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Editors Notebook: Year Up graduation spreads the joy at Wilmington University


Great events ““ like books ““ often deserve an epilogue.

The cover story of our last issue brought you the final chapter of our three-part series about Cohort 5 of Year Up Wilmington, a program that helped 31 young people change their lives over the course of a year.

I wrote the story, headlined it “Why Programs Like Year Up Matter,” and then moved on to the next story. Or so I thought.

But then I went to the graduation ceremony at Wilmington University a few weeks ago and experienced something completely unexpected. I’ve thought a lot about the best word to describe it and I’ve come up with “joyful.”

Rep. Lisa Blunt-Rochester speaking at the Year Up Graduation | Photo c/o Year Up

U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester took the congregation to church during her keynote, talking about subjects people around me said she rarely shares in public. I almost felt sorry for student keynote speaker Ronald Shackelford Jr., who had to follow the congresswoman, but he rose to the occasion.

I spent time in early adulthood at evangelical churches in Charlotte and Texas and those times came flooding back during the graduation. Cries of “Praise Jesus,” “That’s my son/daughter,” and just screams of ““ yes, joy ““ kept popping up behind me, often startling me with their energy and volume.

For some of the parents I spoke to after the event, it was a case of realizing dreams for their children that they questioned would ever happen. For others, it was knowing their children can make a better life for themselves and their families, and for others it was just seeing that their children had learned accountability and goal-setting.

The graduation of Cohort 5 of Year Up Wilmington. | Photo c/o Year Up

You’ll get that same sense of accomplishment, mission, and hope if you read the column by Desa Burtonfrom Zip Code Wilmington across the page. Different program. Somewhat different target audience. But another way that Delaware business leaders are solving their own problem ““ with the help of state officials ““ of finding talented new employees who might have been overlooked.


Gov. John Carney’s annual State of the State message hit the usual highlights of accomplishments from the past year and set goals for 2020. He struck all the right tones, and he had spent time in the week leading up to the speech announcing new programs that will help Delawareans.

But we were disappointed that he didn’t specifically mention Ready in Six, the program to try to reduce the time it takes to get approvals for companies that want to build or expand. There are a number of business organizations supporting the initiative that addresses the biggest concerns that economic development organizations are hearing and it would have been nice to hear the governor publicly reinforce the importance of this project.

I’m sure he’s doing that with his cabinet and with the people who work in state government, but as “the state’s No. 1 cheerleader” as he likes to describe himself, it is incumbent on him to keep this on the front burner if for no other reasons than to keep the project moving and reinforce to out-of-state prospects that change is coming.


There has been a lot of discussion about the loss of journalist jobs in the Delaware market, but I’m happy to report that thanks to support from Group Publisher Rob Martinelli, I have been able to add a new reporter.

Katie Tabeling joined us Friday as a reporter and to shore up our digital content (i.e., help us break even more news online in advance of the paper’s publication).

Katie comes to us from The Cecil Whig and will be focusing a lot of her efforts on what the General Assembly is doing for and to Delaware businesses and on Kent and Sussex County businesses.

We’re glad to have Katie aboard.


As we enter February, we’re taking nominations for our Family Owned Business Awards (FOBA) and the next iteration of our Eight Over 80 feature that received a lot of attention last fall.

This is our sixth year of presenting the FOBAs and it’s a program that’s near and dear to Group Publisher Rob Martinelli’s heart, since Today Media is itself a family-owned business.

As in past years, we’ll be announcing finalists in four categories based on how many employees the companies have. But we’ll also be presenting awards for Innovation, Community Service, and Legacy (for a company with more than 50 years of service to the community).

Finalists from past years can apply again. Past winners can apply for the Innovation and Community Service awards or for the general awards if they can demonstrate growth in employee size.

If you are not a family-owned, multi-generational business based in Delaware but know one that is, please go here or contact Meaghan Daly and nominate them. If you are, you can Apply Here.

As for the Eight Over 80, we received lots of nominations last fall and will be including some of the finalists in this year’s judging. But I’d like to see more nominations, particularly from downstate. If you know someone who has continued to contribute to the Delaware community well past retirement age, you can nominate them (or yourself) here.

Peter Osborne
DBT Editor
[email protected]


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