One day after Gov. Jay Nixon kicked off the first economic recovery project in the nation, the Governor today outlined his Transform Missouri Initiative, a program designed to develop Missouri's human capital, enhance our transportation and information infrastructure and spark scientific and technological growth in the state.
"The people of Missouri elected me to bring about fundamental economic change in our state, and that's exactly what we're doing with the Transform Missouri Initiative," Gov. Nixon said. "By openly and responsibly investing the federal economic recovery dollars we receive, we will immediately create good-paying jobs here in Missouri and jumpstart our economy to compete in the 21st Century. Over the coming weeks and months, we will announce a series of projects to upgrade our infrastructure, invest in science and technology and expand our research and development of alternative sources of energy. Each of these projects will lead quickly and directly to new jobs here in Missouri, but they'll also transform our economy to grow and thrive in the years to come."
Gov. Nixon's Transform Missouri Initiative invests Missouri's federal recovery dollars in three overarching and related areas, each designed specifically to create jobs now and spark long-term economic growth:
1. Developing our human capital
To turn this economy around, Gov. Nixon believes that Missouri's first investment must be in developing the knowledge, skills and abilities of the state's workforce. That's why the Transform Missouri Initiative invests heavily in modernization of our elementary and secondary education facilities and to make technology more readily available in every Missouri school. Transform Missouri also provides tens of millions of dollars for worker training and re-training and summer work and job-training programs for young Missourians.
2. Creating jobs by enhancing our transportation and information infrastructure
Enhancing Missouri's information and transportation infrastructure is another major component of Transform Missouri. Gov. Nixon's initiative will compete for funds to bring the information superhighway - high-speed, broadband Internet - to every corner of the state. In addition, Transform Missouri includes more than hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade the state's roads, bridges and highways to enhance commerce and trade between the state's rural and urban areas. Transform Missouri allocates an additional millions for major mass transportation projects to make travel in urban areas faster, cheaper and more energy efficient.
While these projects are, in themselves, long-term investments in economic growth, they also will require the creation of thousands of Missouri jobs to bring them to fruition. Just yesterday, Gov. Nixon kicked off the first of these construction projects on Route 17 at Tuscumbia, Mo. Officials with the Missouri Department of Transportation estimate that the traditional infrastructure projects funded by Transform Missouri will create an estimated 14,000 jobs in the state and add $2.4 billion to the state's economy.
3. Attracting the jobs of the future through science and emerging technology
Gov. Nixon's Transform Missouri Initiative invests significant resources in the life sciences, new energy and high-tech manufacturing. The Initiative allocates job-training and higher education funds to prepare Missouri's workforce to grow and expand in the industries of the future. Under Transform Missouri, recovery funds will pay for specialized training and Missouri will partner with life science leaders to bring even greater practical and academic growth to the sector that is already curing diseases, feeding American families and producing world-altering research.
Missouri also will become a leader in energy conservation and generation. The Transform Missouri Initiative will direct tens of millions of dollars toward the weatherization of government, industry and individual consumers that will save hundreds of millions over the long-haul while simultaneously employing hundreds of Missourians in doing the work. In addition, the Initiative will position Missourians at the forefront of developing, manufacturing and installing the technology that will help make the nation energy independent - components such as wind turbines, solar panels and biomass burners.
"Missouri is home to the hardest-working, most productive folks in the country," Gov. Nixon said. "But during these difficult economic times, too many Missourians are unemployed, and too many families are struggling to make ends meet. We're going to maximize the benefit of these federal dollars to get Missourians back to work now, and to bolster our economy for the years to come. We're going to train our workers for the jobs of tomorrow, help small businesses grow and attract high-tech, high-paying industries to our state. Today, we're declaring Missouri ‘open for businesses.' Our economic future begins right now."