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Higher Education

This week, I was asked to testify in our state Capitol before the Joint Committee on the Master Plan for Higher Education.

Seated before a dozen Senators and Assemblymembers, I focused on a simple truth – California’s historically outstanding higher education system – both public and private schools – has fostered our global high-tech leadership. Silicon Valley would not be the world’s innovation capital if not for the excellence of our UC, CSU and Community College systems.

Each year, The Economist magazine rates the top 15 Universities in the world. Silicon Valley and the Bay Area are home to three of the top 15 – Stanford, UC Berkeley and UCSF. Locally, San Jose State University produces more of our engineers, and more of our classroom teachers, than any other university in the region. Our community colleges offer an outstanding education at an affordable price.

And, it is a little known fact that roughly 30 percent of middle-and upper-middle income jobs – both in high-tech and bio-tech – only require a community college degree or a certificate.

As our state looks at another round of budget cuts exceeding $20 billion over the next 18 months, let’s keep in mind the importance of a world-class higher education system. Silicon Valley’s success depends on attracting top talent from around the globe – and that top talent often starts here by coming to our universities to earn their education. Our strength has been in attracting top talent here, educating those talented young people here, and then allowing them to work, innovate and create right here.

Leaders in Sacramento, continue to invest in our future. It is vital to our economy, good for our state budget and important to our citizens, present and future.

That is my view. What do you think? Write them here and contact your state legislators to share your views. Let’s build a future for California even brighter than the one we inherited. Never forget, democracy is a participation sport. Join me. Get into the game.

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