TUESDAY: Signing of Port of Wilmington Expansion Agreement

WILMINGTON, Del. – At noon on Tuesday, September 18, Governor Carney, the Diamond State Port Corporation and GT USA Wilmington, LLC will finalize the concession agreement to lease and significantly expand the Port of Wilmington. In March, Governor Carney announced the agreement with Gulftainer to lease the Port of Wilmington from the State, construct a new container shipping facility on the Delaware River, and significantly expand jobs at the Port over the next decade.

Under terms of the agreement, Gulftainer’s subsidiary GT USA Wilmington, LLC will make annual royalty payments to the State of Delaware reaching an estimated $13 million over the next decade. The company also plans to invest up to $600 million in the Port over the next nine years, including approximately $410 million for a new container facility at DuPont’s former Edgemoor site, which was acquired by the Diamond State Port Corporation (DSPC) in 2016.

“This historic agreement will result in significant new investment in the Port of Wilmington, which has long been one of Delaware’s most important industrial job centers,” said Governor Carney. “For decades, jobs at the Port have helped stabilize Delaware families and the communities where they live. We look forward to making this agreement official on Tuesday, and I want to thank members of the General Assembly, the Diamond State Port Corporation, Gulftainer, and all of our partners who have helped make this agreement a reality.”

Media planning to attend Tuesday’s signing ceremony must RSVP by Friday, September 14, to Emily.David@delaware.gov. For media who RSVP, we will follow up with additional event details, including directions and parking information.

Concession Agreement Signing – Port of Wilmington

WHAT: Governor Carney, the Diamond State Port Corporation and GT USA Wilmington, LLC will sign a concession agreement for the Port of Wilmington.

WHO:   Governor Carney
Jeff Bullock, Secretary, Delaware Department of State
Rick Geisenberger, Secretary, Delaware Department of Finance
Members of Diamond State Port Corporation
Members of GT USA Wilmington, LLC
Members of the General Assembly
Port of Wilmington Employees
Members of ILA Local 1694

WHEN: Tuesday, September 18, 2018
11 a.m.
 *Media setup will begin at the Port at 11 a.m. The signing ceremony will begin at noon.

WHERE: Port of Wilmington
1 Hausel Road
Wilmington, DE 19801

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Governor Carney Announces Construction Career Expo

Free, family-oriented career fair to expose middle school students, adults to careers in construction industry

WILMINGTON, Del. — Governor John Carney on Thursday announced a family-friendly career fair for youth and adults to explore careers in construction. The Governor’s Construction Career Expo is a two-day event in September that will expose middle school students, and adults looking for a career change, to training programs and construction career paths.

“We’re working hard to make sure that all Delawareans have the opportunity to succeed and share in our state’s economic progress,” said Governor Carney. “Careers in the building trades have historically provided paths into the middle class for thousands of Delaware workers and their families. Those same opportunities exist today. This Construction Career Expo will help connect Delawareans with meaningful career opportunities in construction fields, and expose Delaware students and adults to good-paying, skilled construction careers that are in demand and can help strengthen Delaware’s workforce.”

The construction industry is one of Delaware’s fastest-growing employment sectors with more than 3,500 job openings expected through 2024. The Governor’s Construction Career Expo will introduce training and career paths to students and those looking to move from jobs to meaningful careers. The Governor’s initiative is also an opportunity to connect employers and career-seekers, and to continue to train and develop a strong, skilled Delaware workforce.

“Throughout our state’s history, construction trades have been responsible for catapulting thousands of Delaware families into the middle class by providing skills training, benefits, and great wages,” said Cerron Cade, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Labor. “Today, it is more important than ever that the next generation of Delawareans are equipped with the best education and career training available, so they can continue to compete in a highly competitive and rapidly shrinking world.”

On Friday, September 21, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Chase Center in Wilmington, middle school students from various schools in New Castle County will have the opportunity to participate in one of three scheduled blocks to meet with employers, sample fun activities and tools, and participate in heavy equipment demonstrations and virtual simulators. This specialized field trip was coordinated with school principals and school districts.

All students, families, and members of the public, are invited to attend the Construction Career Expo on Saturday, September 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Chase Center in Wilmington. The free family-oriented career fair will include activities for both youth and adults, skills training opportunities, on-site job interviews, heavy equipment demonstrations, food trucks, and giveaways.

The Governor’s Construction Career Expo is presented in partnership with:

  • Office of the Governor
  • AFSCME
  • Delaware State AFL-CIO
  • Delaware Building and Construction Trades Council
  • Delaware Chief School Officers Association
  • Delaware Contractors Association
  • Delaware Department of Education
  • Delaware Department of Labor
  • Delaware Department of Transportation
  • Associated Builders and Contractors
  • Delaware Technical Community College
  • The Committee of 100
  • City of Wilmington

“Many local employers are having trouble finding enough people to fill vacant job openings. We will train and pay a great wage, but we just need to find people looking for a stable and good-paying job,” said Alisha Wayman Bryson, Vice President of Wayman Fire Protection. “The Governor’s Construction Career Expo is going to be an amazing event for all ages. On Friday, kids are going to see firsthand the magic of construction, and on Saturday, we will show the entire family the benefits of a career in the construction industry. We look forward to having trades, local employers with job openings, training centers, and schools all under one roof.”

“Governor Carney’s Construction Career Expo is an opportunity for our Unions to showcase the contributions made every day by the working men and women of our state, and how big of a role they play in Delaware’s economy,” said James Maravelias, President of the Delaware State AFL-CIO. “This Expo will also introduce young Delawareans to careers in construction, one of our state’s fastest growing industries. We are pleased to be partnering with the Governor on this event, and look forward to working together to promote good-paying careers in the Building Trades Unions.”

“The Wall Street Journal and Businessweek are only two of many publications that have recently written about the shortages of trained employees and opportunities in the construction trades,” said Dr. Victoria Gehrt, Superintendent of the New Castle County Vocational Technical School District. “Governor Carney recognizes the importance of the need to train for the construction industries and is promoting the first, hopefully annual, Governor’s Construction Career Expo in Delaware. We appreciate our Governor for his support in informing and encouraging our youth to consider the construction trades as a positive and rewarding career option.”

“The Colonial School District is proud to participate in the first ever Governor’s Construction Trades Career Expo for Delaware students and families,” said Dr. D. Dusty Blakey, Superintendent of Colonial School District. “We appreciate the Governor for his leadership and vision in the area of Career and Technical Education and more specifically, for providing Delaware families with access and opportunity to learn and explore careers in the construction trades. We firmly believe that this innovative approach to engaging stakeholders across the state to support education will have a positive impact on the future of Delaware’s workforce.”

Learn more and sign up to receive updates about the Governor’s Construction Career Expo.

Use the hashtag #DEBuilds to spread the word and follow discussion about the Governor’s Construction Career Expo on social media.

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Governor Carney Signs Pay for Success Legislation

Contracts expand ability to incentivize private funding of economic development, social impact programs

NEWARK, Del. – Surrounded by members of the General Assembly, advocates, and business leaders, Governor John Carney on Wednesday signed Senate Bill 242, allowing state government to enter into Pay for Success contracts that will incentivize private funding of economic development and social impact initiatives. Under terms of the contracts, the state would protect taxpayer dollars by reimbursing private funding only if the initiatives reach stated goals, and achieve progress for Delawareans.

Governor Carney signed the legislation – sponsored by Senator Jack Walsh and Representative Kim Williams – at the Newark office of the Blood Bank of Delmarva. The Blood Bank is working with the Longwood Foundation, Discover Bank, and the Delaware Community Foundation on a Pay for Success initiative to increase blood donations across the state.

“Pay for Success contracts will provide the State of Delaware with another tool to create jobs, improve the quality of services provided to Delawareans, and to ensure that we’re investing taxpayer dollars wisely,” said Governor John Carney. “Taxpayers expect us to take care of their money, and invest in initiatives that demonstrate clear results. That’s the intent behind this new law, and I want to thank Representative Kim Williams and Senator Jack Walsh for their leadership and their partnership on this important issue.”

“Government has to be both fiscally and socially responsible,” said Senator Jack Walsh. “Pay For Success gives us the best of both worlds by protecting the state’s investments without sacrificing our ambitions for economic and social progress. This is exactly the kind of innovation that Delaware needs in an environment where our challenges often grow faster than our resources. I’m grateful to all of my colleagues who helped me pass this bill, including Representative Kim Williams, Lori Palmer, and Bryan Tracy, and to Governor Carney for bringing us across the finish line.”

“We have an opportunity through the Pay for Success program to incentivize private development in a smart, responsible way,” said Representative Kim Williams. “By entering into Pay for Success contracts with companies, we can leverage government funds with little risk: if the company succeeds and meets its goals, they will reap the financial benefits, while Delaware will reap the benefits of jobs, improved services and more stable businesses throughout our state. I’m excited to see this program get off the ground and start producing positive results.”

“As a recent pay-for-success partnership grant recipient, we can see how beneficial this unique arrangement is for Delaware,” said Michele Hart-Henry, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Blood Bank of Delmarva. “The Blood Bank of Delmarva will be expanding our operations while having both the expectation and the support to be accountable for our results.”

“Pay for Success is a win-win-win idea,” said There du Pont, President of the Longwood Foundation. “Government gets accountability for taxpayer funds and only pays for outcomes achieved. Private investors see social returns alongside financial ones, and effective nonprofits get flexible capital with which to grow.”

“Discover Bank believes in making strategic investments that help build stronger communities,” said James Roszkowski, President of Discover Bank. “We are thrilled to be an early investor of the Blood Bank of Delmarva Pay for Success model, along with the Delaware Community Foundation and the Longwood Foundation. We believe the investment will yield measurable results for our community and look forward to future projects that are now possible under Senate Bill 242.”

“Pay for Success gives Delaware the opportunity to create thousands of new jobs and grow the local economy with scalable enterprises without risking tax dollars,” said Bryan Tracy, Chief Executive Officer of White Dog Labs, a New Castle-based biotech firm. “The incentives provided through this new investment vehicle reward the private sector after new jobs have been created, and provided new revenue to the state – it pays only for success. This is a win-win for companies, local government and the state to work together and make Delaware more prosperous for all.”

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Expanding Access to High-Speed Broadband

[AUGUST UPDATE: Click here to view request for proposal]

Applying for a job, or recruiting talented employees for your business. Taking a college course. Reading a book. Helping your kids with math homework.

More and more, these are tasks that Delawareans are completing online —to further their education, acquire new skills, and compete in an economy that is evolving every day. My most important job as Governor is to make sure that Delaware has a strong, growing, and competitive economy. That’s why, among other steps we’re taking, it’s so important for us to expand access to high-speed broadband service across our state - especially in areas where service is spotty or unavailable today.

Over the next two years, working with partners in the private sector, we plan to eliminate broadband deserts and ensure that every Delaware citizen and business has access to high-speed broadband service.

Delaware has consistently been recognized for having among the fastest internet speeds in the country. Ensuring reliable access to the internet for even more Delawareans will help prepare our young people for the economy of the future, and it will help our existing workforce do their jobs even better.

“As vice chair of the House Committee on Telecommunication Internet and Technology, I believe that every Delawarean should have equal access to high quality broadband,” said Representative Trey Paradee, a Dover Democrat. “I’m proud of the efforts made in Delaware to expand broadband access throughout the state.”

“Connectivity is the key. Many areas of our county have been under served by the major Internet players for many years,” said Senator Brian Pettyjohn, a Georgetown Republican. “Bringing broadband access will help families, students, businesses, and our agricultural community compete in the modern world.”

Governor Carney with Josh Wharton from DEC
Josh Wharton and Governor Carney

On Tuesday, during a tour of Delaware Electric Cooperative in Greenwood, we saw how important broadband access is to the delivery of electricity to customers across Kent and Sussex counties.

Josh Wharton, a Delaware Electric Cooperative operations supervisor, shared one of his favorite stories. One night at 11:00 p.m., Josh received a call from another power company that had a fire on a power line. The company asked Josh to redirect power to 5,000 customers before their service was impacted. From his home in Gumboro, Josh used an iPad to guarantee those customers didn’t lose power. How was that possible? A high-speed, remote internet connection.

Businesses need to reach their customers, and set up shop in locations that enable them to communicate efficiently. High-speed broadband is critical for companies of all sizes, and it’s why we’re working to ensure businesses have access to quality internet service statewide.

We also heard from R.C. Willin and Brent Willin of Willin Farms on how their fifth-generation family farm uses internet connectivity to make adjustments to planting, monitor equipment, and manage business operations.

We want all of Delaware’s farms to have access to this type of technology. Expanding access to high-speed broadband is essential for Delaware’s agriculture sector to remain competitive.

 

 

Here’s how we plan to expand high-speed broadband access in Delaware:

In August, we will release a request for proposals (RFP) to develop partnerships that will improve broadband availability in rural areas throughout Delaware by creating opportunity for the private sector to develop and offer that service. [AUGUST UPDATE: Click here to view RFP.]
Through this RFP and subsequent partnerships, the State will focus on enabling service to homes and businesses where broadband service is not readily available, particularly in rural Kent and Sussex Counties.

Delaware will also prioritize low-cost services for lower income families to enable them to take full advantage of the internet, meeting needs that range from applying for jobs to completing homework assignments.

We will make funds available through a rural broadband grant program to reduce barriers to market entry for private sector providers, and to further attract private investment.

This is about increasing opportunity for all Delawareans - and making sure that no one in our state is left behind because they don’t have adequate access to technology.

We are building on earlier work across our state that has achieved results. Delaware has worked diligently to expand broadband access across the state for several years. Delaware Chief Information Officer James Collins has worked with school district leaders to upgrade digital infrastructure and dramatically increase internet speeds in 48 schools statewide - many in areas that are under-served.

As part of the Delaware Department of Technology and Information’s Delaware Broadband Fund Phase Two initiative to promote fixed wireless broadband solutions and reach under-served populations in rural areas, Bloosurf launched a pilot project in the City of Seaford which offered free service to customers within 8 miles of the wireless access points.

That helped Delawareans like Kim Hopkins, a Seaford teacher, who previously had trouble grading papers, preparing lesson plans, and helping her children with their homework because of slow, spotty internet connection.

 

 

We have invested in increasing our fiber infrastructure, with the State’s initial financial contribution, resulting in over $30 million in private investment and 700 miles of fiber.

Delaware’s existing broadband “backbone” features high capacity fiber-optic lines that run the length of the state from Wilmington to Georgetown, and from Seaford to Lewes, improving internet reliability for consumers and increasing internet access speeds by as much as 10 times since 2009.

“We live in an amazing time where technology provides us unprecedented access to information and the ability to collaborate - high-speed broadband is key to that connectivity. Without broadband, we wouldn’t be talking about emerging technologies like the ‘Internet of Things’ or the many cloud-based services available because they wouldn’t exist. It is imperative we continue the work to bridge the digital divide because access to technology levels the playing field. In today’s connected world, broadband access is necessary for the success of our students, communities and businesses. Our hope is that high-speed broadband will become as accessible as electricity for all Delawareans.” - Delaware Chief Information Officer James Collins

Thanks in large part to these efforts, Delaware continuously ranks at, or near, the top of broadband speed rankings across the nation. Yet, we still face the same challenges as many other states when it comes to access and affordability, especially in our rural areas where broadband deserts still exist.

Over the next two years, we will directly confront this issue, eliminate those deserts, and make high-speed internet a reality for all Delawareans. That will help all Delawareans connect and compete in a new economy, and help move our entire state forward.


OP-ED: Soaring health care costs are holding Delaware back. Here’s what we’re doing to fix them.

Op-ed by Rick Geisenberger, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Finance

Over the next several weeks, as we complete another budget debate in Dover, we should not lose sight of Delaware’s long-term challenges and of one issue in particular: the rising cost of health care.

The projected growth rate for state spending on health care services will more than double our expected growth rate in available revenue over the next two years. Next year alone, Delaware taxpayers will spend more than $1.3 billion on health care — primarily on state employee benefits and Medicaid, the state-federal program that provides insurance for low-income Delawareans, those with disabilities, and older residents that require long-term care.

In January, Governor Carney proposed a 2019 budget plan focused on investing in Delaware’s economy, in high-needs schools, and communities across our state. The governor’s budget proposal limits spending growth to 3.5 percent — an increase far below available revenue this year, and one that is sustainable over the long term.

But if we hope to continue making investments that matter, we cannot continue on our current path.

State spending on health care now accounts for more than 30 percent of the state’s budget. Simply put, the growth of state spending on health care crowds out investments in schools, communities, infrastructure, and our economy that would move our state forward.

And this is not an issue unique to state government. Health care spending severely strains the budgets of Delaware families and businesses up and down our state, limiting household spending and making it harder for companies to invest and create jobs.

A few statistics tell the tale:

Delaware’s health care spending per person exceeds the national average by more than 27 percent. Among states, only Alaska and Massachusetts spend more. And we’re not getting our money’s worth. Delaware ranks 30th in terms of overall health quality.

Workers’ contributions for health care have increased 40 percent since 2010, while Delaware wages have increased only 25 percent.
Health care spending per person has increased every year since 1991, even as our economy has grown and contracted through recession and recovery.

To be clear, health care is an important sector of Delaware’s economy, accounting for 12.5 percent of the state’s workforce, and thousands of jobs. But we cannot ignore concerns that health care costs are growing dramatically faster than other measures of economic growth.

To address these issues last year, the General Assembly enacted and Governor Carney signed House Joint Resolution 7, authorizing the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) to establish a benchmark, with a growth rate for health care spending linked to growth in our overall economy. DHSS will select the methods to measure and report on the total cost of health care and identify metrics to measure and track spending and quality across our health care system.

Governor Carney established the Health Care Delivery and Cost Advisory Group to assist in this process and provide feedback to DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker.

 

 

The good news is that there is a great deal of consensus and energy about the importance of this work among Delaware’s purchasers and providers of health care services. But, understandably, some providers are concerned that, in the future, a benchmark might be used to set price controls or create spending caps on private health care spending.

To be clear, this is not at all the purpose for the benchmark.

Our goal is to provide additional price transparency and attention to the underlying costs and quality of health care delivery across the state. Delaware families and businesses deserve to know how much they are paying for health procedures, and what they’re getting for their money.

With better information, we can analyze and report on variations in cost and quality. We can make this data available to policymakers and health care providers so that everyone better understands the sources of cost growth. Most importantly, we can use this information to work collaboratively to address unwarranted variations in costs and quality.

As the state’s chief financial officer, I’m keenly aware of the importance of bending the health care cost curve to more closely align with public and private resources available to cover these costs. At the Delaware Department of Finance, we believe it’s critical that the process for setting health care benchmarks be verifiable, transparent, and independently generated. Dr. Walker already has engaged the health care community significantly in this effort and this commitment will continue.

The challenge presented by the growth of health care spending is a national problem. But many solutions will need to be local. Delaware’s size — and our history of working together to solve difficult problems — means we are uniquely equipped to bring all stakeholders to the table to address this challenge.

As Governor Carney has said, lowering health care costs while improving quality is the most important thing we can do for the future health of our economy, our citizens and our finances.

Click here to learn more about the health care spending benchmark.