Gov. Roy Cooper held a business roundtable at UNC Charlotte on Thursday afternoon, listening to thoughts on the local business environment from companies that have relocated to Charlotte or expanded their presence in the area.
Cooper heard from multiple business executives, representing companies like Honeywell, AvidXchange, Allstate, and Lending Tree at the event. Mayor Vi Lyles and UNC Chancellor Philip DuBois also attended.
Executives explained their recruitment strategies for filling open positions, as well as the challenges they face retaining high-skilled workers. Cooper also heard from representatives for internship and work study programs at UNC Charlotte, Central Piedmont Community College, and Johnson C. Smith University about how those programs funnel students into skilled jobs.
After the event, Cooper summarized what he believed business leaders needed to succeed in the area.
"Skilled, educated talent. That’s their No. 1 priority," Cooper said. "That should send a signal to state government that investment in education from cradle to career is the most critical thing that we can be doing."
Cooper also said he didn’t hear business leaders ask for a lower corporate tax rate. Republican state lawmakers included in their 2019 budget a cut to the state’s corporate tax that amounts to a 33% reduction by 2021. GOP lawmakers and the governor have been in standoff over that budget since last June.