Package includes investment in training,
Governor Phil Bredesen today unveiled details of his 2005 jobs plan, a package that includes $20 million in new funding for workforce training and an expansion of Tennessee’s technological infrastructure.
Bredesen’s jobs plan is part of a comprehensive agenda that allows the state to take the next steps after two years spent establishing its fiscal footing. The agenda, announced last month, continues the Governor’s focus on the fundamental responsibilities of state government: education, job creation, public safety and government efficiency.
“As Governor, I won’t be satisfied until every Tennessean who wants a job has one,” Bredesen said. “A good job isn’t simply a paycheck. A good job allows parents to provide for their families, and for those families to enjoy a high quality of life.”
The $20 million investment, one-time money to “help jump-start these efforts,” according to Bredesen, will be included in the Governor’s budget presentation to the General Assembly on Monday.
Bredesen plans to dedicate a portion of that money to helping companies already in Tennessee upgrade the skills of their employees. The skill level of a community’s workforce is often the deciding factor when companies are considering where to locate or expand, the Governor said.
“Companies don’t just look at acreage and sewer lines, they look for skilled labor,” Bredesen said. “By providing this help to current industry, we accomplish two things: We keep those Tennessee companies here in Tennessee and we increase the overall skill level of our workforce – making us even more attractive to new industry.”
The remaining funds will be used to develop a statewide broadband strategy, the first step in expanding Tennessee’s technological infrastructure beyond large cities so all towns, regardless of size or geography, can compete for industry.
Bredesen said he has directed Matt Kisber, Tennessee’s Economic and Community Development commissioner, to establish a statewide broadband strategy task force as the first step in accomplishing that goal.
“We’re reaching out to experts in education and in business to help us develop a roadmap that will allow us to meet the economic challenges of tomorrow,” the Governor said.
Finally, a portion of the proposed funding will be dedicated to the creation of a new “Economic Development Leadership Institute,” a place where community leaders from across Tennessee can come to learn the latest strategies for remaining competitive in this changing economy.
Bredesen’s 2005 jobs creation agenda builds upon the work his Administration has done on the fundamentals over the past two years to improve Tennessee’s jobs climate.
Among the changes: a major overhaul of the State’s workers’ compensation system; the establishment of a statewide Jobs Cabinet; and the revamping of Tennessee’s “Three Star” program, which recognizes quality communities for their economic success.
“We’ve successfully begun modernizing the tools in our economic development toolbox,” Bredesen said. “We’ve recruited new industry, expanded existing enterprises, and most importantly, created new jobs for Tennesseans.”