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

In his weekly address, 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 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 show off 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 made it his priority to share his vision through a computer science education compact

"By my final day as chair, 50 governors of states and territories, which was a record, had signed the computer science education compact," said the Arkansas Governor. "By signing, governors were committing to establish plans to expand computer science in schools and to fund the expansion so that we can create new paths to success after high school. "

In 2022, Arkansas was one of 3 states in the country that requires its students to take a computer science class to graduate. 

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

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

“Mr. Gelsinger noted that modern life is becoming more digital, and everything digital runs on semiconductors," said Governor Hutchinson. "The manufacturing of semiconductors requires talent and money, which is why we must provide a first-rate education for our young people.” 

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

The CHIPS and Science Act includes around 52 billion dollars in subsidies for US companies producing 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 return America to world leader status in semiconductor production and power American science and research for generations to come,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  

The bill received bipartisan support from the governors, the senate, and the house, but some republicans were concerned saying it doesn’t go far enough to prevent investment in China and calling 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 compete with other countries and ultimately drive down prices. 

President Biden said that he looked forward to signing this bill as he believes it will aid in the growth of our economy from the bottom up and middle out for working families across the country. 

Credit: CBS

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