Late last month, the N.C. Economic Development Board presented a long-term jobs creation blueprint to Gov. Pat McCrory. So what’s in the plan for North Carolina’s technology industry as well as entrepreneurs?
What about the plan’s overall economic output?
WRALTechWire reached out to executives to discuss their reactions to the plan. Our third discussion is with N.C. State University Economist Dr. Michael Walden, who made a presentation to the board but did not have a role in writing the report.
As WRAL reported, the plan calls for North Carolina to focus its business recruiting efforts on 38 industries.
Dr. Walden’s reaction:
“I view the document as a broad set of goals, with specific areas for focus. The strongest part of the plan is the emphasis on worker skills and training and innovation.”
“I like the mention of more vocational and technical training at the mid-school level – as well as apprenticeships – but, of course, funding and implementation will be crucial.”
- Branding Innovation
“Economies that innovate are the economies that will prosper the most, so selling NC as the ‘innovative state – where dreams come to reality’ might be our best branding.”
- Use Universities
“Our big ‘draw’ is our universities and colleges and the research and idea development around them.”
- Recruiting Retirees
“I also particularly complement the plan’s recognition that in-migration of retirees, especially to rural areas, is a form of economic development. We will never make the economies of rural areas the same as the economies of metro areas, so we must look for the “comparative advantages” of rural regions – and low-cost living for retirees is one such advantage.”
- Rural Benefit
“Specifically for eastern N.C. rural areas, I would have added the potential economic development from the expanded Panama Canal, bringing significantly more port and transit activity to the eastern part of our state.”
- Cluster Luster
“I understand the desire to pinpoint ‘clusters’ of economic sectors for development. But, one disadvantage of this approach is the fast-changing economy – meaning a sector existing today may be gone in ten years, and a new sector that no one predicted will take its place. I think the emphasis should be on a flexible workforce with ample opportunities for re-training.”