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Plugging Friday’s ‘Jobs Summit,’ U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan Talks ‘Made in N.C.,’ Mismatching Skill Sets and More

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan stands next to the Doc Watson statue this spring during her N.C. Back to Work Jobs Tour. Photo by Jesse Wood

Story by Jesse Wood

July 18, 2012. U.S. Senator Kay Hagan hosts a “Jobs Summit” on Friday, July 20, at 10:30 a.m. in Raleigh. 

This event comes after months of traveling across the state for her “North Carolina Back to Work Jobs Tour,” which included a stop in downtown Boone to visit the Mast General Store, Appalachian Antiques and Doe Ridge Pottery, among other establishments.

The summit features top leaders in business, economic development and education to discuss current and future job creation efforts. (See speakers at end of article.)

“All of these people understand North Carolina and understand the job issues in our state at this moment,” said Hagan on Wednesday morning, minutes after she held her weekly “Carolina Coffees” gathering in Washington D.C., which features doughnuts from Krispy Krème, a Winston-Salem business.

She said that along her stops on the tour one thing she heard time and time again was a “mismatch of skill sets,” referring to jobs that are available and skills of those seeking work.  

She said that she was “disappointed” about her Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act not passing last week. The bill, she said, would have allowed 10 percent tax credits for small businesses hiring more people and for paying higher salaries and bonuses.

U.S. Sen. Hagan discusses small business issues with Bob Meier, owner of Doe Ridge Pottery. Photo by Jesse Wood

“Those incentives are necessary,” Hagan said, adding that the Small Business Common Application Act was apart of the unpassed bill. This act, she said, would make federal applications for small business grants universal and, in turn, more efficient with less paperwork.

Hagan also mentioned an “in-sourcing bill” was in the works. This comes at a time when even the U.S. Olympic basketball team is wearing “Made in China” uniforms in London.

“We need to be doing everything we can to bring jobs back to the U.S. 2.4 million jobs have been shipped over seas. It’s really time now to take steps to bring jobs back to North Carolina,” Hagan said.

The in-sourcing bill, Hagan added, would end deductions for companies shipping jobs overseas and would give a 25 percent tax credit for companies that move back to the U.S.

This model works, she said, as major manufacturers have already begun bringing jobs back home, such as Ford, Caterpillar, U.S. Airways and the North Carolina-residing Lincolnton Furniture.

Aside from in-sourcing and mismatched skill sets, Hagan was asked what else could ease the job situation, and subsequently the economy, and she replied that the  “upcoming fiscal cliff,” referring to the U.S. deficit, needs to be addressed and more bipartisanship needs to happen for headway to be made.

“That’s one of the things that gets so frustrating,” Hagan said. “I’m a strong believer of working across the aisle.”

Who’s Attending the Job Summit?

WHO: U.S. Senator Kay Hagan

Sepi Asefnia, Owner, SEPI Engineering

Keith Crisco, North Carolina Secretary of Commerce

Lynn Douthett, District Director, United States Small Business Administration

Billy Ray Hall, President, North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center

Sam Houston, President and CEO, North Carolina STEM Education Center

Scott Ralls, President, North Carolina Community College System

Bonnie Renfro, President, Randolph County Economic Development Corporation

Roger Shackleford, Assistant Secretary for Workforce Solutions, North Carolina

WHAT: A discussion on workforce and economic development with top North Carolina business, economic development and education leaders

WHEN: Friday, July 20 at 10:30 a.m.; Hagan will host a press avail following the event.

WHERE: North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center, 4021 Carya Drive, Raleigh, NC 28610

View past article on Hagan’s visit to Boone and see photo gallery: