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Tech Talkin’ Govs, part 3: Economic development, broadband, education and climate change driving governors’ innovation agendas

January 24, 2019
By: Ellen Marrison

This week, we see broadband investment in Indiana; education initiatives that begin with pre-K and extend beyond high school in a number of states; lifelong learning approaches; apprenticeships; climate change and green energy initiatives in Nevada and Washington; and more on governors’ agendas. As governors across the country continue to deliver their state of the state addresses to their legislatures and constituents, SSTI monitors the speeches for news of innovation related initiatives. This week we bring you news of innovation funding from governors in Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, Rhode Island and Washington.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb gave his address Jan. 15 before the General Assembly, highlighting among other things the state’s growing tech ecosystem. His plan is to take the state to “the next level”:

“But to stay ahead of our competition and keep breaking those jobs records, we must keep sharpening our economic development tools to give us the flexibility to attract more capital investment and more people to locate here. …”

“… But all students should be doing their homework at home. So, we're making the largest single investment in broadband in our state ever.”

“Our efforts and investments are designed to meet the goal of ensuring 60 percent of Hoosier adults have a high-value credential beyond high school. To do that, we must get our kids to start thinking about their career paths earlier in their lives. So we will introduce every student to career and apprenticeship options in Indiana's key opportunity industries.”

 “Along with improving K-12 education, we must also skill up and re-skill our adult population. … That's why we'll expand our Workforce Ready Grant program to continue our push to get more adults to complete degrees or certificates in high-demand industries. And that's why we'll double the funding for the Employer Training Grant, which provides financial support to Indiana companies to hire, train and retain Hoosier adults to fill our job openings.”

“Given the urgency around strengthening our workforce, we can't afford to overlook anyone, especially those who want to earn a second chance. In 2018, we began enrolling Department of Correction offenders in programs to train them for high-wage, high-demand jobs – everything from welding to computer coding. I said last year we'd graduate 1,000 by 2020 and we're already there, a year ahead of schedule.”

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds delivered her second address on the state of the state on Jan. 15, but it was her first as elected governor, marking the beginning of a full term as governor. She said her vision for the future of Iowa hasn’t changed and that “the time is now to deliver on the promises we’ve made to Iowans looking for a way up.”

“It starts by taking the next step to prepare Iowans for dynamic careers and lifelong learning. That’s Future Ready Iowa. … Today, I’m calling on the Legislature to take the next step, to appropriate $20 million to fund the plan we put in place last session.”

“In August we launched a new program called Computer Science is Elementary. Through STEM grants, this public-private partnership will transform six high-poverty elementary schools into models of computer science instruction by weaving computer coding into the class lessons.”

“To ensure that every part of Iowa has the same opportunity, I am requesting $20 million, split over two years, for broadband infrastructure. This funding will accelerate expansion and leverage an additional $120 million in private investment for high-speed internet.”

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a former state senator and newly elected governor, gave her first state of the state address on Jan. 16, saying that “after a decade of crises” the state was able to “hit reset” in a “historic act of bipartisanship in 2017” and that conditions are improving:

“We’re going to properly fund our schools this year. … And we’re going to make sure our schools prepare our children for a changing economy. Modern classrooms with modern technologies. Because at the end of the day, we need our children to graduate high school or college or technical school so they can find jobs right here in Kansas.”

Missouri Gov. Michael Parson delivered his first state of the state address to a joint session of the 100th Missouri General Assembly, discussing higher education and broadband:

“…[C]ultivating and training our workforce for high-demand jobs and investing in critical infrastructure are the priorities we must address this session.”

“We must consider making necessary changes to our education programs and update the training pipelines to ensure economic growth in Missouri.”

“This is why my budget calls for a total investment of nearly $75 million dollars into bold and innovative workforce development programs.”

“…I am advocating that we provide $22 million dollars to fund a program known as Fast Track. Fast Track will allow Missourians to receive advanced training in high-demand areas largely taught at our community colleges, technical schools, and colleges and universities.”

“…[W]e are going to consolidate, repurpose, and add flexibility to a series of incentives we currently offer into a more streamlined program called Missouri One Start. That is why I am adding $10 million dollars to the Missouri One Start program, to help place a greater emphasis on building out the workforce needs and for job creation projects, so companies who use them are forced to plant deeper roots here in Missouri and become longer and more substantial partners.

“Also, we are providing $16 million dollars for Missouri Excels, a program for Missouri higher education institutions to develop and expand employer-driven education, training programs, and initiatives to increase career readiness.”

“…[M]y budget calls for an additional $5 million dollars in broadband funding to close the gap that exists in federal funds, and truly give the highest impact for Missourians.”

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak gave his inaugural state of the state address on Jan. 16, noting that he was addressing the first female-majority Legislature in the state, and the nation’s, history.

“As Governor, I will work to make it easier for our small businesses to thrive by streamlining complicated processes, eliminating red tape and needless regulations, and putting a Small Business Advocate in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.”

“…I plan to increase funding for graduate medical education by $2 million per year. … We must continue to invest in our higher education system. In addition to funding for student enrollment growth, I am recommending funding for two new buildings: a health and sciences building at the College of Southern Nevada and a new education building at Nevada State College.”

“…[W]e will increase funding for Nevada's scholarship programs to open new opportunities for thousands of Nevada’s students to earn their degrees and workforce credentials.”

“…I’m recommending increased funding for Career and Technical education to serve an additional 2,000 students.”

“…an increased investment in a pilot program aimed at providing education and skills training for inmates…”

“As governor, I am committed to making Nevada a clean energy leader — not only to combat the effects of climate change for future generations, but also for the abundance of green-collar jobs we can create right now.”

“…I strongly support the goal of achieving a minimum of 50% in renewable energy by 2030.”

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, who was reelected in November, urged the Legislature in her Jan. 15 state of the state address to stick with a long-term plan on education, similar to what Massachusetts has done with their educational testing for the past 25 years, and expand the progress the state has made in education and economic development:

“This week, I'll send to you a budget that expands our investments in job creation and job training; ….”

“There is nothing more important to the future of Rhode Island -- to the economic security of our friends and our family -- than making sure that everybody has the credential or degree they need to get a good job in today's economy. The most important factor businesses today look at when they expand is the education and talent level of the local workforce.”

“… Our goal is to provide job training to any Rhode Islander who wants it. The budget I submit this week will make it easier for adults to earn a degree at CCRI, and it expands Real Jobs RI, guaranteeing job training and apprenticeships for thousands more Rhode Islanders.”

“… Tuition-free community college is one of the lowest-cost, highest-impact investments the State of Rhode Island has ever made. So, this year I propose an expansion of Rhode Island Promise to make the last two years of a four-year degree at Rhode Island College tuition-free.”

“And before these four years are done, let's bring Promise to our state's flagship university, the University of Rhode Island.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee delivered his state of the state on Jan. 15 and called on legislators to act on climate change and continue investment in education:

“We will pass legislation to transition to 100 percent clean electricity, transform our buildings with cost-saving efficiencies, and modernize and electrify our transportation system. We’ll phase down super-pollutants and phase in cleaner fuels.”

“My budget will provide 100,000 students over the next 10 years an option to dive into their interests through apprenticeships and paid internships, and fall in love with a career before they graduate.”

“We’re also supporting future students who want more education but can’t afford it. The Washington College Promise is our new statewide free college program that guarantees state financial aid to eligible students.”

“And we’re the state pushing for broadband for Washingtonians who want to start a business or further their education — no matter where they live in the state.”

Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, Rhode Island, Washingtontech talkin govs