More than 100 corporations, trade and labor groups, local businesses, and other entities concerned with strengthening Connecticut's economic development and job creation efforts have signed on to endorse the Next Generation Connecticut proposal, officials announced Thursday.
Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy, University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst, legislative leaders, and representatives from several of the supporting businesses and organizations revealed the full list Thursday, saying it demonstrates the breadth of diverse support for the initiative.
They range from Fortune 500 companies to chambers of commerce, labor and trade organizations, research groups, local and regional businesses, and other entities.
Next Generation Connecticut (#NextGenCT) is a multi-faceted plan to build the state's economic future through strategic investments in science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines (STEM) at the University of Connecticut.
It involves leveraging UConn's resources to fuel Connecticut's economy with new technologies, highly skilled graduates, new companies, patents, licenses, and research innovations leading to more high-wage STEM jobs in the state.
"With this investment in UConn, over the next 10 years our flagship institution is poised to bring in $270 million in research dollars, spur well over half a billion dollars in business activity, and support more than 4,000 permanent jobs -- plus 30,000 construction jobs," Malloy said.
"Through Next Generation Connecticut, UConn will become one of two cutting-edge research institutions in the state -- it will help us attract talent and make us more competitive. I thank the business leaders, chambers of commerce, and labor leaders who are here today for their work to build the state's economy and their support of this legislation," he said.
The dozens of companies, trade groups, labor and civic organizations and others who have signed on to endorse the initiative come from throughout the state and a variety of industries.
"By endorsing Next Generation Connecticut, they're underscoring the sense of urgency we all share about building a talented workforce and leading the nation in innovation and research," UConn President Susan Herbst said.
"These are business owners and leaders right in the trenches, confronted every day with decisions about exploring new technologies, hiring and retaining skilled workers, and staying ahead of competitors," Herbst said. "From the big Fortune 500 companies to small and savvy startups, their public support of Next Generation Connecticut is an affirmation that its economic development mission falls right in line with what they want and need for success."
Several companies endorsing the initiative already have invested significantly in building a STEM workforce for their companies and industries, and praise Next Generation Connecticut's opportunities for research partnerships.
"We have spent years collaborating with research agencies and universities like UConn to advance our hydrogen generation technology, and have witnessed the impact that partnerships have on scientific innovation and economic growth," said Robert Friedland, co-founder, president and CEO of Wallingford-based Proton OnSite, which awards $100,000 STEM scholarships to high school seniors to help bolster the field.
"We believe in Next Generation Connecticut's mission, and share the initiative's commitment to encouraging the next generation of engineers and spurring innovation in Connecticut," Friedland says.
The initiative includes expanding enrollment and faculty at UConn, and renovating and adding appropriate facilities in STEM disciplines to put students and faculty at the forefront in research in everything from biosciences to thermodynamics, agricultural sciences and pharmaceutical advances.
The Stamford campus curriculum would also be expanded with a strong focus on digital media and business programs in fields with fast-growing employment opportunities, and UConn would establish the nation's first STEM honors program.
The proposal involves a 10-year, $1.5 billion capital component outlined in Senate Bill 840, An Act Concerning Next Generation Connecticut, which currently awaits legislative approval. The commitment to the initiative is a shared fiduciary responsibility, with UConn contributing $235 million for the building program and $149 million in operating funds to support the academic program components.
In addition to bolstering job creation in high-tech STEM fields and driving innovation, Next Generation Connecticut would create 30,000 construction jobs through 2024.
For additional information, visit http://uconn.edu/nextgenct.