Highlighting the connection between a strong Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum and future success in the global workplace, NGA Chair Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano and NGA Vice Chair Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty joined members of the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) in a roundtable discussion at the Math and Science Academy (MSA) in Woodbury.

This visit is part of Gov. Napolitano's NGA Chair's Initiative Innovation America. Through this initiative, governors are encouraging innovation by focusing on the importance of providing a quality math and science education, helping colleges and universities better prepare the workers of tomorrow and promoting investment in businesses and technologies of the future.

Gov. Napolitano and Gov. Pawlenty, co-chairs of the Innovation America Task Force, spoke with MSA students and faculty and MHTA board members about the importance of STEM education, having well-trained math and science teachers and integrating technology into the classroom. MSA, a charter school that offers free tuition to any student in Minnesota, has established a unique approach to teaching and learning by focusing on a math and science curriculum, balanced with a strong humanities and arts program, that meets the needs of the 21st century workplace.

"In our global economy, American students, workers and businesses face new and fierce competition from around the world," said Gov. Napolitano. "The United States' competitiveness in this new knowledge-based world economy will depend on its ability to adapt. Governors are working together to raise standards, strengthen curriculum, improve teaching and motivate more students to pursue careers in science and technology."

"This school is a shining example of how a strong math and science curriculum can be used to enhance our economic competitiveness and improve the innovative capacity of our states," said Gov. Pawlenty. "To maximize our strengths in this environment, governors must partner with the business and academic communities to ensure our students are ready for the challenges of the future."

The MHTA recently partnered with the Minnesota Department of Education to host a statewide "STEM Summit" to build community and statewide partnerships to encourage more students to take STEM courses and pursue careers in STEM fields.

This visit to Minnesota is one of a series of trips Gov. Napolitano is making to states to learn about innovative "best practices" and how those successes might be replicated across the country. For more information on the Innovation America initiative and the work of the NGA Innovation America Task Force, visit www.nga.org.