Government Spotlight

Government Spotlight

Education's Role In Technology Sector Growth

When the government fosters a commitment to business and academic partnerships, there are two clear winners-students and the economy. Since Bill Owens became Colorado's governor in 1999, his focus has been on this approach to regional economic development.

So, for the third year, Owens has hosted the Colorado Technology Summit. It brings together thousands of CEOs, superintendents, principals, teachers and government officials to discuss how the state's education and other reforms are positioning it for future economic growth. State Secretary of Technology Marc Holtzman says the programs, which aim to develop a quality technology workforce and encourage technology growth, can serve as a national model.

The two major K-12-related initiatives, says Terry Huffine, deputy director of the governor's office of innovation and technology, are:

--High-Tech High Schools Using an idea borrowed from California and replicated across the U.S., these charter high schools are designed to reflect the realities of the 21st century as opposed to the traditional educational model that's based on the Industrial Age. The first school will open in the fall of 2004, and four to five additional schools are planned.

--Colorado Institute of Technology Designed to better align degree programs with business needs, this collaborative group partners with districts to encourage students to pursue technology careers. In the past two years, more than 1,500 K-12 students have participated in summer programs.

Both programs require district administrators to support the philosophy of working in new ways with the higher education and business communities. "We can no longer just look at K-12. We can no longer just look at higher ed. We need to look at the full spectrum," says Huffine. -Melissa Ezarik

www.coloradoit.org


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