As Prepared for Delivery
Principal Andrews, Dr. Dukes, this Academy is exactly what our State needs to be doing in order to make our children winners in this changing global economy.
Allowing Maryland students to obtain both their Associate's Degree and their high school diploma -- all at once and in only four years, getting our businesses more highly skilled workers in the high demand sector of health sciences, expanding middle class opportunity, promoting job creation, sparing more Marylanders from tuition bills, friends, this is a shining example of a public policy that works.
Maryland's economy is an Innovation Economy, Prince George's Community College is an Innovation school, and Prince George's County Public Schools are innovation leaders. Together we are collaborating to create jobs, to expand opportunity, and to strengthen and grow the ranks of Maryland's increasingly diverse and upwardly mobile middle class.
Early college is an important piece of our job creation puzzle. We want to bring the magic of this academy to counties throughout Maryland. And this session we created a new Early College Innovation Fund to do just that. It provides seed funding to school systems and partner institutions to help with the start-up costs associated with putting these academies together.
Better choices; better results.
It all comes back to jobs, opportunity and a stronger middle class. Maryland has built up one of the most highly skilled workforces in the country. But the reality is that too many of the new jobs being created in our new economy still go unfilled. Why? Because too many of our people lack the skills to fill them.
And so in addition to creating the Early College Innovation Fund, I signed legislation which makes it possible for low income students to take college classes for free.
We also passed the EARN Bill: employer-led skills training. We removed barriers to employment for Maryland veterans and military families.
We increased our investment in community colleges across Maryland.
We took action to help more students complete their college degrees.
And we invested to hold down tuition at our four year colleges and universities.
Goals and Progress
You might be familiar with the goals we've set to steer our ship of State forward.
We set a goal of improving student achievement and school, college and career readiness 25% by the end of 2015 -- and we've already exceeded it.
We set the goal of increasing STEM degrees 40% by 2015. Today we're more than halfway there with a 25% increase since 2005-2006. We have also succeeded in increasing the number of teachers who teach STEM subjects in Maryland's classrooms by 22%. And 44% more of our students are passing AP exams (we've also increased the number of exams taken by 56%).
We set the goal of increasing the number of Marylanders who receive skills training by 20% by the end of 2018. Since FY2010 we've achieved a 17.4% increase so we are well on our way.
The progress you are achieving at this Academy is making a difference toward our pursuit of all these goals -- and toward goal number #1: job creation.
Keep up the good work!