Brian Bushweller, State Senator

17th District of Delaware

March, 2017

State Government and the Private Sector Working Together For Jobs.

             When Delaware’s new Governor, John Carney, was inaugurated in January, the first Executive Order he issued (EO-1) was focused squarely on our state’s economy and its ability to create and maintain the kinds of good jobs that make for strong, vibrant communities.

While it is true that Delaware’s unemployment rate has dropped way down from where it was during the “Great Recession” of 2008 and 2009 and is now at significant lows, many people still feel that too many of the jobs that have been created recently are not the kinds of jobs you can build a good life on, buy a home, send the kids to college and have a little left over for personal enjoyment.

For many years, the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO) has worked hard to assist existing First State businesses to expand and to attract new businesses to the State.  DEDO’s goal has been to promote economic vitality and the good jobs that come with it.  (By the way, for several years, I served on the Council on Development Finance, the citizen’s panel that reviewed DEDO’s decisions on the use of the Strategic Fund, which is used for this purpose.)

Now, however, Governor Carney is interested in enhancing DEDO’s role by bringing it together with the private sector, creating a partnership that combines the best of DEDO’s past efforts with the creativity and innovation of Delaware’s business and commercial community.

Executive Order 1 is based on the idea that “Delaware’s economy is undergoing a fundamental shift toward industries and employment that require innovation and higher levels of skill,” and that “Delaware must embrace this change and focus its economic development efforts on making investments that result in jobs for Delaware workers, maintaining a business climate and infrastructure that supports economic growth, and developing a culture of entrepreneurship to grow the industries and jobs of the future.”

EO 1 recognizes the simple truth that our business community has great expertise about our emerging economy, not to mention numerous resources to draw upon to insure that our State keeps up with the technological and economic change that is transforming America.

To get this whole idea moving, EO 1 creates a Working Group to study how the public and private sectors can work together to improve the process of economic development in Delaware including steps that can be taken to attract more “growing and fledgling” companies and to build a stronger entrepreneurial community.

The Working Group will have significant representation from the private sector and will be charged with, among other things, looking into what other states are doing in this same regard and how successful they have been.  The Group is directed to give a final report to the Governor and General Assembly no later than April 7, 2017 so as to give the General Assembly ample opportunity to consider related legislation prior to the end of legislative session on June 30.