Napolitano Presents Testimony to U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor
Governor Napolitano today told the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor that Americans must innovate to compete in the global economy, and that states are perfectly positioned to lead in that effort.
"States play a pivotal role in effecting change and creating innovative economies," said Governor Napolitano. "This is our opportunity to reinvent our system of education and recapture our competitive edge. The answer is innovation, and the solution lies in our states. As Governors, we believe that states are the engines for change."
The Committee invited Governor Napolitano to testify on the issue for its hearing entitled, "Strengthening America's Middle Class: Finding Economic Solutions to Help America's Families". Governor Napolitano is the current Chair of the National Governors Association. Her Chair's initiative, "Innovation America," underscores the point that U.S. economic growth in the
21st century - and the ability to compete successfully with other nations - will be driven by America's ability to generate ideas and translate them into innovations.
Innovation America has three main strategies:
?? Improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education
?? Enabling the post-secondary education system to better support innovation
?? Encourage business innovation through supportive state policies.
The Governor pointed to Arizona as a model for developing a climate of innovation. Working with academia and the private sector, Arizona has taken steps to ensure the state becomes a worldclass leader in innovation: "In Arizona, we are building a premier education system from preschool through college, and are working hand-in-hand with businesses to make sure our students can meet the demands of the 21st centur economy," said Napolitano.
For example, the Governor's P-20 Council has worked to improve STEM education by recommending a more rigorous curriculum and demanding that our education systems are aligned to business needs, so that training matches the local job market.
The Governor also offered the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), a non-profit organization focused on using genetics to help diagnose and treat diseases, as an example of Arizona's efforts to foster innovative science and research. A recent economic impact report indicated that every dollar the state invests in TGen results in nearly $4 of economic output.