Beebe cites 'urgent' need for jobs | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Beebe cites 'urgent' need for jobs

Posted By on Tue, Aug 8, 2006 at 12:31 PM

Citing recent employment and economic statistics, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Beebe today said in a press release that Arkansas urgently needs a plan to create more jobs.

To expand the state's base of high-tech jobs, gubernatorial nominee Mike Beebe would use part of the General Improvement Fund for capital investment in higher education, including facilities like the nanotechnology research center at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville campus and the Cyber College at the Little Rock campus. ...

"We need more, better-paying jobs in Arkansas.  We can't afford to lose the jobs we have today," Beebe said.  "We must hold on to and build on the state's manufacturing base. That's why I proposed the governor's Quick Close Action Fund so our state could better negotiate with major industry to bring their projects on-line and keep them here." ...

In February, Beebe proposed the governor's Quick Action Closing Fund, $40-50 million dollars of money in the General Improvement Fund to allow the state to rapidly respond to unforeseen economic development opportunities or obstacles.  The funds would give the state the ability to negotiate for workforce training, capital investments and other projects to help collaborate with corporations and manufacturers interested in locating or relocating a facility in Arkansas or avoid a relocation of an existing industry to another state or country.

Full press release after the jump.

BEEBE SAYS EVIDENCE MAKES CLEAR NEED FOR JOBS PLAN

Disturbing trends in the latest economic news provide additional evidence of the urgent need for a jobs plan that addresses both high-tech industry development and manufacturing jobs in Arkansas.  Gubernatorial nominee Mike Beebe's economic development plan proposes solutions for both.

"This is not a time to be choosy.  Arkansas must - MUST - attract the high-paying jobs of the 21st Century AND keep the existing jobs we have today," Beebe said.  "As governor, I'll invest in the jobs of the 21st Century and in the research and development we need to bring them to Arkansas, programs like what's going on at the University of Arkansas with nanotechnology.  And no one will fight harder than I will to stop the trend of jobs leaving this state and this country."

National unemployment reached 4.8 percent in July, according to the report by the federal Department of Labor.  Arkansas unemployment rate has exceeded the national average since March.  According to comments by Jeff Collins, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, reported in Friday's Fort Smith Times Record, Arkansas is losing its manufacturing base and currently lacks the infrastructure to attract more knowledge-based jobs.

To expand the state's base of high-tech jobs, gubernatorial nominee Mike Beebe would use part of the General Improvement Fund for capital investment in higher education, including facilities like the nanotechnology research center at the University of Arkansas Fayetteville campus and the Cyber College at the Little Rock campus.

Also on Friday, the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the Department of Higher Education's budget request for the biennium, including $32 million and $21 million for those programs, respectively.

"Our economic future is directly tied to the quality of our schools today - from pre-k all the way to college.  We have to teach workforce skills and ensure that we have Arkansans ready to fill the jobs of the 21st Century, right here in Arkansas," Beebe said.

Last week, Beebe announced his plan for a seamless, integrated education system to tie the state's education system with long-term economic planning.

"We need more, better-paying jobs in Arkansas.  We can't afford to lose the jobs we have today," Beebe said.  "We must hold on to and build on the state's manufacturing base. That's why I proposed the governor's Quick Close Action Fund so our state could better negotiate with major industry to bring their projects on-line and keep them here."

Arkansas lost 4,800 manufacturing jobs from May 2005 to May this year, according to Friday's news report.

In February, Beebe proposed the governor's Quick Action Closing Fund, $40-50 million dollars of money in the General Improvement Fund to allow the state to rapidly respond to unforeseen economic development opportunities or obstacles.  The funds would give the state the ability to negotiate for workforce training, capital investments and other projects to help collaborate with corporations and manufacturers interested in locating or relocating a facility in Arkansas or avoid a relocation of an existing industry to another state or country.

July state unemployment figures are due to be reported in the middle of the month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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