2013 CSG National Conference

According to Cameron Evans, Microsoft’s U.S. Education Chief Technology Offer, on any given day the corporation has 8,000 vacant jobs due to the lack of a skilled workforce.  These are not highly technical jobs but those that can’t be filled by recent graduates due to the skills gap especially in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. 

Overhauling education, reform, transformation … what do the words really mean to state policymakers? This session addressed investments in qualified personnel, effective programs, increased expectations and strategies to build job competencies and support economic development. Attendees Learned how to develop transformative policy that is aligned, scalable, sustainable and provides the financial resources for implementation with fidelity.

With Washington deadlocked, the onus of action and policy innovation is increasingly moving to state capitols. A recent cover story in The Economist magazine championed state efforts in fostering innovation, building infrastructure and reforming education as “the essence of the America that works.” Given the clear need to ensure that states have the freedom to serve as the laboratories of democracy envisioned by our founders, CSG has launched a Federalism Task Force to conduct a two-year effort to explore options for improving the state-federal relationship. The task force held its first hearing in conjunction with CSG’s 2013 National Conference in Kansas City, Mo.

A host of market forces has raised concerns about the uncertain future for the nation’s electric grid. Growing renewable energy capacity and energy efficiency improvements, combined with smart grid capabilities, however, can provide new options that can improve resiliency, reliability and financial incentives with distributed generation technologies. This session featured energy and grid experts who shared their expertise from a federal, regional, private sector and academic perspective and explored these complex issues before policymakers. They also discussed states' roles in meeting future challenges and opportunities facing the nation’s transmission and distribution system.

The explosion of innovation has the potential to change the face of medicine, improving lives along the way. Speakers traced the path of new medications from discovery in the laboratory to successful commercialization by private-sector companies to life-saving treatment in health care settings. Mr. Bagger,V.P. of Celgene Corp., addressed the committee and emphasized the value of pharmaceutical research and development to the overall U.S. economy. Dr. Jensen, director of the KU Cancer Center, discussed the role a small recurring state budget line item played in helping the Center achieve its National Cancer Insititute designation.