‘We are really at a real critical juncture in Virginia’s history,’ Gov. McAuliffe tells W&M forum

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Gov. Terry McAuliffe talked about jobs, education, and the future of Virginia’s high-tech economy Tuesday morning at the College of William & Mary’s Data Analytics and Humanities Summit.

The summit was designed to bring students, educators, and business people from across the Commonwealth together to discuss an increasingly challenging job market, public-private partnerships, and skills-based learning for students.

College of William & Mary President W. Taylor Reveley III addressing the conference before the Governor speaks.
College of William & Mary President W. Taylor Reveley III addressing the conference before the Governor speaks.

“The Governor’s also pushing hard to ensure that the state’s educational institutions, at all levels from pre-kindergarten to graduate school, are doing what’s necessary to produce people who are able both to compete in a rapidly changing [and] increasingly sophisticated job market, and who are good citizens for their communities and state,” said President of the College of William & Mary, W. Taylor Reveley III.

The Governor touted his billion dollar investment in education as being the largest investment of the type in state history. The governor added a billion dollars of new investments in the state education system in the Virginia budget Fiscal years 2017-2018 .

“We have got to make sure that our students are getting the education they deserve so that when they graduate they have the skill set to match all these jobs that are out there today,” said McAuliffe.

There are 37,000 job openings in the technology sector, and 17,000 of those openings are cyber technology jobs with a starting salary of $88,000. If the state does not prepare future workers for these jobs they could go to other states, said McAuliffe.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe pauses in-between thoughts on the future of Virginia's high-tech economy.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe pauses in-between thoughts on the future of Virginia’s high-tech economy.

“That’s why we’re redesigning our high schools, they do not work anymore,” he said. “They don’t work in Virginia, they don’t work anywhere in the country. They were built on the industrial revolution model. Big buildings, classrooms with seats, and you got credit for seat time. That is meaningless to a new economy.”

McAuliffe said that the Commonwealth faces a cyber attacks every four secondsThe governor also spoke of a new data partnership with the College of William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

McAuliffe announced the partnership will bring data to the forefront to help citizens track the health of the Chesapeake Bay. The Commonwealth’s Open Data Portal will now feature decades of Chesapeake Bay-related data. The data project will be supported by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

Dr. Mark Luckenbach, Associate Dean of Research and Advisory Services at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science said that there is over 75 years of data on the Chesapeake Bay.

“Building the new Virginia economy is not just about creating new technologies, it is also about using tools, such as data analytics and visualization, to enhance critical decision-making about precious assets like the Bay and its tributaries,” said Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson in a news release announcing the initiative.