As I begin my second year as governor, I want to share more of the progress we have made statewide. I have filled my cabinet with people who are working with me to provide strong, creative leadership and to do the state’s work with integrity, efficiency and inclusiveness. Some of the progress we’ve made includes:
To create more jobs, we received multi-million dollar federal grants, funding by the Legislature and public-private partnerships to launch new programs in high-demand areas. These include information technology and “smart grid” energy industry training and small business and community-based economic development.
To support entrepreneurs and business development, the HI Growth Initiative has graduated more than 50 startups and generated more than $46 million in Hawai‘i-based venture capital for local companies. We’ve also received among the largest grants in the nation from the Small Business Administration to encourage more export of Hawai‘i products.
To position Hawai‘i for global film production and other creative media – Two new high-speed broadband facilities have opened with state-of-the-art connectivity. This expansion works with the Hawai‘i Film Studio, production incentives, and the state’s Creative Lab program to develop homegrown talent.
For our media-savvy students, the state recently partnered with Pixar Animation and Khan Academy to field test an online curriculum, “Pixar in A Box.” Forty Hawai‘i middle and high school teachers — the only ones in the nation — are integrating the math, science and storytelling program in their classrooms and will provide feedback to Pixar in the coming years.
In the University of Hawaii system, graduation rates are increasing and more than $30 million in federal grants has been awarded to improve Native Hawaiian student success. Palamanui, the long-awaited campus in Kona, opened in fall 2015. Also, XLR8UH, a launch pad for innovative ideas from UH teams, received $425 million in grants and research funds last year.
In addition, the DOH led a “Fight the Bite” campaign to combat a dengue fever outbreak on Hawai‘i Island. An official from the Centers for Disease Control praised the state and Hawai‘i County for their efforts, calling the coordination “among the best (he’s) seen in many outbreak situations.”
The state will continue to protect the public interest in proposals such as the one involving NextEra. Ongoing “green” initiatives include reducing energy consumption at the state’s 12 airports and making alternative energy more affordable for low- and moderate-income homeowners, renters and others.
The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority recently completed a new $5 million technology hub for West Hawai‘i businesses in marine science and clean energy. The Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion plant — the world’s largest — on Hawai‘i Island was also dedicated.
Top image: The landmark Turtle Bay agreement protects in perpetuity 665 acres of open lands at Kawela Bay on O‘ahu’s North Shore.
Middle image: Legislators hear about job growth in Hawai‘i as part of a High Tech Development Corporation event at the Manoa Innovation Center.
Bottom image: From left: Gov. Ige, CDC representative Dr. Lyle Petersen, DOH Director Dr. Virginia Pressler and Hawai‘i County Civil Defense administrator Darryl Oliveira examine dengue hotspots around Hawai‘i island.
Read more in our January issue: http://governor.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/FINAL-JAN-Capitol-Connection.pdf