Democratic candidate for Governor Maggie Hassan today unveiled the first part of her "Innovate NH" jobs plan, which is aimed at harnessing the power of the New Hampshire education community to build New Hampshire's economy and attract jobs.
"Our public schools are and should be drivers of economic growth for our state," Hassan said. "Our colleges and universities are inventing new ideas and new technologies that could launch new companies and new jobs. They offer the expertise that can help our existing companies innovate and thrive. And our public schools are essential to ensuring New Hampshire has the best-trained workforce in the nation."
New Hampshire's public schools have been drastically dismantled by the current leadership of the legislature, which cut state support for higher education in half and passed a law diverting millions of dollars of taxpayer money from public schools to private schools. At the same time, the legislature sacrificed millions in revenues when it cut the tobacco tax.
"This legislature told our young people: "smoke more, study less.' As Governor, I will tell our students that if they study and work hard, they can afford to go to college," Hassan said. "I will end the drastic dismantling of our public schools and make them a centerpiece our efforts to build a 21st century workforce and to support the efforts of our businesses to grow, innovate and create new jobs."
As Governor, Hassan will re-invest in New Hampshire's public colleges and universities. In return, she will ask them to use the additional resources to freeze tuition and to increase the number of slots available for New Hampshire students.
Hassan will bring business leaders and educators to the table to revise and strengthen New Hampshire's science and math standards for elementary and high school students, and to devise a curriculum that encourages more young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In conjunction with that effort, she will support the efforts of New Hampshire's public colleges and universities to double the number of STEM students they graduate by 2025.
"We need to increase the science, technology, engineering and math expertise in our workforce. That starts with making sure we have a rigorous -- and engaging -- STEM curriculum starting in elementary school, and with ensuring we have enough slots available for those students when they are ready for college," Hassan said.
Hassan's plan also focuses on making sure that the resources and innovative ideas of the higher education's faculty and students are put to use helping the economy grow.
She supports doubling the research-and-development tax credit to help support businesses who invest in creating new technologies in New Hampshire, and will work with business leaders and higher education officials to encourage new strategic research partnerships. In addition, Hassan supports efforts to increase the commercialization of the ideas and inventions flowing from New Hampshire's colleges and universities, and to ensure the technical expertise of New Hampshire's public higher education community is available to help companies grow and expand.
"In addition to building a strong workforce, our public colleges and universities have the expertise to help launch new companies and to help our existing companies grow," Hassan said. "As Governor, I want to make sure the immense research power of our public colleges is available to help our companies grow and innovate."
Hassan said that the community college system must continue to hold a central role in supporting local businesses; in educating students and in keeping New Hampshire's workforce strong and current. She supports continued efforts to ensure the community college system can quickly respond to the changing needs of the business community and maintaining investments in job training so that workers can stay current.
"Our community colleges are essential to building a 21st century workforce. Their flexibility, their closeness to their communities and their affordability are key to our state's economic success," Hassan said. "As Governor, I will continue to support our community colleges and their efforts to be responsive to the ever-changing needs of businesses and workers.