The National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) has honored Senator Coons with this year’s Congressional Partnership Award for his support of community and economic development policies that create jobs and increase the long-term competitiveness of American workers.
The National Association of Development Organizations is an advocate for federal community and economic development programs, as well as policies that help communities improve their local economies and quality of life. NADO’s biennial Congressional Partnership Award recognizes members of Congress who have been committed to promoting economic development programs at the local and regional level. Read more about NADO here.
“I’m honored to receive this award from the National Association of Development Organizations,” Senator Coons said. “To keep America competitive, we have to invest in programs that develop and grow our economy, especially at the local and regional level. During my time as New Castle County Executive, I witnessed how critical local development programs are to American workers. While in the Senate, I have made job creation a top priority, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with NADO to advance our shared goals.”
“Senator Coons is a true leader who has displayed an unwavering commitment to providing new economic opportunities for our nation’s local communities,” said NADO President Peter Gregory.
As the leader of Manufacturing Jobs for America, a campaign in the Senate to promote legislation that helps manufacturers create jobs, Chris has been a champion for economic growth, both in Delaware and at the national level. The initiative includes more than 30 bills, roughly half of which are bi-partisan. The pillars of the initiative include training a 21st century skilled workforce, expanding access to capital, opening up markets abroad, and implementing a national manufacturing strategy. Already, seven provisions have been enacted into law, while five more have been passed out of committees. Click here to learn more about Manufacturing Jobs for America and stay up to date on progress.
Passed by the Senate -- Five Manufacturing Jobs for America bills in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
The Senate passed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) on June 25. The bill includes five innovative skills-training provisions from the Manufacturing Jobs for America campaign to help prepare America’s workforce for the manufacturing jobs of the 21st century. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for approval. The bills included were:
Adult Education and Economic Growth Act (S. 1400), sponsored by Sens. Reed (D-RI) and Brown (D-OH) WIOA includes key portions of S.1400, which seeks to increase investment in adult education, expand access to technology and digital literacy skills for adult learners, require better coordination and integration of adult education with state workforce development systems and postsecondary education, and strengthen English and civics education for new Americans. More:Reed press release
America Works Act (S. 453), sponsored by Sens. Hagan (D-NC), Donnelly (D-IN), Heller (R-NV), Klobuchar (D-MN), and Schumer (D-NY) WIOA includes provisions from S. 453, which seeks to prioritize federal funding for job training programs that offer portable, national, and industry-recognized credentials. This reform would promote job-training programs that match the skills of workers with the needs of local employers, thereby training individuals for the jobs that are available in their communities right now. More:Hagan press release | Donnelly press release
On-the-Job Training Act (S. 1227), sponsored by Sens. Shaheen (D-NH) and Cochran (R-MS) WIOA includes aspects of S. 1227 to significantly expand opportunities for on-the-job-training. WIOA requires state workforce investment boards to disseminate information identifying on-the-job-training opportunities and boosts incentives for employers to participate in on-the-job-training programs. More:Shaheen press release
SECTORS Act (S. 1226), sponsored by Sens. Brown (D-OH), Casey (D-PA), Collins (R-ME), and Durbin (D-IL) WIOA includes provisions from S.1226 to require state and local Workforce Investment Boards to establish sector-based partnerships between employers, educators, and local workforce administrators to train workers for the most in-demand 21st century jobs. More:Brown press release
Community College to Career Fund (S. 1269), sponsored by Sens. Franken (D-MN), Begich (D-AK), Durbin (D-IL), and Schatz (D-HI) WIOA includes aspects of S.1269 to create partnerships between businesses and schools that facilitate effective job training. More:Franken press release
Executive Action -- Presidential actions to revitalize manufacturing The administration announced new federal actions and new commitments from Mayors and other local leaders to invest in manufacturing. New actions announced include:
‘Mayors Maker Challenge’ More than 90 Mayors and local leaders committed to the ‘Mayors Maker Challenge’ to expand access to physical locations and new manufacturing and prototyping equipment in their communities, spur manufacturing entrepreneurship, and inspire young people to pursue careers in manufacturing and engineering.
Streamlining access to $5 billion of advanced equipment in over 700 R&D facilities The Administration will help manufacturing entrepreneurs access $5 billion worth of advanced equipment in federal R&D facilities that they may use to develop new technologies and launch new inventions. For example, entrepreneurs might access NASA’s National Center for Advanced Manufacturing to produce the high-strength, defect-free joints required for cutting-edge aeronautics.
Expanding investment in the Materials Genome Initiative Five federal agencies will invest more than $150 million in ground-breaking research to support the Materials Genome Initiative, upping the Administration’s investment in the manufacturing of advanced materials. The Materials Genome Initiative is a public-private endeavor that aims to cut in half the time it takes to develop novel materials that can fuel advanced manufacturing and bolster the 21st century American economy. More:White House press release
Passed by Committee -- Manufacturing priorities in CJS Appropriations The Senate Appropriations Committee included a number of manufacturing priorities in the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which supports key programs for manufacturers and entrepreneurs. Included in the bill were:
Manufacturing Extension Partnerships Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEPs) are the only public-private partnership dedicated to providing technical support and services to small and medium-sized manufacturers. The Appropriations Committee recognized the importance of MEPs by raising funding to $141 million, a $13 million increase. According to data from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, every dollar invested in MEP facilitates $19 in new sales growth and $21 in new client investment.
National Manufacturing Strategy The bill directs the Office of Science & Technology Policy to report to Congress with a comprehensive plan to develop a national manufacturing strategy. This language compliments the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act, which is part of Manufacturing Jobs for America and was introduced by Sens. Coons (D-DE) and Kirk (R-IL).
Bio-Manufacturing The bill includes language recognizing the importance of U.S. bio-manufacturing and directing the National Science Foundation (NSF) to increase support for it in its advanced manufacturing portfolio by dedicating at least $15 million to new bio-manufacturing initiatives.
Foreign Commercial Service The Department of Commerce announced the expansion of the Foreign Commercial Service, including four new offices in Angola, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Mozambique and four office expansions in Kenya, Ghana, Morocco, and Libya. The expansion will create nearly 70 new positions and post 17 additional officers globally to help U.S. manufacturers get started in exporting or increase sales to new global markets.
Senator Coons, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a daily Amtrak rider, touted a new report released this week on the economic impacts of rail service in the Northeast Corridor (NEC). The report, produced by the Northeast Corridor Infrastructure and Operations Advisory Commission, describes the NEC as “an engine of economic activity” for the region and details the immense costs associated with service disruptions along the corridor.
“The Northeast Corridor rail network is a vital economic artery for Delaware and the entire region,” Chris said. “While ridership has steadily increased, critical infrastructure investments needed to sustain Amtrak’s growth have been repeatedly deferred. This report demonstrates just what we stand to lose if we fail to invest in repairing and modernizing our infrastructure. Our economy, our communities, and millions of jobs depend on safe and efficient rail service along the Northeast Corridor. We’ve got to make strong, sustained investments now to ensure this vital service will be there for generations to come.”
The 457-mile NEC is one of the busiest and most complex rail corridors in the world, carrying 750,000 daily commuter rail and intercity passengers and 350,000 car-loads of freight each year. Workers traveling the NEC contribute $50 billion annually to the American economy. According to the report, the unexpected loss of the NEC, even for a single day, would cost up to $100 million per day as a result of higher congestion on roadways and lost productivity.
Other key findings from the report:
Seven million jobs are located within five miles of a NEC rail station, almost a third of all jobs in the NEC Region.
More than half of flight delays nationwide originate at New York and Philadelphia area airports. Amtrak relieves this pressure by carrying more intercity passengers for trips within the NEC Region than all airlines combined.
The NEC connects the national freight rail network to east coast ports, linking manufacturing plants in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, and North Dakota to international customers.
Automobile manufacturers, including Ford, Toyota, and Mitsubishi, use the NEC to bring their products to market. For one major automobile manufacturer, approximately 60 percent of its total exports use the NEC to reach ports in Maryland and New Jersey.
Within one mile of NEC stations, 59 percent of all jobs are in knowledge industries – a far higher rate than the national average of 42 percent.
263 colleges and universities are located within five miles of NEC stations, totaling 435,000 students. The region is also home to a concentration of some of the nation's top hospitals, medical research institutions, and cultural attractions.
Senator Coons, along with Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and John Thune (R-S.D.), met with chief executive officers and senior executives from the nation’s leading technology, venture capital, and e-commerce, companies Tuesday to discuss key issues affecting American innovation. Executives from Bloom Energy, CISCO, Oracle, and other leading technology firms shared their perspectives on proposed trade agreements, corporate tax reform, intellectual property protection, and other policy priorities.
“America is the world’s leading source of cutting-edge technology,” Senator Coons said. “The technology companies represented today employ nearly a million Americans and are key drivers of our innovation economy. Congress can and should support American innovators by working together to open up markets abroad, protect intellectual property, and build a competitive tax code that incentivizes innovation. I am grateful to all the industry leaders who participated in today’s conversation and look forward to continuing to work with them to promote our global competitiveness.”
Senator Coons has established himself as a leader on innovation policy by introducing a series of bills that support research and development, and help innovative small businesses grow to create jobs. He introduced the Innovators Job Creation Act with Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) earlier this year and the Startup Innovation Credit Act with Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) last January to help startups and other small companies take advantage of valuable R&D tax credits.
He also teamed up with Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) this year to introduce legislation that would modernize the United States’ national lab system to make the innovation pipeline more efficient and give labs new flexibility to partner with the private sector.
Senator Coons was recognized as a 2014 TechVoice Champion earlier this year by CompTIA and TECNA, two technology policy groups representing thousands of U.S. technology firms, for his work in support of innovation and America’s small and medium-sized technology firms.
Senator Coons joined leaders from the University of Delaware Thursday to announce new legislation designed to boost STEM education and help universities prepare students for careers in innovation and advanced manufacturing. The Manufacturing Universities Act of 2014 would award competitive grants to 25 designated ‘manufacturing universities,’ to better align educational offerings with the needs of modern manufacturers.
“The entire lifecycle of innovation, skills, and creativity in manufacturing has to include universities,” Senator Coons said. “Universities have a central role to play in continuing the cycle of innovation that is essential if American manufacturing is to continue its current recovery. Over the last three years, our economy has regained 600,000 manufacturing jobs, but hundreds of thousands more remain unfilled because there aren’t enough appropriately skilled and trained process engineers, mechanical engineers, and chemical engineers to keep that innovation going.”
Grants of $5 million per year, for a four-year period, will help universities revamp their engineering programs to emphasize manufacturing skills, incentivize partnerships with local manufacturers, increase internship and cooperative education opportunities for students, and help more recent graduates launch new manufacturing businesses.
“We want more students graduating with the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century manufacturing environment, and we want more of our universities orienting themselves toward this field where we can win, our communities can win, and our country can win.”
Following the announcement Senator Coons visited with biochemistry students and faculty at UD’s Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory (ISE Lab) to demonstrate a chemical reaction and discuss the importance of STEM education.
The smartest investment Congress can make is in American workers — whether they currently have a job or not.
Although we’ve come a long way since the depths of the Great Recession, there’s still more we can and must do to help our small businesses grow and create jobs. Americans continue to face a tough job market and too many of our neighbors have been out of work for a long time.
At a minimum, we must do more to help unemployed Americans stay afloat as they look for work. That’s why this week, like I did several times last month, I voted to extend emergency unemployment insurance benefits for the 1.7 million Americans and 4,300 Delawareans who have been jobless for more than 26 weeks – and whose benefits expired at the end of December. They’re folks who were laid off through no fault of their own because of the Great Recession. They’ve worked for much of their lives and paid into the system, and they deserve our support as they work to get back on their feet.
As I argued on the floor, unemployment insurance is a critical lifeline to Americans looking for work – keeping families from falling into poverty and providing needed support to our economy at the same time.
Renewing emergency unemployment insurance, though, should only be the start of our work. If we want to grow our economy and our middle class, Washington needs to renew its focus on helping our manufacturers grow and create jobs.
We need to make sure that at every level, we’re training Americans for the needs of the modern economy. Investing in American workers is how we’ll be able to rebuild our middle class and ensure that our nation can compete over the long-term. By modernizing our education system and building partnerships between our schools and our businesses, we can ensure that our workers have the skills employers need today and tomorrow.
I’m doing everything I can to help businesses create jobs in Delaware, but I can’t do it without you. We’re at our best when we remember that we’re all in this together – when we help lift each other up when one of us has fallen. Thank you for joining me in this critical fight.
Declaring his belief that America needs "a surge in the war on poverty," Senator Coons appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Friday to talk about the fight over unemployment insurance and the future of the American economy.
The White House on Thursday launched the first Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), a national assessment of the nation’s energy infrastructure that builds upon legislation co-sponsored by Senator Coons last year.
The QER, which is part of a broader national climate action plan announced by the President last summer, will help to coordinate energy policy around national priorities such as greater energy and climate security. The initiative builds upon goals laid out in the Quadrennial Energy Review Act, legislation co-sponsored by Senator Coons to authorize a comprehensive review of current domestic capabilities and future energy needs. The proposal is modeled after the highly-regarded Quadrennial Defense Review, a legislatively-mandated review of defense strategy and priorities.
"A strategic blueprint of America’s energy priorities is a critical resource for innovators working to support our clean energy economy,” Chris said. “The Quadrennial Energy Review is a great planning tool to identify a baseline assessment of our technological, economic, and national security capabilities. It will then put our federal resources to work to help us better coordinate with the private sector and promote energy innovation. This is a critical component of an all-of-the-above energy policy, and I am pleased that the President is putting it into action today.”
The first review is expected by January 2015, and will focus on the development of a national strategy for securing the infrastructure needed to transport, transmit, and distribute energy. More than a dozen federal agencies will participate in the review, along with members of the private sector, state and local governments, labor organizations, and the academic community.
Senator Coons appeared on MSNBC on Tuesday to discuss the Senate’s vote to advance legislation extending federal unemployment insurance benefits for three months. Chris is a cosponsor of both the three-month extension advanced on Tuesday and a version of the legislation that would extend funding for a full year. Thirty-six hundred Delawareans lost their federal unemployment benefits on December 28th and another 4,800 are expected to lose them over the next six months if Congress does not pass an extension of the program.
(Above) Senator Coons joins National Wildlife Refuge System Chief Jim Kurth at a Congressional briefing on the findings of a new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study.
Every year, millions of bird watchers, hikers, hunters, fishermen, and outdoor enthusiasts visit the National Wildlife Refuge System, our nation’s extensive network of preserved lands and waters dedicated to conserving wildlife. President Theodore Roosevelt created the first wildlife refuge in Florida in 1903 and since then, the system has grown to a network of over 560 refuges encompassing more than 150 million acres. In Delaware alone, every year more than 200,000 people visit Prime Hook and Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuges, which represent some of the best examples of pristine tidal saltmarsh and wetlands on the East Coast.
This week, Senator Coons joined National Wildlife Refuge System Chief Jim Kurth at a Congressional briefing to share the findings of a new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study of the economic benefits of the refuge system. The report entitled, “Banking on Nature” quantifies the revenue generated for local and regional economies by refuges across the country, including Delaware’s very own Bombay Hook and Prime Hook. From 2006-2011, over 46 million people visited the National Wildlife Refuge System generating a total of $2.4 billion in economic output. Considering that every $1 of investment in the refuge system yields around $5 for the economy, national wildlife refuges are among our most productive national investments.
Wildlife refuges fuel the economic growth of surrounding communities by attracting visitors that support local economies when they pay for travel arrangements and buy food, supplies, accommodations, and other products and services. Refuges also give visitors and nearby residents access to the sights of waterfowl migration and gorgeous views of the landscape, which are free for all to enjoy. Additional ecosystem services provided by our coastal refuges include water filtration, flood mitigation, and healthy fish populations, solidifying their place as valuable natural assets.
In October, Chris led a resolution with Senators Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) recognizing the importance of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The bi-partisan resolution, S. Res. 296, to designate the week of October 13th, 2013 as National Wildlife Refuge Week was adopted November 14 by unanimous consent. Chris led similar resolutions designating National Wildlife Refuge Week in 2011 and 2012.