Gov. John Carney signed his first executive order Jan. 18, establishing a 14-member working group to develop recommendations for implementing a public-private partnership at the Delaware Economic Development Office.
The group will explore how state government can work with the private sector to improve economic development efforts in Delaware, including ways to attract new, growing companies to the state, build a stronger entrepreneurial community and support innovation.
"We are getting started immediately to make sure Delaware is positioned to secure new, good-paying jobs of the future. This is job one," said Carney. "Delaware's economy is in a period of significant transition, and we must adjust our efforts to compete with other states and countries for jobs and talent. Over the next several months, we will work with members of the General Assembly in both parties, and the business community on behalf of the people of Delaware."
Bernice Whaley, director of the Delaware Economic Development Office, will continue in her role while the working group completes its work.
The working group will begin its work in February and report back to Carney by Friday, April 7. The group will include a member from each of the General Assembly's four caucuses; four representatives from the business community; the director of the Delaware Economic Development Office; the governor's policy director; and representatives from the nonprofit sector, higher education, labor and the public.
"A public-private partnership has great potential to open doors for our state's economic development. We need a collaborative effort to provide the best opportunity for businesses of all sizes to start, grow and thrive," said House Speaker Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach. "Gov. Carney is taking the first step by bringing all sides to the table to make this a reality. I am looking forward to taking the next step when the group completes its work."
"I want to thank Gov. Carney for making this his top priority on day one," said Senate President Pro Tempore David B. McBride, D-Hawk’s Nest. "Delaware has come a long way since the recession, but if we're going to continue to add jobs faster than any state in the region, we need to stay ahead of them. That means rethinking the way our economic development office engages with our state's vibrant business and entrepreneurial communities in a way that allows us to leverage resources and be good stewards of taxpayer dollars."
"The world is never static," said Delaware House Minority Leader Danny Short, R-Seaford. "I grew up in a community where a single company, the DuPont nylon plant, employed thousands of people. Now, most of those jobs are gone. Reassessing our state's strengths and weaknesses, and adopting policies to capitalize on the former, will ultimately help us foster an environment in which Delaware businesses thrive and new employers are drawn here."
"I'm glad the business community is really asserting themselves more so than they have in the past. I look forward to working with the roundtable and Gov. Carney on this initiative," said Senate Minority Whip Greg Lavelle, R-Sharpley. "Forming a working group is a good idea, and we'll see what comes out in the end, because as the governor said, 'The devil is in the details,' but anything we can do to strengthen our economic growth and our reach and our impact in state government in working with the private sector, I think we should do."
"The business roundtable and the entire business community welcome the opportunity to work with Gov. Carney, the General Assembly and other stakeholders to help develop a new, collaborative approach to economic development," said Terry Murphy, president and CEO of Bayhealth and chairman of the Delaware Business Roundtable. "Properly structured to include leadership and involvement from both the public and private sectors with a focus on emerging business sectors, a new partnership for economic development has the power to be transformative for Delaware."