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Arkansas Governor speaks on computer science education as lawmakers pass CHIPS Act

In his weekly speech, Governor Asa Hutchinson reviewed his time as chair of the National Governors Association, where he prioritized computer science education.

ARKANSAS, USA — Governor Asa Hutchinson reflected on the importance of computer science education in his recent weekly address.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has accepted the position as chair of the National Governor’s Association in the summer of 2021.

In 2022, he passed the gavel to his successor at the NGA’s annual summer meeting.

Governor Hutchinson noted that his time as chair allowed him to showcase Arkansas and its computer science initiative.

The Arkansas Kids Can Code initiative was launched in 2015, making Arkansas nationally recognized for its computer science education.

Hutchinson has made it his priority to share his vision through a computer science education compact.

“On my last day as chair, 50 governors of states and territories, which is a record, signed the computer science education compact,” said the Arkansas Governor. “By signing, the governors are committed to building plans to expand computer science in schools and funding the expansion so we can create new pathways to success after high school.”

By 2022, Arkansas is one of 3 states in the nation that will require students to take a computer science class to graduate.

With Arkansas leading the way in computer science education, the governor along with the education department put together a toolkit to help other states.

Governor Hutchinson also mentioned the words of Patrick Gelsinger, the CEO of Intel, who spoke about the value of the initiative.

“Mr. Gelsinger pointed out that modern life is becoming more digital, and everything digital runs on semiconductors,” said Governor Hutchinson. “Manufacturing semiconductors requires talent and money, so we need to provide a first-rate education for our youth.”

While the governors focused on education, the house and senate passed the CHIPS Act, short for creating helpful incentives to produce semiconductors for America.

The CHIPS and Science Act includes nearly 52 billion dollars in subsidies for US companies that produce computer chips, 24 billion in tax credits for new manufacturing facilities, as well as tens of billions of dollars to fund research and development.

“We will restore America to the status of world leader in semiconductor production and power American science and research for generations to come,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The bill has received bipartisan support from governors, the senate, and the house, but some Republicans are concerned that it will not do enough to prevent Chinese investment and call it “corporate welfare”.

“I support making chips in the US,” said Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington. “But we cannot lead a new era of innovation through massive government subsidies.”

But supporters and the Biden administration say the bill is critical to competing with other countries and ultimately lowering prices.

President Biden said he looks forward to signing this bill because he believes it will help grow our economy from the bottom to the middle for working families across the country.

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