The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce held its annual Legislative Brunch & Manufacturing Conference on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. We thank the event’s presenting sponsor, Delaware Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and host sponsor, Delaware Technical Community College. The event, held at DTCC’s Terry Campus in Dover, welcomed 250 guests and began with exhibitors and networking in the morning, followed by a manufacturing-focused panel discussion.
The manufacturing session’s panel focused on “Building the Manufacturing Pipeline” by way of Delaware’s Pathways to Prosperity program. Panelist Heath Chasanov, Superintendent of Woodbridge School District, shared the success the program has had in his district. His sentiments were supported by a Manufacturing Pathway student from Woodbridge High School, who communicated her experience in the program, obtaining various accreditations, building a strong foundation for her career, and her passion for using her manufacturing skills in the agricultural industry.
Kuehne Chemical Company Plant Manager, Alan Rogers, gave employer insight to the importance of the Pathways Program and how it’s not just the technical skills, but also the soft skills, that the students are bringing to the workplace that is impressive. Mary Ann Pacelli, Manager of Workforce Development, Manufacturing Extension Partnership, NIST offered a national perspective, sharing that while Delaware is not alone in its challenges in growing and sustaining the workforce pipeline, it certainly has a model that is effective and worthy of replication. The panel was moderated by Paul Morris, Assistant Vice President, Workforce Development at Delaware Technical Community College. A question and answer session followed with great discussion about growing the program, and encouraging diversity within enrollment.
Governor Carney gave the keynote address, during which he spoke to some areas of key concern, including the State’s budget shortfall; the effects of Delaware’s population, which is both increasing and seeing a significant rise in the retirement-age demographic; and, to further support the morning’s panel, the need for skilled workers in a growing manufacturing industry. The Governor touted Delaware’s size as its greatest asset in overcoming the trials ahead, namely in being able to work together, be it across party lines to push business-friendly legislation, or across the street to partner with a nearby organization, school or business.
Also announced at the event was the Frank Masley Memorial Scholarship Program, to support students pursuing careers in engineering, manufacturing, and entrepreneurship. The scholarship honors the late Frank Masley of Masley Enterprises, and his perseverance, commitment to excellence, and many achievements. Donations to the endowment fund can be made by check made payable to the DTCC Educational Foundation (‘Frank Masley Memorial Scholarship’ in the memo line), P.O. Box 897, Dover, DE 19903; or online at www.dtcc.edu/makeagift (‘Frank Masley Memorial Scholarship’ in Special Donor Instructions box).
The Chamber would like to thank the following organizations for their support: Presenting Sponsor DEMEP; Gold Sponsors Bank of America and Delmarva Power; Silver Sponsors Agilent Technologies, Chemours, Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO), and Kuehne Company; Bronze Sponsors Advanced Power Products & Solutions, Inc., Associates International, AstraZeneca, Delaware City Refining Company, Delaware Electric Coop, Dow, Edgewell Personal Care, Item Mid-Atlantic, LegalShield, Mountaire, NIIMBLE, PPG, and W. L. Gore; and Media Sponsor Delaware Business Times.
James DeChene is the Chamber's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.