying federal grant opportunities, with the result of growing federal grant funding from $5.5 billion in 2005 to $7.5 billion in 2007.


Conclusion

Delaware needs a change of direction that not only helps citizens find job opportunities today but also looks ahead to the challenges of tomorrow. I will do just that. I will make investments in programs that help people to work, like the Career Readiness Certificate, partner with the business community in creating a pipeline of skilled workers today and in the future, and bring our workforce training and education systems into the 21st Century.

I believe we can do better than we have for the last eight years – and we will.

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