Brady tells commissioners to help commerce, urges business role in education

January 30, 1998|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,SUN STAFF

The County Commissioners should be friendly to commerce, and the business community should become more involved in government and public education.

That was the message from James T. Brady, Maryland's secretary of business and economic development, speaking to the Economic Development Commission and county officials yesterday.

Much of Brady's off-the cuff, 49-minute speech was aimed at the County Commissioners and their chief aides in the departments of planning and public works.

The county has made "tremendous strides in economic development in recent times," but Carroll and the state need to do more to ensure a business-friendly presence, Brady said.

What matters most when dealing with business, he said, is not the regulations, but the attitude of government officials who enforce them.

"They should not be dealt with in a 'gotcha!' kind of manner," but with "an attitude of assistance" -- finding ways to help businesses comply the regulations, he said.

Accordingly, Maryland has begun "a sophisticated, state-of-the art permitting process" that will allow businesses to find out "on a moment's notice" what the state requires of them, Brady said.

"The challenge is to link this to all the county systems as well," he said. "I urge all of you not only to take the permitting challenge as very real, but to work with us to make a one-stop-shop system work throughout the state."

Business leaders must also get more involved, especially in public education, to create a "world-class work force in Maryland," he said.

The first question employers ask when looking to Maryland as a possible location is: "Can we find people with appropriate skills to allow us to grow in the 21st century?" he said.

Manufacturers are "among the loudest in telling us about the need to find people with the skills to do the job," he said.

"Business needs to be more involved in the educational process," he said. "Business input is required if we are to solve a work-force problem that is growing every day."

Public education "is the only thing that changes more slowly than government, but education must change," Brady said. Students need to have a technical education as well as a liberal arts education, he said.

Pub Date: 1/30/98

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