Investing in America’s 21st century workforce
American ingenuity has always been at the core of our economic success. The challenges of the global economy may be new, but the solution is the same – supporting and sustaining American innovators. If we want to stay competitive, we have to invest in job training programs and policies that create cutting-edge, high-quality jobs right here at home.
America’s researchers, business leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs are already working to help create jobs and ensure American competitiveness in the global economy. We just have to support and sustain their hard work.
Senator Coons’ job priorities include:
- Investing in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. To prepare our workforce for the skilled jobs of the 21st century, it is critical that we invest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. Growth in STEM jobs has been three times greater than that of non-STEM jobs over the last decade and is projected to grow by 17 percent this decade. Congress must be proactive in ensuring that our future innovators and entrepreneurs have the skills necessary to fill these positions.
- Repairing and modernizing our public infrastructure. The strength and quality of our transportation, maritime, energy, water, and telecommunications infrastructure are vital to the health of our economy. Our deteriorating transportation networks alone are projected to cost $336 billion in lost growth over the next five years. Improving our infrastructure accomplishes several critical goals: it prevents further economic losses, provides high-quality construction and engineering jobs, and makes our businesses more competitive by providing faster, safer, and more reliable means to transport goods and people. Senator Coons has also cosponsored the BUILD Act, which would create a national infrastructure bank to bring more private investment into infrastructure projects. This bill would help struggling state and local governments to find financing to repair their roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, railways, energy networks, water and sewer systems. The Senator also fought for a long-term reauthorization of the transportation bill, and was proud to support passage of the House-Senate conference bill, which will save and create around 3 million jobs.
- Promoting innovation by investing in research and development. Research and development (R&D) is the cornerstone of any competitive company, institution, or country. Yet, while R&D is the driver of our long-term productivity and competitiveness, R&D investments in other countries has rapidly outpaced ours - China has increased R&D investment at a rate seven times that of the United States. We have to invest in grants for R&D, make the R&D tax credit permanent, and accelerate the commercialization of new research. Senator Coons’ first bill was the Job Creation through Innovation Act which made expanded and made permanent the R&D credit. He later introduced this provision in a bi-partisan bill with Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Finally, Senator Coons introduced the bi-partisan Startup Innovation Credit with Senators Enzi (R-Wyo.), Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Rubio (R-Fla.). This credit would give startups the ability to access the R&D credit.
- Supporting entrepreneurship. Over the last three decades, companies less than five years old have created almost all of the net new jobs in America at a rate of approximately 3 million a year. These small and startup businesses are driving our nation’s economic recovery and creating jobs by taking risks to turn their ideas into marketable products. Senator Coons teamed up with Senators Moran (R-Kan.), Warner (D-Va.), and Rubio (R-Fla.), to introduce the Startup 2.0 Act, a bill that promotes entrepreneurship through reforms to immigration, the tax code, and regulation.
- Expanding trade opportunities and protecting innovation. From 2010 to 2011, Delaware increased its exports by 11 percent. We must do more to open new markets and protect the innovations created by our businesses here in the United States. As a part of the AGREE Act, Senator Coons proposed clarifying the Trade Secrets Act, making it clear that it is not a crime for federal officials, in the performance of their duties, to share information about suspected infringing products with the right holder of a trademarked good. This provision has since been enacted. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Coons is committed to expanding and opening new export markets across the globe for Delaware businesses. The Senator is actively working in coordination with U.S. trade officials to address market barriers, including antidumping duties, tariffs, and non-scientific-based health bans that affect Delaware’s companies.
- Incentivizing the growth of America’s advanced manufacturing sector. Congress should pursue policies that directly incentivize the growth of high-tech and clean energy manufacturing here in America. The average manufacturing worker in our country earns roughly 17 percent more in total compensation than workers in other sectors. Senator Coons is an original cosponsor of the Bring Jobs Home Act, which seeks to offer tax credits for up to 20% of insourcing expenses incurred for eliminating a business located outside the United States and relocating it within the United States. At the same time, this bill would deny a tax deduction for outsourcing expenses incurred in relocating a U.S. business outside the United States.
- Welcoming immigrants into our economy. America’s immigration system is broken. Too many employers game the system by hiring undocumented workers and there are 11 million people living in the shadows. Neither practice is good for our economy. Senator Coons was proud to join together with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to pass fair, effective, and common sense immigration reform that strengthens our economy and the middle class. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the compressive immigration reform bill passed by the Senate would reduce the federal deficit by $150 billion in the first decade and $700 billion in the second.
- Supporting the Port of Wilmington. Senator Coons has been a leading advocate for deepening of the Delaware River from 40 feet to 45 feet in order to accommodate larger cargo vessels coming to the Ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia as a result of the expansion of the Panama Canal. This project is expected to bring an additional 75,000 direct and indirect jobs throughout the Delaware Valley, as well as an increase of 2.5 million tons of cargo per year to the area’s ports. The Port of Wilmington is critical to Delaware’s economy and is North America's number one seaport for imports of fresh fruit, bananas, and juice concentrate.