We must maintain a strong economic base in Maryland to employ our workers and graduates. We need to direct more of our efforts to supporting and growing existing businesses as well as to attracting new ones in our district and in our state. From a state level, I will support local efforts to provide the assistance and resources to accommodate business and job growth. The tax base provided by these companies and their workers are the backbone of our economy.
The closer to home that we can bring jobs, the better the quality of life for all of our residents. "Live Near Where You Work," was a program adopted by the State a decade ago and some form of it has been espoused by local governments and Chambers of Commerce. Living and working in close proximity reduces traffic congestion and commute time, is less stressful and provides more time for families and community participation.
We have the opportunity to attract biotech jobs to our District. With the growth on the base at Fort Detrick and the related support companies that will locate off base, many new jobs will be created. Detrick will serve as a magnet for related industries and service companies to support their activities. We are a natural location for other technology and scientific employment. We have a diverse economy here and we need to maintain that diversity. It helps us to weather economic downturns when specific industries are affected.
Nationally, and in the Washington region, health, education, alternative energy and professional services are the four fastest areas of job growth. We are in a position to capitalize on all four areas of growth. Too many people are leaving the area to work or are passing through to get there. We should capitalize on this by working to bring those places of employment here.
Given our opportunities for job growth and economic development, we must embark on an effort to develop a competitive workforce. We must orchestrate our district's workforce policies and resources to match our opportunities. Not all workers are prepared to compete for the jobs that will be coming to our community. Therefore, we must develop a regional workforce development strategy that aligns the skills of job seekers with the needs of employers. Specifically, I would recommend that we make it easier for those who are receiving unemployment to receive training.
We should pursue youth career development, adult career development and redevelopment and better integrate workforce development with economic development. This can be accomplished by creating stronger partnerships that connect business networks, educational institutions, adult training programs and government agencies. Our longer term goal would encompass establishing industry skill requirements and creating coordinated information centers for job seekers and employers.
We have a responsibility to train workers and match them with growing industries. By accomplishing this, we will improve our economic potential and strengthen our area's economic stability.
Finally, Maryland has a reputation for not being business friendly. I will work with business and state leaders to try and change both the reality and perception of that image. We must find ways to make things happen as opposed to finding reasons why things can't be done.