Governor Pat McCrory: Connecting Education to Commerce
January 7, 2014 - 12:41pm — ald49
Governor Pat McCrory shared some of his thoughts about education and commerce on November 1 at a conference in Cary that was organized by the Research Convergence Accelerator in consultation with the National Academy of Engineering. McCrory also fielded questions from some of the 145 attendees from industry, academia, and government who had gathered to discuss ways to work together to promote advanced manufacturing in North Carolina.
McCrory said one of his goals is to connect education with commerce. “I see job openings where unemployment is 15% and they can’t find the person they need,” he said. “We’ve got to find more people in their 20s who are interested in going into technical fields.”
In response to a question, McCrory advised universities to do more with less. “Universities need to be more mobile and adjust the curriculum based on market forces,” he said.
He also suggested more of a team-based approach to government research grants, with the goal of generating more patents.
“Statistically, we’re getting a lot of research grant money, but we’re not converting enough of that into patents, which would convert into entrepreneurships and start-ups,” he said. He suggested bringing together experts from engineering and the life sciences on grant-funded projects, not just within universities, but between universities, such as North Carolina State’s engineering school and UNC’s science departments.
McCrory said generating more patents would help bring more venture capital back to North Carolina, as would a change in the tax code. He’d like to reduce taxes on venture capitalists in the first and second round of funding, because those are more risky than the third and fourth rounds.
He also touted North Carolina’s new income tax structure, which he sees as a way of keeping businesses and wealthy individuals in the state. “We had the highest income tax in the southeast,” he said. “That’ll be reduced by two points in two years, which will put us lower than South Carolina.”
Another questioner asked about McCrory’s plans for restructuring the Department of Commerce. McCrory said there were too many different organizations dealing with business recruitment, leading to confusion. “What we’re trying to do is put everything under one umbrella,” he said. “We want to have an overall strategy for North Carolina commerce, and to have a CEO speaking with one voice. Our goal is to be more nimble and give quick answers.”
Before moving on to his next engagement, McCrory said, “This is a great group, having universities and industry working together. I want to thank you for investing in North Carolina.”