Governor M. Jodi Rell today said that a report issued by the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC) outlining Connecticut trends in the technology arena confirms the state is on the right track to strengthening its position. The report indicates that Connecticut ranks 5th out of 50 states in innovation and technology, climbing from 7th in 2005 and 8th in 2006.
"Technological advancement is essential to economic growth because it increases productivity, introduces new products and services and enhances the quality of life for all residents," Governor Rell said. "Connecticut can build on its strong showing in the report's Financial Resources category, where we improved, and on the vibrant research and development industry that continues to grow in our state."
The report ranks Connecticut 3rd in technology output per worker and technology share of Gross State Product. It finds that Connecticut ranks 6th in Human Capital because of our high number of science and engineering PhD degrees and the percent of our workforce with college degrees. The report also points out that Connecticut ranks 40th in growth in Human Capital, primarily due to declines in 8th grade National Assessment of Education Progress math scores.
Benchmarking Connecticut 2007, CERC's third annual publication, measures Connecticut against other states in Technology, Financial and Capital Resources, Entrepreneurial and Business Vitality, Human Capital and Global Links. While the state's growth in the areas other than Financial and Capital Resources have declined, the concentration of these sectors relative to other states remain high - and states with higher concentration levels generally have lower growth.
For example, Connecticut is ranked 40th for growth in the technology sector, but 3rd overall in technology concentration. In R&D, the state is 12th in growth and 2nd in concentration. Other key findings include:
The CERC report also highlights areas where the state has made progress in the last two years, such as the Department of Economic and Community Development's work on an economic development strategy, investments in stem cell research, the University of Connecticut's incubator program, and the creation of the Office of the Business Advocate. Also included in the publication are recommendations for the future, many of which dovetail with Governor Rell policy initiatives like responsible growth, investments in nanotechnology and workforce development.
Specific to workforce development, Governor Rell proposed in her mid-term budget $300,000 for an engineering loan reimbursement program. The program will offer reimbursements of outstanding student loans to engineers who work in the state. Also, $125,000 has been proposed to create the "Green Collar Jobs" program, which will train students in energy efficient building, construction and retrofit work and energy technology.
"This report is encouraging and it emphasizes that Connecticut must focus on growth," Governor Rell said. "If Connecticut is a focal point for innovation, expansion and achievement, job creation and retention will follow."