Governor Markell Orders Flags Lowered Wednesday for Abraham Lincoln Remembrance Day

President Abraham Lincoln believed that we are, at heart, one nation and one people. At a time when America was torn apart and our very future was in doubt, he knew our country was more than a collection of states, and that we shared a bond that would not break. One hundred fifty years after President Lincoln’s death, Americans join together across the Union he saved to honor his memory and celebrate the freedom for which he gave his last full measure of devotion. To honor the life and legacy of President Lincoln and in concurrence with an order issued by President Obama, Governor Markell has ordered both the U.S. and Delaware State flags be lowered to half-staff on Wednesday, April 15, 2015.​


Governor’s Weekly Message Transcript: Delaware’s Strategic Fund: Supporting Job Creation & Business Growth


Delaware’s steadily declining unemployment rate has dipped to 4.8 percent. That’s well below the national average and the  lowest level since July 2008 – before the brunt of the Great Recession.  It’s just the latest sign of a strengthening economy – our job growth has led the region over the past two years, and Gallup just recognized Delaware as the only east coast state among the top ten in its job creation index.

Conversations with hundreds of Delaware employers have made clear that, above all else, they value the quality of our workforce and our business climate. However, our success also isn’t possible without our Strategic Fund, which provides customized financial assistance to companies that consider locating or expanding in Delaware. These companies receive funds for reaching job creation goals. Our grants and loans support a variety of companies – mainly small businesses – from health science startups at Delaware Technology Park to financial companies creating hundreds of jobs in Wilmington.

The Strategic Fund supports manufacturers in Kent County and funds a rural irrigation program that’s helping Sussex County farmers improve production. Delaware’s portfolio of companies currently receiving grants have exceeded job creation requirements, reporting more than 26,000 full-time employment opportunities. That’s 3,000 more than promised.

We should celebrate our economic progress but not rest on our laurels. In the coming months I’ll announce details of more training programs for fast-growing fields. And we’ll aim to further streamline state regulations to ensure we only create new rules for businesses when necessary. Meanwhile, our Strategic Fund will provide the targeted business incentives that allow Delaware to compete for jobs with bigger states that can write bigger checks to attract businesses. Through this comprehensive approach, we’ll continue to create economic opportunities for our people, and we’ll keep Delaware moving forward.


Governor Markell Announces 2014 Team Excellence Awards

DOVER – Governor Jack Markell announced today that the Improving Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities Workgroup, a team of employees from seven agencies focused on increasing the hiring and retention of people with disabilities, is the 2014 recipient of the Governor’s Team Excellence Award.

Due to the hard work, passion, and dedication of this workgroup, Delaware has become the model state for programs related to the employment of people with disabilities.

As chair of the National Governors Association (NGA) in 2013, Governor Markell established the initiative, “A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities.” The initiative focused on the employment challenges that affect individuals with disabilities and the role state government and businesses can play in advancing gainful employment opportunities for these individuals in the competitive labor market. The workgroup was created to carry out the objectives of Governor Markell’s initiative.

The group’s work on this initiative involved the efforts of employees from seven different agencies: Department of Health and Social Services, Office of Management and Budget, Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Department of Labor, Department of Transportation, Office of the Public Defender, and the Delaware Association of Rehabilitation Facilities.

Since it was established, the workgroup has accomplished several important achievements. Over the past year, they have:
• Implemented new training and disability-related programs;
• Revised policies and procedures related to the Americans with Disabilities Act and diversity awareness;
• Made significant improvements in the use of the State’s Selective Placement program, which provides assistance to individuals with physical or mental impairments applying for state employment;
• Collaborated with the University of Delaware to conduct a statewide disability survey designed to provide insights into the State’s culture and environment as it relates to employing people with disabilities; and
• Initiated a process that allows employees to self-disclose having a disability, which has had an immediate effect of doubling the number of employees disclosing this type of information over the past year.

The work of this group has not only made the NGA initiative a success but also continues to drive these employment efforts to the betterment of Delaware’s citizens.

“Advancing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities is the right thing to do as a society. It’s the smart thing for government to do, and it makes good business sense,” said Governor Markell. “By providing every person with the best possible chance to achieve personal and professional success we will keep Delaware moving forward.”

The Governor’s Team Excellence Award is an annual award that encourages teamwork by recognizing groups of state employees for their efforts to produce tangible results and superior customer service through the use of continuous quality improvement tools. The teams recognized by this award demonstrate excellence in leadership, team dynamics, and communication.

In addition to the award recipients, four other teams were recognized as finalists:

I-495 Emergency Bridge Repair Team – Department of Transportation
On June 2, 2014, the I-495 bridge over the Christina River in Delaware was suddenly closed to traffic due to an emergency situation affecting the structural integrity of the bridge. This closure profoundly impacted the local and regional traffic as well as the economy as over 90,000 vehicles utilized the bridge daily. The project required considerable design and innovative construction techniques to repair the bridge and a 24/7 effort that involved the coordination of hundreds of personnel all pulling in one direction toward a common goal. The engineering and project management challenges were considerable and required creative thinking and a willingness to work around the clock until the problem was solved. This interdisciplinary team from DelDOT, consisting of professionals from Bridge Design, Bridge Inspection, Construction, Traffic, Materials and Research, Right-of-Way, Environmental Studies, and Maintenance and Operations, worked tirelessly and collaboratively to reopen the bridge well ahead of the estimated schedule. The innovative teamwork and effort put forth by this team allowed this vital link in our transportation infrastructure to safely be returned to full operation months ahead of schedule.

Delaware Outdoor Trail Team – Delaware Economic Development Office
The Delaware Outdoor Trail was launched on Earth Day 2014 after a collaborative effort by DEDO’s Delaware Tourism Office (DTO), the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), and DelDOT. Designed to suit travelers’ preferences in outdoor adventure, the trail comprises 60 activities at 40 locations statewide, and features four primary types of activities: walking/hiking/running; biking; wildlife viewing; and watersports. Visitors can plan their adventure at Delaware Tourism’s one-stop-shop for travelers, VisitDelaware.com. The project involved the coordination with hundreds of people at dozens of sites and countless hours of planning and marked the first time that DNREC, DelDOT, and DEDO collaborated to successfully execute a statewide tourism initiative.

Mirror Lake Remediation and Restoration Team – Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
This team led an innovative project to clean up and restore Dover’s Mirror Lake. With assistance from researchers at the University of Maryland, this team developed a remediation and restoration plan that involved the use of approximately 80 tons of an activated carbon product to the lake – the largest application of this approach in the nation to date. Since the project was completed last year, tests show a 60% reduction in contaminant levels in the lake. This project is a case study in applying innovative technology, creativity, and teamwork to complete a challenging project. Additional labor for this project was provided by the Department of Correction and hundreds of volunteers, including residents from a local shelter, resulting in taxpayer cost savings in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition, this project provided the opportunity for senior DNREC staff to mentor and transfer knowledge to scientists and managers who will lead DNREC in the future. None of these accomplishments would have been possible without the creative thinking, hard work, and full cooperation of each and every team member.

SCCC’s Community Service Programs Team – Department of Correction
Sussex County Community Correctional Center’s (SCCC’s) Community Service Programs Team is an experienced and versatile group of employees dedicated to making a difference in the community and providing options so the offenders they work with can become more productive individuals in society. They provide offenders from their Violation of Parole Units with a variety of training programs that highlight work ethic, character building, pride of accomplishments, and self-confidence. At the same time, they involve them in community service projects that benefit numerous state agencies, towns, churches, non-profit organizations, veterans, senior citizens, recreation centers, schools and cemeteries. The team provides training and work opportunities in areas such as recycling, dune restoration, farming, horticulture, welding, construction, aquaculture, roadway beautification, and culinary arts. In addition to developing skills and self-confidence, the work of this team allows offenders to make connections within their communities. They demonstrate that they can make a positive impact on society and constructively influence their own communities. The dedication of SCCC’s staff assures that these programs continue to impact lives by providing an environment for the offender population to receive training, acquire new skills, and develop positive social interests.

Pictured in photo, from left to right, are: Santino Ceccotti (Public Defender’s Office), Barbara McCleary (OMB), Jamie Summerfield (OMB), Mark Monroe (DHSS), Tracey Connolly (OMB), Jane Hahn (OMB), Kayla Kosmalski, Wanda Pfieffer (OMB), Paul Beane (DelARF), Denise Robbins (OMB), Denise Burke (DOL), Sandy Reyes (OMB), Jill Fredel (DHSS), and John McNeal (DelDOT). Not pictured is Kyle Hodges, Council for Persons with Disabilities.
Pictured in photo, from left to right, are: Santino Ceccotti (Public Defender’s Office), Barbara McCleary (OMB), Jamie Summerfield (OMB), Mark Monroe (DHSS), Tracey Connolly (OMB), Jane Hahn (OMB), Kayla Kosmalski, Wanda Pfieffer (OMB), Paul Beane (DelARF), Denise Robbins (OMB), Denise Burke (DOL), Sandy Reyes (OMB), Cynthia Fairwell (DOL), Jill Fredel (DHSS), and John McNeal (DelDOT). Not pictured is Kyle Hodges, Council for Persons with Disabilities, and Andrea Guest, Department of Labor.


Governor’s Weekly Message: Strengthening Educational Opportunities for Delaware Students


(Dover, DE) – In his weekly message, Governor Markell explains the importance of identifying unmet student needs and developing a comprehensive plan that addresses all schools in Delaware. “Amazing schools and programs across the state are offering diverse and innovative opportunities to meet individual needs, whether it’s the science and math focus at Conrad Schools of Science, the college prep courses at Mount Pleasant, the programs to serve high-need students at EastSide Charter, or the robust career and technical training at Vo Tech schools in each county,” said Governor Markell. “By ensuring all children have access to the right education programs, we’ll give them the best chance to graduate ready for college or a career and we’ll keep Delaware moving forward.”

Every week, the Governor’s office releases a new Weekly Message in video, audio, and transcript form. The message is available on:

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The Governor’s Weekly Message: Strengthening Educational Opportunities for Delaware Students transcript


Governor’s Weekly Message Transcript: Strengthening Educational Opportunities for Delaware Students


All students deserve educational opportunities that prepare them to thrive in an increasingly competitive economy. For some, that means curriculum based on science and math, special preparation for careers in manufacturing or information technology, or dual language programs. And children from disadvantaged backgrounds often need extra support – like after-school mentoring and social services. Amazing schools and programs across the state are offering diverse and innovative opportunities to meet individual needs, whether it’s the science and math focus at Conrad Schools of Science, the college prep classes at Mount Pleasant, the programs to serve high-need students at EastSide Charter, or the robust career and technical training at career and tech-ed schools in each county. However, not all students have access to their programs of choice. Many schools are oversubscribed. These should be expanded or replicated. But we also don’t want new programs or schools if families aren’t asking for them. That’s why I’ve announced a review of all traditional, charter, and magnet schools in Delaware. We’ll identify unmet student needs and develop a plan for our future. This effort was inspired by a proposal from the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee – a group I formed last year that urged us to be smarter and more strategic about the growth of educational opportunities in the City, particularly charter schools. We agree – but we shouldn’t limit this effort to one city or county, or to charter schools alone. It can benefit our education system statewide. All schools are part of the solution and I thank the State Board of Education for their support. By ensuring all children have access to the right education programs, we’ll give them the best chance to graduate ready for college or a career. And we’ll keep Delaware moving forward.