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Looking To 2030, Gov. Parson And Tech Leaders Aim To Put Missouri On Top

Gov. Mike Parson speaks about technology at the Missouri Chamber of Commerce in St. Louis on March 20, 2019.
Andrea Henderson | St. Louis Public Radio
Gov. Mike Parson speaks about technology at the Missouri Chamber of Commerce in St. Louis.

Gov. Mike Parson set the bar high for the technology sector in the state during the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry 2030 Technology Conference on Wednesday.

According to the Missouri Chamber Foundation’s Technology 2030 report, technology is one of the greatest areas of opportunity for the state and is growing in a way that opens the door for Missouri to be recognized as a leader.

Parson challenged tech leaders to make sure Missouri meets the demands of the future through corporate relations and education.

“We are trying to push a larger state of Missouri to make sure that those kids understand how important science, technology, engineering and math is for the future,” Parson said.

Missouri's technology sector will grow by more than nine percent over the next five years. -- Technology 2030 Report

Parson invited corporations to connect with legislators in Jefferson City to make sure their voices are heard by the year 2030.

Within the next decade, Parson said Missouri should add thousands of jobs to the workforce through its technology efforts. The Technology 2030 report ranks Missouri tenth when it comes to diversity in technology — just above California and below Vermont.

The report ranks Missouri sixth in the category of women in the technology workforce.

Anna Hennes of Cerner Corporation said in order for women to fill spaces within the technology sector, businesses must take a holistic approach.

“It’s the statistics that show that without that clear connection that happens even sometimes as early as third grade, girls self select out of STEM fields,” Hennes said. “And when you know that is what you're up against, you have to play the long game for talent. And it takes a coordinated effort and strong intermediary organizations that function between industry and education to make that work.”

Missouri's tech industry earned more than $41 billion in sales revenue in 2017 -- Technology 2030 Report

Looking forward, Parson said he wants to find out what businesses need to better serve the future and give corporations the tools needed to make Missouri a technology incubator and innovator.

“We need to team up with the government and the universities and our education system along with the private sector because you, of all people, know what it is we need in that workforce development and that's why that piece is so important to me and why I keep harping at it and keep pushing at it,” he said.

Follow Andrea Henderson on Twitter @drebjournalist.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org

Andrea covers race, identity & culture at St. Louis Public Radio.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.