Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Onorato: Spur Economy via Higher Education

At CCAC this morning, Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato released the first component of his plan to jump-start the state economy. He says higher education is the key to innovation and quality job creation.

As governor, he would provide two grants for matching funds of $25 million each for industry-sponsored research into new technology and for colleges and universities seeking federal research funds.

Pennsylvania recently got an "F" for college affordability on the National Report Card for Higher Education. Onorato would change that with more student grants that could be used at any institution in the state. When he was the first in his family to go to college, he said the many state and federal grants available then enabled him to graduate with a small, easily paid off debt, but that's no longer the case for students today.

Onorato says his policies would increase the number of higher degrees awarded to state residents by 25,700, or 6%, over the next 4 years.

Upcoming policy papers relating to economic development will address Onorato's plans to improve K thru 12 education and to promote a more business-friendly environment.

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