The First Legislative District Economic Development Task Force (“Task Force”) will meet on February 23, 2017, to discuss unmanned aviation technology and the potential impact it could have on the Southern New Jersey region. The Task Force, established by the New Jersey Senate in 2014 and reauthorized in 2016, was charged with “identifying methods, policies, regulations, incentives, and tools to foster economic activity and create jobs in Atlantic, Cape May, and Cumberland counties.” To accomplish its work, the 11-member Task Force is composed of a broad cross-section of thought leaders from the political, educational, and economic spheres.
Over the last three years, the Task Force has met multiple times and has studied several issues of importance to the region. It has also studied aquaculture development and educational initiatives to develop a more skillful workforce. Throughout their deliberations, the members of the Task Force have identified actions that will grow the workforce and position the region to attract and support innovation.
As the home of the William J. Hughes Technical Center and Stockton University, Southern New Jersey is known for aviation innovation. The testimony received by the Task Force on February 23rd will highlight the potential assets of the region. This potential paired with New Jersey-based economic incentives could position New Jersey to serve as a hub for the unmanned aviation industry.
All interested parties should take the opportunity to attend the meeting and submit relevant testimony to the Task Force. Once the Task Force concludes its meetings, the members will prepare a report containing their findings and recommendations. This comprehensive document will likely contain steps that can be taken at the state, county, and local levels to support the economic development of the region.