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House Speaker DeLeo Touts Computer Science, Worker Training In Jobs Bill

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Joined by officials from Google and Microsoft as well as business and labor groups, House Speaker Robert DeLeo on Tuesday introduced economic development legislation that calls for a new emphasis on computer science in education.

Economic Development Committee Co-chairman Rep. Joseph Wagner of Chicopee recalled an emphasis on reading, writing and arithmetic when he was growing up. "Now it's computer science," he said.

The bill calls for a $1.5 million investment, with private sector matching funds, to develop and implement computer science education in public schools.

DeLeo recounted investments in gaming and the life sciences and touted a proposed $2 million investment in the big data and analytics industry, calling it an "exciting sector" with a high potential for job creation.

The bill also directs $2 million to recapitalize an internship "talent pipeline" program and creates an angel investor tax credit capped at $5 million statewide. The bill provides $10 million for the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund and calls for expanded housing programs and a "transformative development fund" aimed at real estate development.

DeLeo said he would have further announcements later in the week about economic development beyond the Rte. 495 area.

The bill includes $15 million for a Middle Skills Job Training Grant Fund, including grants to community colleges and vocational-technical schools for training in information technology and advanced manufacturing.

The House bill does not include Gov. Deval Patrick's proposal to eliminate non-competition agreements in employment contracts that some in the venture capital and high-tech sectors see as stifling to innovation and start-up growth.

To answer critics who suggest the contract clauses prevent former employees from spreading trade secrets, Patrick had also proposed to adopt the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.

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