Legislative Breakfast Highlights NCEDA Policy Priorities
A crowd of over 100 NCEDA members and state legislators packed inside the General Assembly cafeteria on the morning of April 16 for the organization’s Legislative Breakfast. The event preceded one-on-one visits by members to their Senators and Representatives later that day. NCEDA Vice President Dr. Patricia Mitchell reviewed the organization’s policy mission, which seeks strategies that connect the state’s residents to livable employment opportunities. “Though there are many ingredients to economic development success, our profession is ultimately about people,” Dr. Mitchell told legislators. “It is human capital that truly sets North Carolina apart – that one common denominator across every community, every company and every industry.”
Chris Platé, co-chairman of the NCEDA Legislative Committee, briefed attendees on the organization’s 2019 priorities. Atop the list is the goal of increased state funding for short-term community college training programs. The organization is also working with its partners at the North Carolina Community College System to appeal for increased Career Coaches, a program begun in 2015 that places community college advisers into area high schools to work with students on career paths. This year’s priority list “is organized into three buckets,” Platé explained, each corresponding to the state’s human resource, product development and financial needs. He thanked legislators for their support for the state’s JDIG program, which saw increased caps and a sliding-scale system of application fees designed to make the program more accessible to smaller, economically-distressed counties.
“These types of events are very helpful to legislators,” said Sen. Rick Gunn (R-Alamance). “Being able to meet with NCEDA members in a convenient, informal setting like a breakfast provides a valuable opportunity for exchanging ideas and finding ways to work together.”