Working together critical for MassSeptember 18, 2017
Working together critical for Mass.UPDATED: 09/15/2017 09:04:04 AM EDT
DEVENS -- Massachusetts is No. 1, according to U.S. News and World Report.
The ranking is based on factors like health care, education and economy that are influenced by state policies and practices. The state is building strong partnerships between it, local communities and private industries, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito told municipal and business leaders at a Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting Thursday morning.
Every day, the state invests in its communities, people and economy, she said. The work is accomplished through bipartisan effort in a civil and respectful manner.
Partnerships throughout the region make things happen.
Regional efforts, like Cross Town Connect, a transportation initiative to encourage economic development in the Routes 2 and 495 corridor, was the result of a collaboration of towns and private industry.
A regional plan means a group is prepared and has a vision, she said.
The U.S News and World Report rankings put Massachusetts in the top slot for education.
The private and community colleges and a strong kindergarten through 12th grade school system have created a talent pool for employers, Polito said.
The challenge is that technology is changing the workplace, she said. A state workforce skills group is now in place.
"A lot of education is focused on college readiness," Polito said.
What is lacking, she added, are people with the skills needed to go right from school into a job.
"Putting the workplace in the classroom is important," she said. When students use new technology, they learn problem-solving skills and teamwork while having fun.
Just as important is putting kids in the workplace. A student intern is more likely to remain in the state as a worker, she said.
"Are you feeling positive?" she said.
A chorus of quiet yesses and nodding heads answered in the affirmative.
State investment under the Baker administration is paying off for communities across the state, not just in Boston, she said. She mentioned some local projects.
A recent MassWorks grant to build sewer infrastructure in Groton resulted in planned new and expanded businesses. The town will see increased tax revenues.
The state funded the repair of the Main Street Bridge in Shirley. The repair is critical for public safety and economic reasons.
A revamp of state regulations, removing the 25 percent of the regulations that were outdated, help businesses. It is now easier for local wineries and breweries to serve tastings.
The state is working to reduce opioid misuse. "This is an incredible force working against us," Polito said.
Law enforcement is one part of the solution, she said. "We have a plan."
Health care is another. A 2016 law limits the amount of addictive medicine that can prescribed. Since then, 45 other states have taken similar steps with the urging of Gov. Charlie Baker, she said.
The state continues to work on providing local aid tied to revenue growth and funding for retiree benefits, she said.
"We will continue to do good things and be that No. 1 state we all love," she said.
Follow Anne O'Connor on Twitter @a1oconnor.
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