After a meeting today with Governor Gary Locke, a group of state legislators and leaders from the local business community, Congressman Adam Smith (D-09) pledged to continue his work to establish the Technology Institute at the University of Washington-Tacoma.
"In order to maintain and expand our vibrant economy, there is a clear need to establish a technology institute — I will do everything I can to make sure the institute becomes a reality," said Smith. "Given the strong support from all parties at this meeting, I'm very encouraged that we will realize this goal. We are developing a very robust partnership that would bring to bear federal, state and private funding to initiate the Institute."
Smith is working closely with Congressman Norm Dicks, Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn and other members of the Washington congressional delegation to identify and secure federal support for the institute. The private sector and the State of Washington have also made substantial investments in the development of the Institute concept.
Recently, Smith spoke with Army Secretary Louis Caldera in an effort to secure $500,000 from the Army to fund a study of the institute. Last week, Smith and Rep. Norm Dicks sent a joint letter to the Secretary in support of planning funds for the institute.
The planning process would develop a strategy for defining the role of the Army in the development of the institute and establishing linkages to industry, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories and the University of Washington-Tacoma. Smith believes the institute would provide an incubator and a proving ground for some of the Army's advanced technologies that will be central to the success of ongoing Transformation efforts. Also, the program will offer educational and professional opportunities that will assist the Army in recruitment and retention of personnel.
Should the partnership go forward, it would provide a forum for collaboration among the U.S. Army, Washington's cutting edge tech companies, UW's leading computer science department and the Pacific Northwest National Labs. In the coming decade, the Institute could result in up to 1,000 new technology graduates per year.
Throughout his career in Congress, Smith has worked on behalf of economic development in the South Sound region, particularly on bringing high-technology jobs to the area. He has convened two technology summits focused on workforce development, education and other technology issues.