Technology has transformed our economy. I have been working hard to strengthen Nevada's high-technology sector by providing our students with the skills they need to succeed in high-technology industries. I am proud to have been honored by organizations such as the Information Technology Industry Council and TechNet for my work in expanding America's and Nevada's innovation economy. In addition, I have been an ardent supporter of the research and development tax credit and have offered legislation to make it permanent. Developers of emerging technologies often need unique incentives in order to make new technologies commercially viable. I remain committed to maintaining our competitiveness and keeping our country at the forefront of technology and innovation.
Bringing New Industries to Nevada
I also have been working to ensure that Nevadans can take advantage of new job opportunities in the high tech fields. I worked to direct funding to establish the Nevada Center on Entrepreneurship and Technology (NCET). Since 2007, NCET has successfully operated in Nevada as an independent, non-profit educating and training hundreds of entrepreneurs. Working with local economic development officials, NCET co-hosts an annual expo-conference with more than 35 CEOs from innovative early stage companies, local small business leaders, 100 venture capitalists and "angel" investors, leading professional service providers, and entrepreneurship public policy advocates. On the national level, I have also supported legislation to provide tax incentives for businesses that train workers here in America and provide scholarships for technical training. Such initiatives will not only strengthen the American workforce but also cement America's global leadership in high technology.
I am also a longtime supporter of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, which represent the federal government's largest small business research and development programs. Small businesses play a key role in spurring innovation and the SBIR and STTR programs provide these businesses with the capital they need to develop the next great technological advancement, and to create jobs to put more Nevadans back to work. After several months of obstruction, I was pleased to pass a long-term reauthorization of these valuable initiatives. I will continue to support programs and policies that help Nevada's high-tech businesses out-innovate our global competitors and stay on the cutting edge of technology.
Action is also needed to keep Nevada’s clean energy economy growing so we can become the central hub of clean energy—the global growth industry of the 21st century. I will continue to do everything to support policies that will drive immediate investment in Nevada’s clean energy future and then Nevada must have a coherent strategy to attract new industries, to forge regional and national alliances, to create markets for our products and renewable power, and to develop our human resources and capacity for innovation.
Preparing Nevada's Students for the Global Economy
Expanding Broadband Access
We must also ensure that the next generation is ready to meet the challenges of a global high technology economy. Students increasingly need computer skills to compete for jobs, but too often schools lack the access to technology or teachers lack the training to empower our students with this knowledge. That is why I am a strong supporter of the e-Rate program, which provides discounted Internet access for schools and libraries. This important program has helped improve academic achievement and continues to provide our schools and teachers with the resources to prepare our students for the global economy. In addition, the Recovery Act provided $650 million to expand technology in the classroom and help teachers better incorporate technology into the curriculum.
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