According to a recent News & Observer op-ed, the Georgetown Center on Education predicts that by 2020, 67 percent of North Carolina’s jobs will require a post-secondary education. Currently, our state is not producing enough high-skilled graduates to fill that future need, which has led to a growing skills gap challenge in North Carolina. Fortunately, as the op-ed explains, North Carolina voters can do something to help close that gap when they go to the polls to vote in our state’s March primaries.
The op-ed cuts straight to the point with its opening statement: “If North Carolina is serious about driving sustained economic growth by strengthening higher education to prepare our future workforce and closing the ‘skills gap,’ we need to pass the Connect NC bond referendum March 15.” Venessa Harrison, president of AT&T North Carolina and a member of the NC Chamber’s Board of Directors, co-penned the op-ed along with Ann Goodnight, another leader in job creation in our state. Like most of our members, these two leaders have witnessed the growth of the skills gap from an up-close perspective. So when they say they believe the $2-billion, 20-year funding model for critical statewide infrastructure investments created by the Connect NC bond will better position North Carolina to address its skills gap challenge, we believe state leaders and the general public alike should take notice.
Of course, when the NC Chamber put its support and endorsement behind the Connect NC bond proposal last December, we also had our state’s future economic security in mind. The substantial vertical infrastructure investments the bond will secure for university and community college campuses and other state-owned facilities throughout North Carolina will provide a perfect complement to the long-term transportation funding measures the Chamber and our members helped to pass in 2015. And better yet, since the proposal does not seek to borrow funds from the federal government, your taxes won’t be impacted; a win-win for job creation in North Carolina.
The NC Chamber appreciates the dedication many of our state’s elected leaders, including Gov. McCrory, have shown in recent months to push for the passage of this important ballot initiative. We also thank job creators like Venessa Harrison and Ann Goodnight, for their valuable testimony in support of the Connect NC bond. The Chamber echoes that support, and we encourage our members to spread the word – when you go to the polls on March 15, vote yes to invest in North Carolina’s future!
Visit the official homepage of the Connect NC Bond campaign, which includes numerous links detailing how the proposal will benefit our state’s future competitiveness, and how you can get involved to help secure its passage.
Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber