Employment Minister, Sir Reg Empey, has begun a week-long visit to New York aimed at highlighting Northern Ireland's multi-skilled workforce.
The Minister, who will be meeting some of the top US business people, said: "Over the recent past, Northern Ireland colleges, universities, businesses and government departments have worked tirelessly to build a cutting edge workforce. Our message for the major US investors remains that Northern Ireland is open for business. We have a world class pool of talented people who are ready, willing and able to take on the challenges that future investment will bring.
"Our task remains to win investment. This will improve our economic competitiveness and create opportunities which will leave a lasting skills legacy for our workforce."
Sir Reg will begin his visit as a specially invited guest at the exclusive Irish America Magazine 'Wall Street 50 - 2010' event. The event honours the top 50 Irish Americans in the financial services industry each year and past speakers have included Senator John McCain, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and An Taoiseach Brian Cowen.
The Minister will then join world leaders at the Clinton Global Initiative Sixth annual meeting. The Clinton Global Initiative's Annual Meeting brings together heads of state, government and business leaders, scholars, and NGO directors. Participants analyse pressing global challenges, discuss the most effective solutions, and build lasting partnerships that enable them to create positive social change.
Following the annual meeting, Sir Reg will have the opportunity to meet billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Sir Reg will meet New York Speaker Christine Quinn and the American Ireland Fund on Friday 24 September to conclude his visit.Speaking prior to his trip, the Minister commented: "This visit affords me unprecedented access to some of the most powerful men and women in the US. I will use the opportunities presented over the next few days to reinforce the message that Northern Ireland has much to offer ahead of the economic conference in Washington next month."
Notes to Editors:
1. The Wall Street50 - 2010 ceremony on Monday 20 September is considered one of the premier business events of the year on the Irish American calendar. The Irish America editor Patricia Harty described this as an invaluable resource for all of Ireland and Irish America.
2. The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) was established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton and convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges.
3. The 2010 Annual Meeting takes place from 20-23 September and will be structured around four new Action Areas: Empowering Girls & Women, Strengthening Market-Based Solutions, Harnessing Human Potential and Enhancing Access to Modern Technology. Each Action Area is a strategic approach that can be used to address many global challenges.
4. There will be a special session on Recovery in Haiti and USA's First Lady Michelle Obama will join President Clinton during the closing plenary session on Thursday, September 23.
5. In addition to the First Lady, prominent participants include Jean-Max Bellerive, prime minister of the Republic of Haiti; Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, president of the Republic of Liberia; Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State; Cherie Blair, patron, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women; Richard Branson, chairman and founder, Virgin Group Limited; Laura Bush, former first lady of the United States; John Chambers, chairman and CEO, Cisco; Paul Farmer, co-founder, Partners In Health; Melinda Gates, co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation;
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