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Public Statements

Issue Position: Jobs & The Economy: Workforce Development

Issue Position


John is committed to creating jobs and building a 21st century economy in Delaware, and a major part of that is investing in people. Delawareans have a strong work ethic, and the state has a productive, well-trained workforce. We can build excellent, customized training capabilities by utilizing the state's higher education institutions, community colleges and organized labor. As Governor, John will attract jobs and invest in the areas of our state, including Wilmington, where jobs are most sorely needed and development is most possible

John's plan for workforce development includes:

* Make Delaware a regional center for workforce development efforts in emerging economic sectors. Delaware is perfectly located to be at the center of workforce efforts in a variety of emerging new economies. A great example of this is the commitment Carney secured from Bluewater Wind. Bluewater has agreed to make Delaware the mid-Atlantic hub for its growing wind industry. As part of that commitment, Bluewater will partner with Del Tech in creating training programs for the workers they need to produce and maintain their off-shore wind farms.

* Reform and streamline the Workforce Investment Board (WIB) to make it more oriented toward high demand occupations. The Delaware WIB can do a better job of improving our state's workforce if it is given more flexibility to do its job and then held more accountable for the results. $15.8 million in state ($3.4 million) and federal ($12.4 million) training dollars flow through the WIB, so making it work more effectively is critical. Some initial changes include:

o Reducing the number of WIB members and eliminate conflicts of interest.

o Ensuring better coordination and use of limited funds by placing all state workforce development funding programs under a streamlined governing body in a co-located site.

o Ranking all programs annually and reallocate an agreed upon percentage of funds to higher need areas and programs with a stronger record of success.

o Improving accountability and freeing up funds for new training opportunities by identifying and eliminating workforce development programs that do not work or under perform on an ROI basis.

* Develop creative, demand-driven employment programs that align the desire of businesses to expand with the State's desire to find jobs for workers. The State must work with employers to help incumbent workers "Move Up" into higher skill positions thereby opening up positions for less skilled workers to "Move In." This will take coordination and partnerships, and Carney will direct DEDO, the Department of Labor and the Business Labor Council, which he proposed creating months ago, to work together to identify opportunities in this area.

* Create a Delaware Labor Market Forecasting Council modeled on the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council. The Council would draw upon the expertise of industry, academia and the Office of Occupational and Labor Market Information to analyze workforce trends and prepare estimates of workforce needs and make recommendations to align funding to meet those needs.

* Protect good workers that have been displaced through no fault of their own. They will be provided with up to two years free tuition at Delaware's community college or another approved training program and allow displaced workers to receive training in high-demand skills while receiving unemployment benefits. The Department of Labor must provide better training and re-training opportunities for those who are displaced. We need to expand current efforts and coordinate them with workforce needs and opportunities. Training programs at Del Tech, other institutes of higher learning and in various industries are great opportunities to quickly and efficiently create skilled workers for areas of high need. This not only benefits those displaced workers, but those companies in need of qualified employees.

* Build on the success of statewide direct-entry program partnerships. These programs have been incredibly successful by working with Building and Construction Trades, Joint Apprenticeship Training Councils, union locals (at their discretion) and others to give veterans and displaced workers a head-start on construction and other skill-related careers soon after they apply. We need to do more to help Delawareans who have served in our armed forces. Carney is a strong supporter of the Helmets to Hardhats program in Delaware. This is a federally-funded program that provides former and active military personnel with opportunities to quickly start apprenticeship programs and careers in the construction industry. In addition, these men and women are awarded credit for their military training and experience. This is one example of a direct-entry program that works. We need to expand and create others to serve both those displaced workers and the businesses looking for skilled employees.

* Create a strategic plan that incorporates traditional K-12 educational services with programs that support at-risk student populations. We must also ensure that every at-risk child has access to a career counselor with real world job experience in the student's general area of interest. Carney's education plan calls for the Department of Education and schools to coordinate with current efforts by the University of Delaware to educate and prepare students about what they need to do to continue on to higher education. For those at-risk children who aren't exposed to adults with jobs in different areas of the economy, providing that exposure is critical in showing them that there are a lot of career options for them, but that they need to think about their future.

* Ensure that we identify and support students who want to follow a path into the trades and other skilled occupations rather than attend college after high school. To do this, we need to make sure these students know that a Vo-tech high school is an option and a path to a technical college like Del Tech. There are lots of jobs in the trades and other skilled occupations available to those who have the interest and the needed training. The key is making sure they know about these opportunities and that our Vo-tech high schools are making it a priority to serve these children. We need to work with our high schools and Vo-techs to make sure every student is getting the career training they need.

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