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Tech Talkin’ Govs 2018, part 2: AL, CO, GA, IN, KS, NE, SD, WA focus on education, workforce

January 18, 2018

SSTI’s Tech Talkin’ Govs feature returns as governors across the country roll out their state of the state addresses. We review each speech for comments relevant to the innovation economy, and bring you their words directly from their addresses. In this second installment, we present excerpts from governors in Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Washington.

Workforce development and/or apprenticeship programs receive attention in all of the below excerpts. The Alabama governor said she is seeking an additional $50 million for higher education, while the Georgia governor talked about reorganizing their technical college system. In Indiana the governor is challenging the state economic development department to create thousands of new jobs and said in the first quarter the state will begin to make strategic investments to build and support more innovation and entrepreneurship through the already established $250 million Next Level Indiana Trust Fund.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey gave her first state of the state after being sworn in as governor in April following the resignation of the former governor amid an ethics investigation.

“I instituted Strong Start, Strong Finish, because we must prepare our people for the jobs of today and for the jobs of tomorrow. By 2020, 62 percent of all jobs available in Alabama will require some form of postsecondary education. However, today, only 37 percent of our workforce has achieved such an education. We must ensure that our students graduate high school and then earn a postsecondary certificate or degree.”

“Though we are almost two decades into the 21st Century, many of our rural communities do not have adequate access to broadband. … I strongly support legislation to encourage new broadband investments, and I ask the Legislature to join me in assessing our state's broadband needs, to ensure resources are placed where they are most needed.”

“I am very proud that the education budget I am submitting to the Legislature is the largest investment in education in a decade. … and provides an additional $50 million dollars for higher education. … I am also proposing funding for our Pre-through-3 initiative, the Jobs for Alabama's Graduates Program, and for education scholarships for math and science teachers.”

“As workforce needs evolve, we must create educational opportunities that prepare our people to meet those needs.

“Tonight, I am announcing, the formation of the Alabama School of Cyber-Technology and Engineering, which will be based in Huntsville. This school will prepare some of our state's highest-achieving students to enter the growing fields of cyber technology and engineering.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper delivered his last state of the state address as he finishes his last term as governor.

“We’ve become the leading state for aerospace employment. When our cyber security center reaches full capacity, we’ll have thousands of people a year getting certificates.”

“[W]e need to incentivize companies and rural entrepreneurs, or the urban ones who want ​to be rural, to take a chance and start a business where they’re needed the most. That’s why we just announced a $10 million Rural Venture Fund to focus equity investment and access to capital in rural parts of the state, similar to what they’ve done along the Front Range. Startup Colorado is a five-year initiative to organize and convene startups around the state…. We’re expanding our Blueprint and Rural Jumpstart economic development programs. … We’re backstopping loans for rural markets that allow businesses and startups to get more access to capital.”

“But to create the kind of workforce that will keep our state at the forefront of the new economy, we need to go beyond the funding issue – we need to rethink and retool our approach. We need to transition from a degree-based education system to one that also includes skill-based training. … We will need not just engineers but huge numbers of technicians and analysts with new sets of skills. We need to get more kids learning skills that matter.”

“Working closely with business and education leaders, in a public-private partnership, Colorado is igniting an apprenticeship renaissance with Careerwise. We’re connecting companies, talent, K-12 schools, community colleges and training centers. We have youth apprentices in pilot programs at thirty-one schools in four districts and we’re partnering with forty businesses.”

“Within a decade we want to see twenty-thousand students per year receiving college credit, developing skills, and learning how business works.”

“We need to increase post-secondary credentials by tens of thousands in the next eight years, and erase equity gaps.”

“We went from sixty percent to eighty percent [internet] coverage in rural Colorado in the last two years. We’ll be at eighty-five percent by the end of this year and one-hundred percent by 2020.”

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal talked about a reorganization at the Technical College System of Georgia as he enters the final year of his administration

“We need both our University and Technical College Systems to remain competitive, and I am happy to report that both have adjusted their degree and training programs to meet the needs of our state’s diverse economic climate.”

“[W]e will create a new Deputy Commissioner position within our Technical College System. This individual will develop and maintain a unified process with our 22 campuses, the University System, and the Department of Economic Development in terms of how those campuses interact with companies here in Georgia. This will create an organized and seamless effort to assist existing businesses that can benefit from TCSG’s training in an ever-changing and evolving marketplace.”

“To further aid those coming into our workforce or those seeking new opportunities, we will also be moving our state’s Division of Workforce Development to the Technical College System. In addition, we will be relocating the state’s customized recruitment office to TCSG, further consolidating these separate workforce development components into a more cohesive and workable system.”

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb challenged the state’s Economic Development Corporation to create 35,000 new job commitments in 2018, but noted in his speech, “Our greatest challenge is that too many Hoosiers lack the education and skills for the jobs that are here today and being created tomorrow—nearly all of which require a postsecondary education.” He outlined plans to address that challenge.

“More than 700,000 Hoosiers started college but didn’t finish … Our goal this year is to enroll 25,000 more of them in programs that help them do just that. Another 475,000 Hoosier adults don’t have a high school diploma. Our goal this year is to help 30,000 of them obtain the education and skills they need to get a better job. We’ll also establish a state work-based learning and apprenticeship office that will increase the number of these opportunities from 12,500 to 25,000 by the end of 2019, moving Indiana into the top five in the country. On the employer side, by the end of this year, we’ll engage 250 companies to train and hire employees through our Employer Training Grant Program. And, we won’t forget the 27,000 Hoosiers in our prison system. By 2020, we’ll graduate at least 1,000 inmates annually in certificate programs that will lead to good jobs when they get out.”

“[W]e’ll enact legislation to require every Indiana K-12 school to offer computer science courses — and we’ll pay for the teacher professional development they’ll need to inspire their students.”

“[W]e we must continue to cultivate our strong and diverse economy — modernizing traditional sectors like manufacturing and agriculture, strengthening those where we’ve built a competitive advantage — like aerospace and life sciences — and nourishing emerging ones, like tech. That’s exactly why we established the new $250-million Next Level Indiana Trust Fund, and in the first quarter of this year we’ll begin to make strategic investments to build and support more innovation and entrepreneurship in our state.”

Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas is term limited and he delivered his last state of the state address.

“Dream with me of a growing and diversifying Air Capitol of the World.  With thousands of new jobs, the latest technology and a magnet for precision manufacturing. We will expand in commercial and general aviation.  We will build air frames and engines and do extensive maintenance work. We will grow in defense and commercial aircraft manufacturing and drone technology.  All the major aircraft manufacturers will have major operations here because Kansas leads the way in aviation! They will say, ‘If it flies, it must be from Wichita.’ We can be an unmanned aerial vehicle hub, where the latest UAV technology is developed, tested and manufactured.  We can be to unmanned aerial systems what we are now to general aviation.”


Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts addressed ways to maintain the state’s working population and proposed more money for workforce development.

“[I]n today’s mobile economy, young people graduating from our colleges, skilled workers, and even longtime residents can up and move to lower tax states.  We have the jobs and great communities.  Let’s also work towards an income tax system that is just as welcoming.  Our proposal uses existing tax credits to achieve a permanent reduction in the state’s uncompetitive individual and corporate income tax rates.”

“Finally, our proposal provides for an additional $10 million dollars over two years for workforce development.”

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard is another governor who gave his final state of the state address. Daugaard kicked off his address with a focus on workforce development, which he said will also be the focus of his one-year term as chair of the Western Governors Association.

“From the perspective of businesses and employers, our state does not have enough workers in many skilled fields, and this is a barrier to economic growth.”

“We are encouraging high schools to expand the availability of work-based education experiences, such as apprenticeships, internships, or job shadowing during school.”

“This month, we are piloting Career Launch with four school districts – Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Yankton, and Brookings – that have already taken some steps in this direction, so that we can learn from them and help them move forward as well.  We hope to expand this effort in the future to more districts.  Assigned personnel will help schools coordinate with employers to add work-based learning experience opportunities.”

“We need to change the notion that apprenticeships are confined to the construction trades, such as electricians or plumbers or carpenters.  Apprenticeships can offer a pathway for training in many career fields.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee included several innovation economy components in his address, including net neutrality, apprenticeship programs and career-connected learning, as well as addressing climate change.

“[L]et’s leave a legacy that supports our modern democracy — and our modern economy — by ensuring equal access to the internet. When Washington, D.C., takes away that protection, we must protect net neutrality for our people, for our businesses, and for the virtues of free speech.”

“We have to stop telling our children that a four-year degree is the only path to success. That simply is not true. Let’s leave a legacy of opportunity for all our students by expanding career-connected learning. My budget includes funding to help us continue our Career Connect Washington initiative, which has the potential to be one of the most exciting and meaningful things we can do for our students.”

“Let’s continue our bipartisan legacy of helping Dreamers fulfill their potential. This is a time of great uncertainty and fear for our Dreamers and their families. Let’s pass legislation now to ensure the availability of College Bound scholarships for Dreamers, even if the federal government fails to renew their deferred-action status.”

“Now is the time to join in action and put a price on carbon pollution. Doing so will allow us to reinvest in all the things that drive down emissions. We can build more solar panels. We can put more electric cars on the road. We can help more Washingtonians purchase energy-saving insulation for their homes and businesses. We can reduce the wildfire risk in rural communities and on tribal lands. We can improve utility services and modernize the electrical grid. We can make much-needed upgrades to our irrigation and water-management systems. We can prepare our workforce for new careers in clean energy.”

“In the Pacific Coast region, clean-energy jobs have grown more than twice as fast as jobs in the overall economy.”

Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, South Dakota, Washingtontech talkin govs