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Tech Talkin’ Govs 2018, part 4: CA, HI, MA, MI, ND, SC, WI

February 01, 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 fourth installment, we present excerpts from governors in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Dakota, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

This week’s review includes states like California with its goal for lower carbon output to Hawaii and Massachusetts who are looking to increase their use of renewable energy sources. Meanwhile, energy-dependent North Dakota is looking to diversify its economy and Wisconsin seeks ways to build its workforce.

California Gov. Jerry Brown, who is term limited delivered his final state of the state address.

“I will shortly provide an expenditure plan for the revenues that the cap-and-trade auctions have generated. Your renewing this program on a bipartisan basis was a major achievement and will ensure that we will have substantial sums to invest in communities all across the state — both urban and agricultural.”

“The goal is to make our neighborhoods and farms healthier, our vehicles cleaner — zero emission the sooner the better — and all our technologies increasingly lowering their carbon output. To meet our ambitious goals, we will need five million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030.”

“Even with so many of our students attending college, there are still 2.5 million Californians between 25 and 34 who are in the workforce but lack a postsecondary degree or certificate. These men and women often go out of state or pay high tuition at for-profit institutions to improve their skills and employability. For this group, I want to create the California Online College so these overlooked Californians can get the training they need — conveniently and at very low cost.” (See last week’s Digest story on the initiative.)

Hawaii Gov. David Ige noted the role of education in training people for future jobs, and vocational training to help retrain workers today.

We must prepare our young people for jobs in this sector and that means supporting STEM education, focusing on science, technology, engineering and math. … The University of Hawaii is one of the leaders in this work, with the Mānoa campus increasing its STEM graduates by more than a third in recent years and the community colleges leading the way -- tripling their numbers.”

“To be sure that workers in Hawaii’s existing industries aren’t left behind, we’ve made available a wide variety of vocational training opportunities through the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. These programs match training with current job openings in fields ranging from computer science and shipyard welding to banking and food safety. And within state government, as we ride the wave of modernization, we remain fully committed to retraining every worker to use the new computer systems and technology tools.”

“You passed and I signed a law to abide by the Paris Climate Accord – the first state in the nation to do so. We understand deeply and fully what the future requires of us.”

“…Hawaii can and must become the premier center for new agricultural technologies. We already have ag tech startups going strong in Hawaii.”

“Working with the Legislature, I was the first governor to sign into law a bill requiring 100 percent of Hawaii’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2045. … We want hydropower, sea water air conditioning, solar and wind energy, biomass and the fullest possible use of our waste streams.”

“As a next step, we will grow a carbon market in Hawaii.”

“Imagine that we use our temperate weather and four growing seasons to develop new high-tech agricultural tools that increase yields for farmers from Hawaii to India. Imagine that we farm our nearshore ocean waters, too, feeding our own communities and the growing global demand for seafood. And with these new businesses, there’s new demand for scientists, technicians and marketing professionals.”

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker delivered his third state of the commonwealth address.

“For the first time, we’re directing capital grants to vocational technical schools to upgrade equipment and expand popular programs.  Providing students with real world skills and experience and employers with job ready workers.”

Baker also outlined three initiatives to help students pay for college:

“First, we’ll increase college scholarship funding by more than $7 million so that all community college students who qualify for Pell Grants, with an unmet financial need, will have their remaining tuition and fees fully covered.

“Second, we’ll significantly expand our early college programs….”

“And third, we’ll continue to expand our Commonwealth Commitment plan.  Which makes it possible for students to earn four-year degrees for less than $30,000.   And that’s before including scholarships and state or federal grants.”

“In a few days, the Commonwealth will announce the results of the largest renewable energy procurement in our history.”

“And later this year, we’ll complete a competitive process that could lead to the construction of the largest offshore wind power operation in the nation. This effort will further reduce emissions, create thousands of green jobs in places like New Bedford and solidify our standing as a global leader in innovation and clean energy.

“We’re also making new investments in the development of energy storage.”

“…[W]e’ll dedicate an additional $2 million to climate adaptation and resiliency planning efforts in our 2019 budget…”

“We’ll also include additional skill building funds for low-income workers.   The funds will be targeted to job openings in each region so people can take the next step up the wage ladder.  And we’ll be filing an economic development bill in February, that will build on the success of the legislation that was signed into law in 2016.”

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder talked in his address about what he called the “incredible comeback of Michigan,” and pointed to the state’s auto industry as part of the reason for that.

“Manufacturing, we’re back there, we are number one in the nation in the creation of manufacturing jobs. Our auto industry is making a huge comeback. … 76 percent of all the research and development in the U.S. auto industry happens right here in Michigan.”

He also noted that “last year for the first time since the turn of the century, more people came into Michigan than left Michigan…. We are actually the number one state in the Great Lakes for net inbound bachelor degrees.”

“In February, I’m going to roll out the Marshall Plan for Talent. This is going to lay the groundwork for a new way of producing talent in Michigan. … It’s going to prepare Michigan students to invent the future, to be ready for what comes next and break down the walls that have traditionally existed between educational institutions and businesses. This is about public-private partnership working together. … [W]e are going to keep working hard tying back into the Career Pathways initiative.”

“…I’m going to be proposing the largest increase in the basic per pupil student foundation allowance in the last 15 years.”

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum reflected on his first year in office and the fluctuations in the state’s economy as it relies on oil and gas revenues.

“But one of the things in our state ... if we don't diversify the economy, we end up being very dependent on things we can't control, particularly commodity prices.”

“It's very likely in the next few months we'll break our previous record high, in terms of barrels of oil produced per day. That is absolutely, positively due to the fact that this industry has figured out through technology and entrepreneurship to figure out a way to get their breakeven costs down.”

“Some of the challenges we have here related to workforce, there'd be more activity going on in our state if we could fill the jobs.”

“The…Innovation Bill…is about bottoms up innovation. … This is each individual school district can adopt an innovation plan and they can decide locally what they think the best way to try to drive education, you know, hands on, experience based education in their areas.”

On the Higher Ed Governance Task Force: “…[W]e want to make sure [we] get an understanding of where we are, and then understand how can we create a governance system that allows our higher education to be nimble and dynamic at a time of dramatic change, at a time when knowledge transfer, knowledge creation, is changing at a different and faster rate than it ever has. We have to figure out how do we get our education system to match that.”

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster called for a new workforce initiative.

“…I’m calling for the creation of the South Carolina Workforce Partnership. This new initiative will connect businesses with high schools and technical colleges to collaborate on internships, dual credit and certificate programs for students interested in the skilled trades – focused on rural areas of our state.

“My budget also increases funding for Workforce Scholarships and Grants – so that more students can access the financial resources to obtain certificates and associate’s degrees at our technical colleges.”

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker gave his eighth state of the state address, and also focused on workforce initiatives and attracting new talent to the state.

“[W]e need to grow the number of opportunities for our young people to pursue great careers here in our state. We developed a plan with the Wisconsin Technical College System, the University of Wisconsin System and with private colleges and universities in Wisconsin. With all of the new jobs being created in our state, we must have enough graduates with the skills to fill these careers. Today, I propose that we use the $20 million designated in Act 58 to establish a new Wisconsin Career Creator program on campuses all over the state.”

“With more people working than ever before, we cannot afford to have anyone on the sidelines. Therefore, as the third point in our Ambitious Agenda, I propose that we expand our Wisconsin Works for Everyone welfare reforms.”

“Still, we need more individuals in the workforce. Each week, we typically have 80,000 to 100,000 job openings on our state website, jobcenterofwisconsin.com. With that in mind, I am calling a special session to pass our common sense welfare reform plan. We want able-bodied, working age adults to work at least 30 hours a week or enroll in job training to get assistance.”

“The next step for small business is preparing the workforce. Our plans include investments in schools, apprenticeships, higher education, and worker training.”

“The final step of our plan for small businesses is to help attract new talent. I ask for the assistance of the Legislature as we seek to attract to Wisconsin several key groups of potential employees: transitioning veterans and their families, graduates of Wisconsin colleges and universities and millennials from across the Midwest.”

“And to ensure that more small businesses succeed in the rural parts of the state, I propose that we create a Rural Economic Development Fund of $50 million per year. The fund will support the development of new businesses and the expansion of small businesses in rural areas. And it can assist in training more people to fill the positions being created by employers in rural area.”

“I’m calling on the Federal Communications Commission to finalize rules increasing access to broadband internet by advancing television white space technology. White space is the unused spectrum between broadcast television stations and it can deliver high-speed internet to underserved areas of Wisconsin.”

California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Dakota, South Carolina, Wisconsintech talkin govs