"Our concentration of brainpower, our well-educated workforce and our tradition of invention and innovation over many centuries now make us an especially attractive place for the innovation industries so critical to today’s and tomorrow’s economy."
- Governor Deval Patrick, State House Small Business Fair, May 2012
Massachusetts has recovered from the recession faster and stronger than the nation as a whole, with an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent compared to the national average of 8.3 percent and the economy growing at 4 percent in the first two quarters of 2012 compared to national growth of 1.5 percent in the first quarter and 2 percent in the second quarter.
Putting Community Colleges at the Center of our Job Creation Strategy
There are 211,000 people still looking for work in Massachusetts – and over 144,000 job openings. The #1 issue for regional employers is the “skills gap” that leaves middle-skilled jobs unfilled. Massachusetts community colleges are uniquely positioned to help close our skills gap and get people back to work.
Signed by Governor Patrick in July 2012, the FY13 budget adopts the Governor's proposal to create a more unified, coordinated community college system . The reforms will enable students to transfer their credits more easily and local campuses to be more responsive to the needs of local economies as well as of the state’s fastest growing sectors. Adopted in the budget the Governor signed are the additional reforms:
- Stronger connections between the Department of Higher Education and leadership of the community colleges;
- Stronger connection and accountability between community colleges and vocational/technical schools; and
- Increased oversight and integration of workforce development initiatives at the regional level.
In addition, the budget provides $5 million in Performance Incentive Grants dedicated for community colleges and $2.25 million to fund “Rapid Response Grants” which will allow community colleges and potential employers to develop career specific curriculum based on the needs of the employer.
Investing in Innovation
Our concentration of brainpower, research institutions and venture capital and our well-educated workforce put Massachusetts at the center of the global innovation economy. Governor Patrick’s 10-year, $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative has invested over $200 million of state resources to generate nearly a billion dollars in new private investment and thousands of new jobs. WE have the #1 life sciences supercluster in the United States. Massachusetts invests more in energy efficiency than any other state in the US. Thanks to our investments in the clean tech sector, we have seen solar energy installments increase by 30 fold and wind energy installments increase by 10 fold since 2007.
Recently signed by the Governor,"An Act Relative to Infrastructure Investment, Enhanced Competitiveness and Economic Growth in the Commonwealth," will increase economic development and create jobs in the Commonwealth's key sectors of innovation and infrastructure . It includes a number of initiatives supporting those sectors, including $50 million for a Scientific and Technology Research and Development Matching Fund. The fund will support collaborative research and development projects among businesses and universities, building off the example of the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke, which is expected to be completed fall 2012.
In the area of workforce training and education, the legislation includes $5 million for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, which prepares Massachusetts residents for new jobs in high-demand occupations and which helps to close the middle-skills gap and create seamless pathways to employment.
Investing in Infrastructure
The Patrick-Murray Administration invests in infrastructure projects in all corners of the state to create jobs and build a stronger Commonwealth for the next generation. In 2011 alone, Massachusetts invested nearly a billion dollars in road and bridge projects to fund 450 projects across the state. Through MassWorks Infrastructure Grant program , communities across the state have been awarded $61 million to invest in local infrastructure projects and spur economic development. And we have invested $70 million to leverage public and private resources to expand high-speed Internet access to improve education, strengthen public safety and better allow cities and towns to compete in the global economy.
The 2012 Transportation Bond Bill provides $1.5 billion in state and federal funds for road, rail and bridges programs across the state. The historic $3 billion Patrick-Murray Accelerated Bridge Program has greatly reduced the number of structurally deficient bridges in the state system, while creating thousands of construction jobs on bridge projects.
Supporting Small Businesses
Our collective growth and prosperity depends on the growth and prosperity of small businesses. This year, Governor Patrick announced the initial results of a systematic review of state regulations and new steps to streamline regulations for small businesses . After reviewing 200 regulations that were each more than 12 years old, Governor Patrick has approved changes to nearly 150 regulations. In addition, the Governor launched a new effort to make sure that no new regulation is issued without serious consideration of its impact on small businesses.
In a video message to state employees responsible for writing, reviewing and issuing regulations, Governor Patrick encouraged state regulators to present their best ideas for regulatory reform and government innovation.