North Carolina Launches NCWorks Workforce Development Initiative

North Carolina has launched a major initiative called NCWorks to promote a cohesive strategy for workforce development across the state.

Gov. McCrory at Caterpillar plant in Sanford, NC for NCWorks announcement

Gov. McCrory at Caterpillar plant in Sanford, NC for NCWorks announcement (photo – NC Division of Workforce Solutions)

The announcement was made by Governor Pat McCrory and Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker at an event held at the Caterpillar plant in Sanford, NC.

Korey Coon, human resources manager at Caterpillar, is also the chair of the NC Commission on Workforce Development.

Gov. McCrory said he is continuously pleased to see more and more people finding jobs in North Carolina, but added that it was important to remain focused on getting people back to work.

The Governor said they are officially launching NCWorks to focus on one goal – connecting North Carolina jobs with North Carolina people.

Sec. Decker said that developing a stronger workforce means helping the backbone of the economy statewide, and added that the North Carolina Community College System has been an integral partner in this innovative project, and they will all be working closely in the months ahead to make NCWorks a success.

Dr. Scott Ralls, president of the NC Community College System, was present at the event in Sanford. Ralls said that as the state’s designated leader in workforce training, the community colleges are pleased to be a part of the NCWorks initiative.

Ralls added that by aligning resources and focusing their services, North Carolina’s workforce system can open up new opportunities for both citizens and businesses.

The plan begins immediately, and the NCWorks website is already functional. “NCWorks Online” is now the main one-stop resource for employers and jobseekers in North Carolina.

Jobseekers will be able to create resumes, search and apply for jobs, and find education and training. Employers will likewise be able to use the website for posting jobs, finding candidates and searching for labor market information.

On the ground, hundreds of workforce professionals in North Carolina will focus on connecting the state’s residents seeking jobs with employers. Will Collins, executive director of NCWorks, said they have an aggressive plan to work with partners and visit 1,000 businesses in all 100 counties in 100 days.

Vermont to Enhance Economic Development Incentive Programs

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and legislative leaders announced two economic development bills that will enhance the state’s capacity to attract, retain and grow high-tech companies that create skilled and high-paying jobs in Vermont.

VEDA tech loan

VEDA tech loans (photo – veda.org)

The first proposal, called the Vermont Enterprise Incentive Fund, allows the Governor to offer supplemental incentives totaling $4.5 million.

The second bill adds $500,000 in state funding to the existing $1 million federal funding for the Vermont Economic Development Authority’s Entrepreneurial Lending Program.

Both of these proposals, if enacted into law, will enhance VEDA’s lending to tech startups. The Governor and leaders of the State Legislature held a press conference at the VEDA headquarters to announce their support for these bills as amendments to existing legislation that has already been introduced.

Incentives from the VT Enterprise Incentive Fund would be offered by the Governor only under extraordinary or unforeseen circumstances which affect the state’s ability to retain and attract companies or projects with regional or statewide employment impact.

This fund would give the state flexibility in responding to competition and other factors that call for taking sudden action above and beyond that possible under Vermont’s existing incentive programs.

Gov. Shumlin said that while Vermont cannot necessarily match or exceed the high-dollar incentives offered by larger states, the state needs more tools in the toolbox and the flexibility to respond to demanding situations in order to continue growing industries and expanding jobs.

Under the second proposal, the $500,000 in state funding for the VT Entrepreneurial Lending Program will create a loan loss reserve which reduces the risk of lending to tech startups and other companies that are creating high value jobs in Vermont.

The $5 million in additional funding required for the two programs will be allocated from the first unanticipated revenues the state gets in this fiscal year.

Sen. Kevin Mullin, chair of the Vermont Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, said VEDA has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to administer state funds in a prudent manner, and this will give them one more tool to help Vermonters seeking jobs and opportunity.

House Speaker Shap Smith said Vermont will be well served by the flexibility offered by the new incentive fund, which he said would allow the state government to be more nimble when seeking to recruit and retain growing businesses.

New Hampshire Economic Development Dept. Organizes Finance Fair

New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan announced that a Finance Fair is to be held May 28, 2014 at Southern New Hampshire University to help startups and businesses that are looking to expand in the state with their financing needs.

New Hampshire Finance Fair

New Hampshire Finance Fair

The New Hampshire Finance Fair is being sponsored by the Department of Resources and Economic Development’s Division of Economic Development, in partnership with the U.S. SBA and the New Hampshire Bankers Association (NHBA).

More than 30 representatives from banks, financial services agencies and credit unions will be at the NH Finance Fair, talking about their loan programs and the other ways in which they can help businesses in the state expand and grow.

Gov. Hassan said that in order to keep the economy moving forward, they must continue to be responsive to the needs of job-creating businesses.

The Governor said that businesses have told her they need better access to capital investment and support from financial partners in order to grow and hire, and this finance fair will help introduce financing partners and lending organizations to businesses who are striving to expand.

The fair is free to attend for all startups, entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes. Apart from being able to meet with lenders and state, federal and county officials, participants will also benefit from two seminars. One of the seminars called “Swimming with the Sharks” will focus on securing investments from investors and lenders, and the other one on creative financing options.

Participants will also receive free assistance for developing loan proposals and business plans, and will be provided legal and accounting guidance.

Commissioner Jeffrey Rose of the New Hampshire Economic Development Dept said that the state has a well-earned reputation for being business-friendly, and this finance fair was another way to demonstrate that point.

As the economy continues to grow, said Commissioner Rose, they want businesses to grow with it, and the finance fair will connect businesses with the resources that will help them reach their goals – all in one place and in one afternoon.

SBA Deputy District Director for New Hampshire Amy Bassett said the fair is the perfect opportunity for small business owners and those interested in starting their own business to talk directly with lenders about their business-financing needs.

NHBA President Christiana Thornton said they are pleased to be a sponsor for this event, which they expect will produce clear and long-lasting benefits for the small business community and the New Hampshire economy.

What: New Hampshire Finance Fair (free registration)

When: May 28, 2014

Where: Hospitality Center at Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, NH

Delaware Economic Development Summit

The Delaware Economic Development Summit is scheduled to be held in Wilmington, DE on April 24, 2014.

Delaware Economic Development Summit

Delaware Economic Development Summit

The summit has been organized by the Delaware Regional Satellite Council of ULI Philadelphia (Urban Land Institute), an independent non-profit which provides leadership in responsible land use and creating sustainable thriving communities.

Attendees at the summit will be able to hear about the latest in economic development trends and the corporations and industries that are making a difference.

You will be able to understand the landscape in the State, from employment gains and corporate commitments to real estate transactions that have enabled Delaware to reestablish itself after the recession.

Find out how the City of Wilmington, New Castle County and State of Delaware have successfully attracted corporate commitments and stabilized the real estate markets, which has resulted in new developments, redevelopment of vacant properties, and adaptive reuse of obsolete facilities.

Learn more about how the City, County and State are important economic drivers in the Greater Philadelphia MSA, with strengths in diverse areas including financial services, bio-sciences, legal services and “eds and meds.”

Former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy, who is the Urban Land Institute’s Canizaro/Klingbeil Families Chair for Urban Development, will open the program with a keynote.

Murphy’s extensive experience in urban revitalization has been a key addition to the ULI senior resident fellows’ pool of expertise. Murphy has served on 16 advisory services panels for ULI, including in Chicago, Baltimore, Moscow and Hong Kong.

He has also served as ULI’s Gulf Coast liaison, helping coordinate with the New Orleans leadership and the ULI Advisory Services panel which provided rebuilding recommendations after Hurricane Katrina. He has also worked on rebuilding strategies with leaders of gulf coast areas of Mississippi and Alabama.

Alan Levin, Cabinet Secretary of the Delaware Economic Development Office, is participating in the summit as one of the panelists.

Other panelists include Patrick Grusenmeyer, president of Christiana Care Services; Thomas Horne, head of Operations, JPMorgan Chase; and David Hastings, executive vice president and CFO, INCYTE.

What: Delaware Economic Development Summit (Philadelphia ULI)

When: April 24, 2014

Where: The Westin Wilmington, Wilmington, DE

Dealertrack Technologies Site Selection Brings HQ Back Home to Long Island, New York

Dealertrack Technologies (NASDAQ:TRAK), which provides web-based software solutions and services for the automotive retail industry, announced plans to build a new corporate headquarters on Long Island, and create more than 350 new jobs in Nassau County, NY.

Nassau County IDA

Nassau County IDA (photo – nassauida.org)

During a comprehensive site selection process, the Long Island, New York-based company considered more than 100 sites in five states before zeroing on a newly built 233,000-square-foot corporate office building close to home in the Village of North Hills.

The new location is just a mile away from Dealertrack’s current headquarters in the Village of Lake Success, NY. The building they have signed a lease for is an LEED certified environmentally friendly building. Dealertrack will be moving into the new building in early 2016.

Keeping this company on Long Island and retaining their corporate headquarters was a crucially important project for state and local economic development agencies and officials. Dealertrack is a major high-wage employer in Nassau County, with a workforce that mainly consists of well-paid software engineers.

Empire State Development, the chief New York economic development agency, secured the project by working with the Nassau County IDA and Long Island Regional Economic Development Council to offer the company an attractive package of state and local incentives.

Up to $12 million in state incentives have been committed to keep Dealertrack on Long Island. This includes a $1.5 million capital grant and up to $10.5 million in tax credits under the Excelsior Jobs Program, tied to the company’s job creation and investment plans.

The Nassau County IDA is additionally offering the company local incentives in the form of property and sales tax abatements.

In order to receive these incentives from ESD and Nassau County, Dealertrack has agreed to retain more than 500 existing jobs and create 350 new jobs.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said he was pleased with Dealertrack’s decision to create hundreds of jobs for New Yorkers and looked forward to watching them continue to thrive in the Empire State.

Dealertrack Technologies Chairman and CEO Mark O’Neil said they worked closely with the NY Governor’s Office and Nassau County during the site selection process to help ensure that Dealertrack has a permanent home for its North American headquarters on Long Island.

O’Neil said Dealertrack was founded on Long Island, and they remain committed to local team members, customers, Long Island and New York State for making the company what it is today.

NYC Economic Development Corp Announces Winner of NYC Next Idea Competition

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced that the winner of this year’s NYC Next Idea competition is Senvol.

NYC Next Idea winners

NYC Next Idea winners (photo – NYCEDC)

Senvol LLC is a Philadelphia-based startup which makes use of a proprietary algorithm to help manufacturers determine which components and parts can be more cost-effectively made using 3D printing instead of traditional methods.

As the winner of the NYC Next Idea competition, Senvol is receiving $35,000, along with office space and business services to help them launch their innovative venture in New York City.

To be specific, they are getting office space free of rent for six months at the Columbia Startup Lab, and pro bono services from JustWorks, GLG Share, and intellectual property law specialist Michael J. Kasdan from the law firm of Wiggin and Dana LLP.

The competition was designed by NYCDEC and Columbia University’s Engineering School, and Senvol ended up being chosen as the winner out of 242 teams from 51 countries.

NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball said the record participation in the competition this year demonstrates that recent graduates and students from all over the world are seeking opportunities to bring their entrepreneurial spirit to New York City.

A stringent evaluation process narrowed the 242 participating teams down to six finalists. The final selection of Senvol as the winner was based on 10-minute pitches made by each team and a Q&A before a panel of five judges and a packed audience of investors, government officials and entrepreneurs at the AppNexus headquarters.

Senvol Co-founders Annie Wang and Zach Simkin, both MBA candidates at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, said that NYC was an incredible place to be for a start-up because of the unparalleled access to capital, talent, companies and customers. They added that NYC has the strongest 3D printing community in the world, and there is no other place they would rather be.

AirCare Labs, which came in second place, has developed a telehealth platform that allow medical professionals to remotely monitor and interact with patients using apps on tablets or phones. They are also getting six months of rent-free office space at Columbia Startup Lab.

The other four finalists were:-

- Edenworks, which has developed a sustainable closed-loop agricultural technique for urban farming;

- NCY Breathe, which has developed a wireless pollution sensor;

- NINU, which is a digital pregnancy companion; and

- Magazino, which provides automated storage solutions and is looking to create a global database that will show how best to handle goods robotically.

NYC Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen said the talent exhibited by each of the participants in the competition proves that New York City is, and will remain, a center of innovation and entrepreneurship in the global economy.

Greater Portland Economic Development Organization Joins Global Cities FDI Pilot Program

Greater Portland Inc (GPI), the regional partnership that leads Greater Portland economic development efforts, announced that it is joining a pilot program for creating and implementing plans for attracting foreign direct investment.

Greater Portland

Greater Portland (photo – greaterportlandinc.com)

The pilot program is a part of the Global Cities Initiative, which is a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase.

The Great Portland economic development team will be joining representatives from Seattle, San Diego, San Antonio, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Columbus, OH.

All these teams are in Seattle now to participate in the pilot program’s first working session to discuss the process for developing a plan to attract FDI.

Brookings chose these six metropolitan areas through an extensive process under which applicants including Greater Portland were evaluated for their readiness and commitment to pursue FDI through mergers and acquisitions, greenfield expansions and other such foreign investments from sovereign wealth funds, equity joint funds, etc.

Brad McDearman, Brookings fellow and director of metro trade and investment, said they selected metro areas committed to attracting and leveraging FDI as part of a comprehensive global trade and investment strategy.

McDearman added that the six metros chosen for this round will serve as strong role models for other regions, and represent a growing group of leaders who understand the need for embracing the global market in order to be competitive in the 21st century economy.

Sean Robbins, president and chief executive officer of Greater Portland Inc, said they see their partnership in the Global Cities Initiative as an important asset to the region’s economic sustainability. Robbins said that alongside exports, FDI is a key building block for growing a modern economy and creating family-wage jobs at home.

As one of the participants in the pilot program, Greater Portland will be required to come up with an FDI market assessment and plan, and an implementation plan and policy memo.

Greater Portland’s team in this effort will be jointly led by Derrick Olsen, vice president of Regional Strategy and Coordination, Greater Portland Inc, and by Michael Gurton, the Portland Development Commission’s International Business Development Officer.

Other team members participating in the pilot as Greater Portland representatives include Amanda Lowthian and Karen Goddin from Business Oregon; City of Hillsboro economic development officials Sarah Garrison and Mark Clemons; Jonathan Fink, vice president for Research and Strategic Partnerships at Portland State University; and Kellie Holloway Jarman, an international trade specialist at the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Portland.

Arkansas Economic Development Comm. and Clean Cities to Showcase Alternative Fuel Vehicles

A partnership that includes the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s (AEDC) energy division, three higher education institutes and the Arkansas Clean Cities Coalition is planning to hold a series of alternative fuel vehicle showcases.

Arkansas Clean Cities Coalition

Arkansas Clean Cities Coalition (photo – arkansasenergy.org)

The purpose of the events is to educate fleet managers and the public about the benefits and opportunities of alternative fuels.

The events will be open to the public and free to attend, and attendees will be able to see and test drive vehicles powered by everything from ethanol to CNG, propane and electricity.

The partnership includes Pulaski Technical College in Little Rock, Arkansas State University Newport in Jonesboro and Southern Arkansas University Tech in Camden. One-day alternative fuel vehicle showcase events are scheduled to be held at each of these institutions during this month.

The automotive service departments of these institutions will explain how they are helping automotive companies meet the demand for alternative fuel vehicles in Arkansas.

Representatives from major automakers whose alternative-fuel vehicles are being showcased will give presentations and let the public test drive their new models.

The Arkansas Clean Cities Coalition is one of nearly 100 such coalitions formed under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program, which aims to support local actions for reducing petroleum use in the transportation sector.

The coalitions are voluntary public-private organizations comprised of almost 18,000 stakeholders that include local, state and federal government agencies, national labs, non-profit organizations, fuel suppliers, vehicle manufacturers and other private businesses.

Clean Cities Coalition coordinators work with local fleets for developing and implementing strategic plans for reducing petroleum use in the cities and counties they serve.

Mitchell Simpson, coordinator for the Arkansas Clean Cities Coalition, is the Outreach and Training Manager at the Arkansas Energy Office, which is a part of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

Simpson said that great strides are being made in alternative fuel vehicles, which are now more exciting to drive than ever before. He added that the industry has combined form and function into vehicles which are both environmentally and economically friendly, and people need to come out and see for themselves.

Massachusetts Governor Announces $100M Economic Development Package

Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick announced a $100 million economic development package for the state which includes middle skills job training, investments in the state’s 26 Gateway Cities, and enhanced incentives for creating jobs.

Sec. Greg Bialecki kicks off MA Economic Development Summit

Sec. Greg Bialecki kicks off MA Economic Development Summit (photo – mass.gov/hed)

The Governor’s bill, called An Act to Promote Growth and Opportunity, calls for a multi-year $100 million investment through a combination of general fund and capital budget expenditures.

Massachusetts Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki said this legislation is the next step towards ensuring the Commonwealth’s long-term prosperity.

Bialecki added that the initiatives the bill is helping implement will extend economic opportunity to every resident of the Commonwealth and will continue to accelerate the thriving innovation economy.

The Governor’s plan includes recapitalization of the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation, the state’s working capital lender to small businesses. The plan also creates a Transformative Development Fund at MassDevelopment to make equity investments and provide funding for collaborative workspaces in Gateway Cities.

The bill seeks to expand the Housing Development Incentive Program which promotes market-rate housing in Gateway Cities. The State will contribute to the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund which helps redevelop old manufacturing properties in economically-distressed areas and put them into productive use.

The plan proposes an expansion of the Infrastructure Investment Inventive program (I-Cubed) which provides innovative financing for infrastructure projects that may be expected to leverage significant investments.

There’s also a proposal to get rid of the cap on the number of liquor licenses that local licensing authorities can issue.

Job creation related proposals include extending eligibility for state incentives to innovative companies that create jobs, regardless of the investment amount. The proposal also calls for extending the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s internship and mentoring program which offers companies tech companies grants for hiring interns.

Other proposals in the plan include recapitalizing the state’s public venture capital investment agency MassVentures, and modifying the R&D tax credit program to offer larger credit to companies whose R&D investments are rising.

The Governor made the announcement about this $100 million package at the second annual Massachusetts Economic Development Summit, attended by nearly 300 government, academic and business leaders.

The summit was convened for discussing the implementation of the state’s economic development plan called “Choosing to Compete in the 21st Century.” This plan has 55 action steps that describe how business, academia and government can collaborate to make Massachusetts more competitive and successful.

Pew Launches Economic Development Incentives Initiative With Seven States

The Pew Charitable Trusts announced that it is launching an economic development incentives initiative under which it will collect and analyze performance data about the business incentive programs of seven states.

Pew economic development incentives initiative

Pew economic development incentives initiative (photo – pewstates.org)

The aim of the 18-month “Business Incentive Initiative” is to identify best practices and create national standards that all states can follow for gathering and reporting data on economic development incentives .

Pew says on the initiative’s webpage that accurate data on incentive programs could greatly improve the ability of decision-makers to craft policies that deliver the strongest results at the lowest possible cost, and the data could also help fulfill public demand for more accountability and transparency.

The seven participating states are Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Virginia.

Pew, in partnership with the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, will be coordinating with teams of economic development practitioners and policymakers from these seven states.

Together, they will work on the following:-

- Identifying effective ways of managing and assessing economic development incentive practices and policies;

- Improving data collection and reporting on incentive investments; and

- Developing best practices and national standards that can be used by states to gather and report data on incentives.

Indiana applied in Feb 2014 to be considered as a part of the effort. Multiple state agencies will be involved, including the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Department of Revenue, and the State Budget Agency.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said that Indiana remains committed to delivering both a business-friendly climate for job creators and a high level of transparency for Hoosier taxpayers.

The Governor said that by participating in this study and evaluating the way the state conducts business, they will be able to ensure that Indiana continues to maintain a competitive edge and provide the top-notch, open and accountable service that Hoosiers deserve.

Jeff Chapman, who is managing The Pew Charitable Trusts economic development incentives project, said that Pew’s partnership with Indiana on this project will enhance the quality of information available to determine which tax incentives work and which ones are not working, and how these programs can be improved.

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