North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory toured two major industry facilities in Wilmington Thursday, July 17: Screen Gems Studios and Corning Incorporated.
McCrory’s visit to the Wilmington Corning plant coincided with the regional meeting of the North Carolina Business Committee for Education, which is a nonprofit nonpartisan organization within the governor’s office that is comprised of the state’s corporate leaders.
With the meeting taking place at Corning, a fiber optics, glass and ceramics corporation, the focus of the education discussion was on teaching science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.
McCrory said his vision for changing teacher pay in the state includes offering different salaries to teachers in the subject areas with the highest financial returns.
“There is no doubt that the state that has the labor and talent for STEM is going to be the one that has the most sustainable economy in the future,” he said. “In our middle schools and high schools we have to convince the guidance counselors to say there are several different career paths for students to be successful. We are now emphasizing two different paths in high school. … One is the technical career path and the other is the four-year college career path.”
McCrory said North Carolina has reduced its unemployment rate, now outside the top 35 states in the country for unemployment rates. He said it could be related to his decision not to expand unemployment benefits.
“I don’t know if there is a direct correlation to that but I do know that is the one thing that is different than other states” McCrory said. “So I think in the long run that was the best decision to make.”
McCrory said his private tour of Screen Gems proved informational as the North Carolina General Assembly deliberates about what kind of film incentive package the state will have, if any.
“I got to see the studio here firsthand and we had a wonderful conversation,” McCrory said during his Corning visit. “My position on the incentives remains, I had it in my budget … my goal is to hopefully get it in the final budget and I have confidence we will have some sort of compromise. My goal is to keep the industry strong in North Carolina.”