Del. Blue-Collar Task Force Wraps up Work - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Blue-Collar Task Force Wraps up Work

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Delaware's Blue-Collar Task Force wrapped up five months of work Monday. The group was looking at how to bring in and keep more jobs in The First State.

Members finalized the draft of their report for lawmakers at a meeting Monday morning.

The legislature heads back to into session for 2014 starting Tuesday. Next week the task force will formally make a whole host of recommendations for job creation and retention.

Judy Diogo, executive director of the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce, says the recommendations from the task force provide a skeleton for lawmakers to flesh out.

"This is a really good jumping off point. It is my hope that we will see a lot of new and good legislation come out of this report."

Task force co-chair Sen. Robert Marshall, D-Wilmington North, says those recommendations suggest pushing public works projects, providing opportunities for small businesses and changing the education system.

"So students in high school can find their ways into employment opportunities without having to push them to believe they have to go to college," he said.

And for Kent and Sussex Counties there's one recommendation that's specifically important.

"We recommended a natural gas pipeline be extended from New Castle County down to Kent and Sussex Counties," said Marshall. "That could be significant in growing employment opportunities and companies along that new pipeline."

Sen. Colin Bonini, R-Dover South, says the recommendations are good, but lawmakers have to be careful what they do with them.

"This is a very broad document. So, the devil is always going to be in the details. I'm not thrilled with massively expanding state spending, which, I think, some of the people in the room are."

Marshall says the report doesn't provide direction on what to do about money. So, it will be up to the governor and legislature to decide what spending is warranted.

Delaware's most recent data, from November, has the state's unemployment rate at 5.9 percent. It is slightly higher in both Kent and Sussex Counties.

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