• Save the date for SSTI's 2024 Annual Conference

    Join us December 10-12 in Arizona to connect with and learn from your peers working around the country to strengthen their regional innovation economies. Visit ssticonference.org for more information and sign up to receive updates.

  • Become an SSTI Member

    As the most comprehensive resource available for those involved in technology-based economic development, SSTI offers the services that are needed to help build tech-based economies.  Learn more about membership...

  • Subscribe to the SSTI Weekly Digest

    Each week, the SSTI Weekly Digest delivers the latest breaking news and expert analysis of critical issues affecting the tech-based economic development community. Subscribe today!

Tech Talkin’ Govs: Workforce, Education Issues Continue to Dominate Gubernatorial Addresses

January 22, 2015

SSTI's Tech Talkin' Govs series has returned as governors across the country formally convene the 2015 legislative sessions. The series highlights new and expanded TBED proposals from governors' State of the State, Budget and Inaugural addresses.

The third installment of this year’s series includes excerpts from speeches delivered in Delaware, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and South Carolina. Read the first and second installments of this year’s series.


Gov. Jack Markell, State of the State Address, Jan. 22, 2015
“… This year, I ask the General Assembly, our schools, our colleges, and our businesses to join me in committing to the Delaware Promise. This is a new goal for our state. By 2025, 65 percent of our workforce will earn a college degree or professional certificate. Everyone will earn at least a high school diploma. …”

“…First, we will create an initiative called Pathways to Prosperity, which will establish partnerships with Delaware employers, universities, and our K-12 system to prepare students for a bright future in key industries. High school students will take hundreds of hours of specialized instruction and hands-on training. They will graduate with industry-recognized certificates and college credits.

“This fall, we will launch pathways statewide for the IT and hospitality industries. We will also expand to southern Delaware the manufacturing pathway we started last year with Colonial and New Castle County Vo-tech School Districts. Those manufacturing students are already making great progress and will get paid internships this summer at companies like Agilent Technologies, PPG, Kuehne and Siemens.

“The following year, we will expand the network to include two more of our fastest growing industries – financial services and healthcare. …”

“… The second initiative I’m announcing is that Delaware Tech will partner with the national consulting firm McKinsey to significantly accelerate the training of entry-level healthcare workers. Employers have committed dozens of internships for young people who have already completed our terrific Jobs for Delaware Graduates program. As a result of this new training, they will be working in the field within months rather than years.

“Third, many of our employers have told me that they can’t find enough qualified IT workers and must resort to hiring them away from each other. We need a new pipeline of Delawareans trained to do these jobs. I’m pleased to announce that eight major employers are joining with us to train and hire hundreds of IT workers in our state. Through accelerated education programs and a  “coding school” launching this fall, these employers will have access to a new cohort of skilled software programmers. Again, this training will take months rather than years.”


Gov. Rick Snyder, State of the State Address, Jan. 21, 2015
“… I’m calling for robust collaboration between high schools and higher education to create new opportunities and cost savings for students. That includes skilled trades, career and technical training for students so they’re prepared for high-demand, well-paying jobs in information technology, robotics and health care. …”

“… No place in Michigan should be left behind in our economic comeback. We will create focused teams of experts from all levels of government, the private sector, and the non-profit world to work with local leaders on business creation, job creation, and better services. …”

“… Michigan’s energy policy needs to be set by Michiganders if our system is going to be adaptable and energy will be affordable, reliable, and environmentally protective. If we don’t have new policies in place and implemented, decisions will be made for us in Washington, D.C., and we won’t like them. We need a state-driven plan to make sure we have enough energy in the right places. As such, I am reorganizing my Administration to put under a single roof the key players in our energy policy in a new Agency for Energy, and I will deliver a Special Message on Energy in March. …”

“… The Regional Prosperity Initiative offers unique but coordinated economic visions for our regional economies. It empowers local and regional partners to develop a vision for a region’s economic success, built through collaboration at the local level instead of through an approach handed down from Lansing.

“To provide greater support for this effort, I will issue an executive directive to all state government departments to begin delivering their services, where applicable, to correspond with the 10 Prosperity Regions the state identified by the initiative’s map. This will enhance state service delivery and further empower local economies to collaborate on a regional basis, without adding new layers of government or bureaucracy. “


Gov. Phil Bryant, State of the State Address, Jan. 21, 2015
“… Tonight, I am announcing the Keep Mississippi Working Fund, a program that will move nearly $50 million over the next two years into workforce training efforts without putting a demand on the General Fund. Mississippi has one of the healthiest Unemployment Trust Funds in the nation. Due to the decreased demand on the unemployment fund, we will be allocating those dollars for training purposes. These workforce-training dollars will be managed by the State Workforce Investment Board and committed to training programs at our community colleges. The Mississippi Economic Council’s Blueprint Competitiveness Study identified the need for more skilled labor in Mississippi and a centralized agency to manage workforce development. Summed up, we will keep Mississippi working by investing more in skills training at our community colleges and having faith in Mississippi workers that they can help build the future.

“I have also requested $3 million in my Executive Budget Recommendation to begin the Mississippi Works Scholarship Fund. This would offer a student in any high school involved in a career readiness curriculum who maintains a C average an opportunity to continue that course of study through a community college on a full scholarship. As a blue-collar kid, I worked my way through junior college, but today’s conditions are different and tuition is more challenging. Our working class kids need an even break to advance their skills. Let us give them a chance to be skilled craftsmen and women and find them a job.”


New Mexico
Gov. Susana Martinez, State of the State Address, Jan. 20, 2015
“… First, I believe small businesses drive our economy, and they need a level playing field to compete with big corporations. I come from a family of small business owners; I’ve seen it. We should partner with these risk-takers, and provide additional funding for our successful job training program, where the state pays a portion of the salary of new employees hired in New Mexico while they’re being trained. …”

“… And, I am proposing targeted tax relief for small business owners to reduce the personal income tax burden on small business owners during the early stages, while they’re hiring new employees and getting off the ground. Let’s grow our small businesses. They’re taking great risk, and they deserve our support. …”

“… I’m proposing a $50 million closing fund for economic development projects. We should also provide specific incentives to attract companies to move their headquarters to New Mexico. …”

“… We need to make New Mexico a high-tech jobs leader as well. After all, we have all the necessary pieces – national labs, our bases, high-tech companies, and quality universities. But the good ideas being worked on at our labs and universities right here in New Mexico need to be brought to the marketplace here as well. So our kids who dream of becoming scientists can be educated at our universities, and then take what they learn to create New Mexico jobs. We can make that happen, through the Technology Research Collaborative. …”

“… And we need stronger incentives for the creation of technology jobs, and more private investment, by Angel investors, in high-tech start-up companies all over the state. Helping small businesses grow, attracting companies and jobs from elsewhere, and making New Mexico a high-tech jobs leader - that’s how you create a more diverse economy and a stronger private sector. Of course, we also need to build a stronger foundation for economic growth – in particular, better infrastructure and a talented workforce. …”

“… I also recognize how difficult it can be in a state as large and rural as ours to recruit certain types of teachers – bilingual, special ed, math and science. So, let’s offer two-year stipends to these types of teachers if they’re willing to teach in schools or districts where recruitment or retention has been a challenge.

“And I firmly believe that we should allow adjunct teachers into our high schools to teach certain difficult subjects, such as scientists from Los Alamos or Sandia teaching one or two chemistry classes, or well-trained researchers teaching geometry or calculus. Again, if our goal is to provide our kids with the best instruction possible, these are opportunities we cannot pass up. …”


South Carolina
Gov. Nikki Haley, State of the State Address, Jan. 21, 2015
“… So in our budget we have doubled down on our investment in technology. We have expanded our commitment to reading coaches. We have devoted more to professional development, so our teachers are better equipped to teach in today’s world.

“And we’ve proposed a new initiative that will help our rural schools get, and keep, the kind of highly qualified teachers their students deserve.

“First, if a student graduating high school is willing to spend eight years teaching in their underserved home district after college, we will pay for up to four years of tuition at a state school.

“Second, if a teacher who has graduated from college and is burdened by student loans commits to teach in a rural district, we will contribute to their student loan repayment.

“Third, if a teacher has less than five years’ experience and begins teaching in an eligible district, he or she will receive a pay bump, advancing his or her salary to the level of a teacher five years further down the road.

“Finally, if a teacher wants to attend graduate school at a state college or university, we will cover the cost of that education, again in exchange for a commitment to teach in a rural or underserved district.

“And all of this will be done without spending a single new tax dollar.”


Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, South Carolinatech talkin govs