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Tech Talkin’ Govs 2018, part 3: DE, NM, RI, VA, WV governors focus on education, jobs for innovation initiatives

January 25, 2018

SSTI’s Tech Talkin’ Govs feature continues 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 third installment, we present excerpts from governors in Delaware, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Virginia and West Virginia.

Many of the governors across the country are delivering the final addresses and taking the time to look back over their term on accomplishments while others are looking forward to new initiatives. The Delaware governor’s comments in the innovation space centered on jobs and strengthening training opportunities while in New Mexico the governor is term limited and she took the opportunity to focus on jobs and manufacturing partnership with Mexico. The Rhode Island governor, who has indicated she will run for reelection this year, focused on education, job training and small business. Growth in the state’s clean energy industry was an accomplishment touted by the outgoing governor in Virginia. And in West Virginia, the governor is interested in free technical and community colleges.

Delaware Gov. John Carney talked about jobs and the innovation economy:

“It’s why we’re working with members of the General Assembly to increase access to venture capital for Delaware start-ups and to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses, by pursuing the Angel Investment Tax Credit. I hope to see this bill on my desk in the coming weeks.

“It’s why we partnered with the University of Delaware and the DowDuPont Company to create the Delaware Innovation Space at the Experimental Station. It’s already home to more than 160 high-paying jobs and 9 different companies working to cure diseases, create new materials, and improve our overall quality of life.”

“At the same time, our innovation economy is taking off. In Newark, Chemours will partner with the University of Delaware to build a $150 million state-of-the-art research facility and innovation center at the Star campus.”

“…[W]e’re working to strengthen the Pathways program in our schools, to connect more students with externships and on-the-job training that will lead to a full-time job. That’s why we’re investing in our institutions of higher education, particularly Delaware Tech, so students graduate ready to enter the workforce. That’s why we need to support programs like Zip Code Wilmington, that transform students into skilled I.T. workers.”

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez delivered her state of the state address on Jan. 16, recounting the fiscal stress the state has faced and focused on efforts to diversify the state’s economy:

 “I’m talking about working with our partners in Mexico to build a 21st Century manufacturing, logistics, and transportation hub along our southern border. We’re building a first-of-its-kind binational campus, becoming a key corridor for trade.”

“We need to allow chemists, biologists, engineers, and others to be trained and certified to enter our high schools to teach math and science - to help address our teacher shortage in STEM subjects. Let’s update our schools with 21st century technology, extend broadband coverage, and it’s time we set aside money to make our schools as secure as parents expect them to be.”

Rhode Island Gov. Gina M. Raimondo touted the progress the state has made in its economy and investments in education.

“And more than 1,500 Rhode Islanders are getting a shot at a career because we're the first state on the East Coast that's made community college tuition-free.”

She also advocated for job training for residents for the new economy:

“The reality is that 70 percent of jobs in Rhode Island require more training and education than just a high school diploma, but they don't all require a four-year degree. It's on us to make sure that every Rhode Islander has the job training and education they need to get a good job.

“Since 2015, we've completely revamped our approach to job training. Real Jobs Rhode Island now gives Rhode Islanders in the middle of their career the new skills they need in a changing economy. Real Jobs alone has trained and placed more than 2,000 Rhode Islanders into good, solid jobs.

“We've also expanded more than two dozen career and tech programs in our high schools….”

“Tonight I'm proposing that we expand our job training initiatives and our technical training in high schools.”

She also asked the state’s biggest employers to use their spending power to support the state’s small businesses:

“If our colleges, universities and hospitals shifted just two percent of their contracts to Rhode Island companies, it could add more than $50 million to our economy and create hundreds of new jobs. This year, we'll launch ‘Supply RI’ to make it easier for our biggest employers to buy from local companies…”

“Most of our manufacturers are small businesses, too. … Last year, manufacturing companies created 1,500 new jobs. … This year, I'm again calling on the legislature to pass the Rhode Island Manufacturing Initiative. It's a good plan that helps smaller manufacturers buy new equipment and hire more people.”

Virginia’s outgoing Gov. Terry McAuliffe gave a final state of the commonwealth address before turning over the reins to the new governor, Ralph Northam, who had been the lieutenant governor. McAuliffe highlighted the growth in the state’s clean energy industry.

“We took executive action to make Virginia a leader in reducing carbon and combating climate change, and we built a new clean energy economy from the ground up. In addition to being one of the first states in the nation to announce an offshore utility wind project, I am particularly proud of the progress we have made on solar energy.”

“We reformed the Standards of Learning and eliminated five tests, transformed our workforce training programs, and redesigned our high school curriculum to better align it with the needs of a 21st Century economy.”

“...Virginia is no longer JUST (sic) a defense-industry state. We’re a cyber state, an advanced manufacturing state, a data analytics state. We’re a bioscience state, a renewable energy state and an unmanned systems state.”

McAuliffe also outlined legislation he hopes will pass this year including:

“Building on the executive actions my administration is pursuing to cut carbon and create clean energy jobs by becoming the first Southern State to formally join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.”

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice gave his second state of the state address on Jan. 10.

“We[‘ve] got to build this workforce like we can't imagine. I want us to develop a way to where kids in high school and the trades can get an associate degree while they're in high school. I also want us to add, if it's possible, a 13th year where they can get additional accreditation or additional certifications. … I want somehow, some way, for us to be able to make our community and technical colleges free.”

Delaware, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginiatech talkin govs