Legislature(2017 - 2018)CAPITOL 106

01/25/2018 12:00 PM LABOR & COMMERCE

Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as
Download Video part 1. <- Right click and save file as

Audio Topic
12:01:48 PM Start
12:03:15 PM Presentation: Workforce Readiness, by Ryan Harkins, Director of Government Affairs, Microsoft
01:01:22 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Joint with House EDC TELECONFERENCED
Presentation: Workforce Readiness by Ryan
Harkins, Director of Government Affairs,
Microsoft
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
                         JOINT MEETING                                                                                        
          HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                         
               HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                        January 25, 2018                                                                                        
                           11:48 a.m.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Sam Kito, Chair                                                                                                 
 Representative Adam Wool, Vice Chair                                                                                           
 Representative Chris Birch                                                                                                     
 Representative Gary Knopp                                                                                                      
 Representative Colleen Sullivan-Leonard                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Harriet Drummond, Chair                                                                                         
 Representative Jennifer Johnston                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Andy Josephson                                                                                                  
 Representative Louise Stutes                                                                                                   
 Representative Mike Chenault (alternate)                                                                                       
 Representative Bryce Edgmon (alternate)                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
 Representative Justin Parish, Vice Chair                                                                                       
 Representative Zach Fansler                                                                                                    
 Representative Ivy Spohnholz                                                                                                   
 Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                      
 Representative David Talerico                                                                                                  
 Representative Lora Reinbold (alternate)                                                                                       
 Representative Geran Tarr (alternate)                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION:  WORKFORCE READINESS                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
RYAN HARKINS, Director                                                                                                          
Public Policy                                                                                                                   
Microsoft Corporation                                                                                                           
Seattle, Washington                                                                                                             
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Offered   a  PowerPoint  Presentation  on                                                             
Computer Science Education & Workforce Development.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
12:01:48 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SAM  KITO called the joint  meeting of the House  Labor and                                                             
Commerce  Standing Committee  and  the  House Education  Standing                                                               
Committee  to  order  at  11:48   a.m.    Representatives  Knopp,                                                               
Sullivan-Leonard,  and Kito  from the  House  Labor and  Commerce                                                               
Standing   Committee  were   present  at   the  call   to  order.                                                               
Representatives Birch and Wool from  the House Labor and Commerce                                                               
Standing  Committee  and  Representatives Johnston  and  Drummond                                                               
from  the  House  Education Standing  Committee  arrived  as  the                                                               
meeting was in progress.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
^PRESENTATION:   Workforce Readiness,  By Ryan  Harkins, Director                                                               
of Government Affairs, Microsoft                                                                                                
               PRESENTATION:  Workforce Readiness                                                                           
                                                                                                                              
12:03:15 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KITO announced  that the only order of business  would be a                                                               
presentation  entitled "Workforce  Readiness,"  by Ryan  Harkins,                                                               
Director of Government Affairs, Microsoft Corporation.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
12:03:57 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
RYAN  HARKINS, Director,  Public  Policy, Microsoft  Corporation,                                                               
offered a  PowerPoint Presentation on Computer  Science Education                                                               
& Workforce  Development.   He said he  would talk  about trends,                                                               
challenges, and  opportunities in  workforce development  and the                                                               
education and skills necessary to  secure the jobs that are being                                                               
created  this century.    He  said he  would  like  to hear  what                                                               
Alaska's  challenges are  in the  workforce, and  he invited  the                                                               
committee to ask questions at  any point during the presentation.                                                               
In response to a question  from Representative Birch, he said his                                                               
presentation is not  geared toward any product but  to provide an                                                               
overview of trends and talk about  what other states are doing to                                                               
expand access  to computer science  education and  other training                                                               
programs.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HARKINS stated  that Microsoft  Corporation's mission  is to                                                               
empower every  person and organization  on the planet  to achieve                                                               
more,  and the  corporation  provides the  tools  to help  people                                                               
accomplish  their goals.   He  said the  U.S. is  facing a  major                                                               
workforce crisis:   there are  too few people with  the necessary                                                               
skills to fill industry jobs.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
12:08:19 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARKINS  talked about the first  industrial revolution [1760-                                                               
1840],  as shown  on  slides 3  and 4  of  the PowerPoint,  which                                                               
brought the  Transcontinental Railroad, which shortened  the time                                                               
it took  to cross the  states from over  three months to  about a                                                               
week.  He  said the second industrial  revolution [1870-1940], as                                                               
shown  on  slide  5,  brought the  telegraph  and  telephone  and                                                               
allowed mass  production.  Slide 6  shows New York City  in 1905,                                                               
when  it took  100,000  horses to  keep the  city  moving and  25                                                               
percent of  the country's agricultural  output went just  to feed                                                               
the horses.  People had jobs  caring for and training the horses,                                                               
cleaning up after the horses,  and driving carriages through city                                                               
streets.   The same  intersection in  New York  City is  shown in                                                               
1925,  on slide  7,  which shows  that the  horses  were by  then                                                               
replaced  by   automobiles.     All  those   equine-related  jobs                                                               
disappeared  and  were   replaced  by  new  jobs.     He  stated,                                                               
"Innovation made  the economy more  dynamic; and so,  while there                                                               
was great  upheaval, there was  also great opportunity;  and it's                                                               
not  all  that dissimilar  to  what  we're  seeing today."    Mr.                                                               
Harkins said  the third industrial revolution  [1960-2015], shown                                                               
on  slides  8-10,  was  brought on  by  the  microprocessor,  the                                                               
personal computer (PC).   He said Bill Gates'  ambitious goal was                                                               
to place a  PC on every desk  in every home; now  there are smart                                                               
phones "in every hand and in every pocket," he said.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
12:11:22 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARKINS said  all this has led to what  some call "the fourth                                                               
industrial  revolution,"  as  shown  on slides  11-18,  which  is                                                               
primarily Cloud  computing - the  use of massive data  centers to                                                               
collect  and  process  huge   volumes  of  information  extremely                                                               
quickly.   He said Cloud  computing is transforming  many aspects                                                               
of   society,   including  manufacturing,   education,   finance,                                                               
government, healthcare,  and even agriculture.   He said  this is                                                               
also creating a  lot of angst, because jobs that  used to provide                                                               
solid, middleclass  incomes have disappeared and  other jobs will                                                               
disappear in the future.  For  example, he indicated that the use                                                               
of  autonomous vehicles  in the  future  will make  jobs such  as                                                               
long-distance truck driving and taxicab driving obsolete.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARKINS said  the good news is that many  new jobs are coming                                                               
available.   The number one  source of new  jobs today is  in the                                                               
computer field.   He clarified  that these  jobs are not  only in                                                               
the  technology  industry  but   in  every  industry  across  the                                                               
country, because "every organization today  has a need for people                                                               
with computing skills."  The  ability to use PowerPoint and Excel                                                               
are skills that are in demand,  he said.  Further, jobs are being                                                               
created for  those who can  write software and  develop hardware,                                                               
for instance.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
12:14:49 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SULLIVAN-LEONARD  asked  how Alaska  compares  to                                                               
other states in  meeting the demands Mr. Harkins  spoke about, as                                                               
well as "being computer-savvy."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HARKINS indicated  that the  answer  is on  slide 19,  which                                                               
shows a line graph depicting job  growth in the U.S. economy.  As                                                               
shown  on slide  23, he  relayed  that currently  there are  over                                                               
500,000 [unfilled]  computer jobs, yet  each year there  are only                                                               
about 43,000  graduates with the requisite  degree or credentials                                                               
necessary to fill  those positions.  He said  this information is                                                               
available  on Code.org,  a website  he described  as a  nonprofit                                                               
advocacy  organization  whose  mission  is to  expand  access  to                                                               
computer science  education.  As  shown on slide 24,  he informed                                                               
the committee  that currently in  Alaska there are over  655 open                                                               
computing jobs, which is almost two  and a half times the state's                                                               
average  demand,  yet on  average  Alaska  is producing  only  25                                                               
computer science  graduates each year.   He said computer-related                                                               
jobs in  Alaska pay,  on average,  $85,000.   He said  just about                                                               
every other state is also facing the same gap.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARKINS referred  to slide 25 and said the  information on it                                                               
was sourced  from the Brookings Institute.   He said it  is clear                                                               
that computer  science education pays  off in  the long run.   As                                                               
shown on  the slide, the  average high school graduate  will earn                                                               
about $580,000  in his/her lifetime; college  graduates will earn                                                               
about double that in their  lives; and computer science graduates                                                               
will earn incomes  40 percent higher than the  average incomes of                                                               
college graduates.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
12:17:57 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARKINS  addressed the issue  of the  gap [slide 26]  and, as                                                               
shown  on slide  27, stated  that the  majority of  schools don't                                                               
teach computer  science.   He stated that  90 percent  of parents                                                               
want  their  children  to  study computer  science  but  only  40                                                               
percent  of schools  teach  computer programming.    Part of  the                                                               
challenge  is that  there are  not enough  qualified teachers  to                                                               
teach computer  science.  He  then covered information  on slides                                                               
28-33, regarding  advanced placement  (AP) Computer  Science exam                                                               
participation.    He  said  the  trend for  taking  the  exam  is                                                               
increasing.    Last  year, countrywide,  there  were  just  under                                                               
100,000 [students] that  took the exam, which is  a huge increase                                                               
over where  it was in  previous years.   He noted that  while the                                                               
numbers  are not  optimal, they  are increasing:   in  2017, just                                                               
over 20,000  underrepresented minorities and 26,000  females took                                                               
the exam.   In Alaska, 68  students took the exam,  five of which                                                               
were underrepresented  minorities, and 17 females  in Alaska took                                                               
the exam.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
12:20:34 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KNOPP questioned  whether  not only  the lack  of                                                               
computer science  classes in  kindergarten through  twelfth grade                                                               
(K-12) but also  the cost of attaining a four-year  degree may be                                                               
detrimental  to the  goal of  producing more  workers skilled  in                                                               
computer science.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HARKINS said  that is  correct  that traditionally  computer                                                               
science skills have  not been taught in K-12.   He said access to                                                               
college  education  should be  expanded  to  those who  need  it;                                                               
however,  not  everyone goes  to  college,  and there  are  other                                                               
things  that can  be done,  such as  post-secondary training,  so                                                               
that people  can acquire  the necessary skills  to fill  the jobs                                                               
being  created.   Nevertheless,  he said  the  numbers show  that                                                               
getting  a post-graduate  degree  in computer  science does  "pay                                                               
off."                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
12:24:08 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  asked Mr.  Harkins  to  bridge the  gap                                                               
between the charts on the slides  that show the numbers of people                                                               
who  have  taken AP  computer  science  exams and  those  earning                                                               
computer science degrees in college.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARKINS responded  that data shows when  children are exposed                                                               
to  computer science  in high  school, if  not earlier,  they are                                                               
more  likely to  major in  computer science  in college;  this is                                                               
especially  true  for  underrepresented minorities  and  females.                                                               
The number  of AP exams  being taken connects  the two.   He said                                                               
there is  also a  need to  provide skills to  those not  going to                                                               
college,  and that  can  be through  high  school curriculum  and                                                               
programs  that  provide  additional  training  and  certification                                                               
after high  school.  He  stated Microsoft Corporation  would like                                                               
to see all the above.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
12:27:32 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WOOL  related  that  his  daughter  learned  some                                                               
coding while participating in robotics  in elementary school.  He                                                               
asked  Mr. Harkins  if he  thinks subjects,  such as  traditional                                                               
mathematics or others, that are  rarely applied post-high school,                                                               
are overemphasized.  He then asked  Mr. Harkins to comment on how                                                               
the rapidly changing  field of computer science  may affect those                                                               
studying it.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HARKINS  said it  is  fun  to  be  around children  who  are                                                               
learning  computer science  skills  for the  first  time, and  he                                                               
expressed hope that the experiences  would encourage more females                                                               
to enter  the field of  computer science.   He said he  would not                                                               
suggest  replacing   traditional  mathematics   instruction  with                                                               
computer science  but rather to  add additional  computer science                                                               
instruction to science,  technology, engineering, and mathematics                                                               
(STEM) instruction.   He allowed  that perhaps there is  always a                                                               
need  to  provide  practical  application  of  knowledge  to  the                                                               
workplace experience,  and he  thinks computer  science education                                                               
can be  a part of that.   Mr. Harkins said  Microsoft Corporation                                                               
encourages  states to  develop computer  science  standards in  a                                                               
curriculum.   He reported  that Arkansas was  the first  state in                                                               
the country  to adopt K-12  computer science standards, and  as a                                                               
result has seen a 350 percent  increase in the number of students                                                               
taking computer science.   He said there are 12  states that have                                                               
adopted computer science standards  and several other states that                                                               
are working to do  so.  There is a model  available for states to                                                               
use that was developed by  the national Computer Science Teachers                                                               
Association  (CSTA),  Code.org,  and  others.   He  related  that                                                               
Virginia has become  the first state in the Union  to require all                                                               
K-12  teachers   to  incorporate  computer  science   into  their                                                               
classrooms.    To Representative  Wool's  last  comment, he  said                                                               
learning  languages, such  as Java  and C++,  is relevant  to the                                                               
marketplace today.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
12:32:45 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARKINS  returned to his  PowerPoint presentation,  to slides                                                               
35 and 36, and  said one thing states can do to  close the gap is                                                               
to make  computer science count  as a  core math or  science high                                                               
school  graduation credit  rather  than being  just an  elective.                                                               
Pointing to slide  37, he noted that as of  today, 36 states have                                                               
made  computer  science  count.    As  shown  on  slide  37,  the                                                               
remaining  states  to make  computer  science  count are  Alaska,                                                               
[Hawai'i,  Montana,  Wyoming,  South  Dakota,  Nebraska,  Kansas,                                                               
Iowa,    Missouri,   Mississippi,    Pennsylvania,   Connecticut,                                                               
Massachusetts, and  Maine].   As shown on  slide 38,  Mr. Harkins                                                               
said another  way to  close the  gap is to  expand the  supply of                                                               
computer   science  teachers.      He   relayed  that   Microsoft                                                               
Corporation  has a  program  called  "Technology, Education,  and                                                               
Literacy  in Schools"  (TEALS), which  places software  engineers                                                               
into  the  classroom  with  high   school  teachers  to  co-teach                                                               
computer science.   As shown  on slide  40, Mr. Harkins  said the                                                               
program started with  one TEAL volunteer and 12  students, in one                                                               
school, in  2009-10, and in  2017-18 [has 1,050  TEALS volunteers                                                               
and]  12,000  students,  [in  349  schools,]  in  29  states  and                                                               
Washington, D.C.   The  volunteers come  not only  from Microsoft                                                               
Corporation  but also  from many  other technological  companies.                                                               
He said  the goal is  to bring teachers  to the point  where they                                                               
can teach  computer science  on their own.   The  best volunteers                                                               
are  from the  community,  but for  those  communities that  lack                                                               
resources, Microsoft  Corporation has found a  way for volunteers                                                               
to connect to the classrooms using Skype.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
12:38:16 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HARKINS directed  attention to  slides  41 and  42 and  said                                                               
other ways to  close the gap are to  create teacher certification                                                               
pathways and  computer science standards.   Slide 43 shows  a map                                                               
of the U.S.,  with 12 states depicted in purple  as those with K-                                                               
12 computer  science standards and  the remaining  states without                                                               
the  standards depicted  in  gray.   He  showed  slide 44,  which                                                               
highlights the need  to invest in career connected  learning.  He                                                               
said  Arkansas  combined   traditional  vocational  training  and                                                               
academic pathways  into the same  standards to help  all students                                                               
whether they continue  to college or not.  As  shown on slide 45,                                                               
he  noted  that  Microsoft  Corporation   has  a  program  called                                                               
"Imagine  Academy," in  which students  and adults  can gain  new                                                               
skills and  earn industry certification to  demonstrate they have                                                               
those  skills.    He  said the  corporation  is  also  developing                                                               
another track  to teach  people how to  use and  manipulate data.                                                               
He offered  his understanding that  Imagine Academy is now  in 21                                                               
states and works  with state and local governments  to ensure the                                                               
program meets with their priorities.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
12:42:16 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARKINS  noted that Microsoft Corporation  acquired LinkedIn,                                                               
which  is   a  social   networking  website   for  professionals.                                                               
LinkedIn  has resources  that allow  users to  identify within  a                                                               
community what jobs  are available and what skills  are needed to                                                               
qualify for  the jobs.   LinkedIn  also has  "a ton  of workforce                                                               
data" related to jobs posted,  profiles of users, and skill sets,                                                               
and the  company put together  an economic graph, which  can help                                                               
provide a  snapshot of  the kinds of  job opportunities  that are                                                               
available  in  a  particular  community,  which  can  be  helpful                                                               
information  for policy  makers  trying to  figure  out where  to                                                               
direct resources.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARKINS  talked about Microsoft  Software &  Systems Academy,                                                               
which is  shown on  slide 48.   He said it  is a  technology boot                                                               
camp for  those who are soon  leaving military service.   It is a                                                               
five-week   program   teaching   skills  in   Cloud   application                                                               
development, cyber security,  [database and business intelligence                                                               
administration, and  server and Cloud administration],  and there                                                               
are  mentors involved.    He  said there  are  240 companies,  in                                                               
addition to Microsoft Corporation,  that hire graduates from this                                                               
program.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
12:45:21 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HARKINS, bringing  attention to  slides 49-54,  said another                                                               
issue  Microsoft  Corporation  has   been  working  on  is  world                                                               
broadband gap.  He reported  that 34 million Americans today lack                                                               
access  to  broadband,   23  million  of  those   live  in  rural                                                               
communities.   What may have  been an inconvenience 10  years ago                                                               
is now  "a huge opportunity  gap."   He said it  is prohibitively                                                               
expensive to  bring broadband  to an area;  putting fiber  in the                                                               
ground costs  $30-$40 grand per mile.   He surmised it  would not                                                               
even  be  possible  in  some  communities in  Alaska.    He  said                                                               
Microsoft Corporation  launched a new rural  broadband initiative                                                               
[last] summer,  which uses  television (TV)  "white spaces."   He                                                               
explained  that there  is a  base station  consisting of  a radio                                                               
tower among other things, and  that is connected to the Internet,                                                               
and then a  signal can be broadcast  over an area of  about a 10-                                                               
mile radius.   The  advantage of  this system  is that  it's much                                                               
less  expensive to  get broadband  up and  running.   The signals                                                               
travel further and  go through obstacles much  better than higher                                                               
frequency signals  like cellular companies  use.  He  added, "And                                                               
so,  literally, if  you're  in a  home  or a  school  or a  small                                                               
business on  the other end, you  have a radio, which  can receive                                                               
the signal  from the  radio antenna, translate  it into  Wi-Fi in                                                               
your house,  and you simply open  your laptop and connect  to the                                                               
Internet the way folks in Anchorage do."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
12:48:28 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARKINS, in response to a  question from Chair Kito, said the                                                               
Internet speed  resulting from TV  white space is  what Microsoft                                                               
Corporation  calls  "good  enough."   The  Federal  Communication                                                               
Commission's (FCC's) definition of  broadband is "25 megabits per                                                               
second down  and 3 megabits  per second  up."  He  explained that                                                               
while it does  not compare to fiber  or 5G, a person  who uses TV                                                               
white space can stream a  movie.  Some exceptionally remote areas                                                               
use satellite,  he noted.   He  said that TV  white space  is the                                                               
most  cost-efficient  way  to  reach   those  in  certain  areas.                                                               
Bringing  fiber  to  every  house  in the  U.S.  would  cost  $65                                                               
billion;  reaching every  house  with  long-term evolution  (LTE)                                                               
technologies  could  cost $25  billion;  using  a combination  of                                                               
fiber,  LTE,  satellite, and  TV  white  spaces could  solve  the                                                               
broadband  gap  for  perhaps  $8-$12 billion.    In  response  to                                                               
Representative Wool,  he confirmed  that TV white  space operates                                                               
"just like the broadband you have today."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
12:50:37 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARKINS,  bringing attention  to slide  56, stated  that over                                                               
the  course of  nine  years, Microsoft  Corporation has  launched                                                               
nearly  40  rural broadband  [shown  as  "airband" on  slide  56]                                                               
initiative   pilots  across   the  world,   including  those   in                                                               
mountainous  terrain.   He  said  the  corporation's goal  is  to                                                               
convince the  government and the  private sector to  get involved                                                               
and  start  their own  projects.    He explained  that  Microsoft                                                               
Corporation partners  with local  Internet service  providers; it                                                               
pours analytics and money into  projects by investing capital for                                                               
the  infrastructure,  and when  the  corporation  earns back  its                                                               
investment, plus some  earnings, it pulls out of  the project and                                                               
leaves  it to  the Internet  provider to  run.   This process  is                                                               
repeated to  expand the  network, with the  goal of  reaching [in                                                               
five  years] 2  million of  the 23  million Americans  that don't                                                               
currently  have  broadband;  the corporation's  bolder  and  more                                                               
ambitious  goal is  to reach  all 23  million in  that amount  of                                                               
time.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
12:53:28 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KITO   asked  if  Microsoft  Corporation   has  considered                                                               
"utilization of immigration to help  solve some of that dearth of                                                               
computer science employees."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HARKINS answered  yes.   He said  Microsoft Corporation  and                                                               
other technology companies  have used the H-1B  visa program that                                                               
allows  them  to bring  in  workers  highly skilled  in  computer                                                               
science   from  other   countries.      For  example,   Microsoft                                                               
Corporation's CEO, Satya  Nadella, is from India.   He noted that                                                               
the H-1B visa  program is criticized by some.   He said Microsoft                                                               
had  proposed a  program  that would  have allowed  technological                                                               
companies to continue  bringing in H-1B visa holders  to fill the                                                               
current need in the U.S.  while also requiring those companies to                                                               
donate  money, perhaps  $15,000  for each  individual brought  in                                                               
under the  H-1B visa, to  help expand access to  computer science                                                               
education  for children  in the  U.S.   He said  that is  still a                                                               
project  that Microsoft  Corporation  would  support, because  if                                                               
more  were done  to  increase  the number  of  U.S. citizens  who                                                               
become  proficient in  computer  science, then  less people  from                                                               
outside  the U.S.  would  be needed  to fill  the  gap, which  he                                                               
opined would be a good thing for communities.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
12:55:45 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON asked  how many  other computer  science                                                               
programs there  are besides  Code.org and  Imagine Academy.   She                                                               
said she knows  Google Inc. is one of the  investors in Code.org,                                                               
and  she  asked if  Microsoft  Corporation  is  also one  of  the                                                               
investors.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARKINS  answered that Microsoft  Corporation is  a supporter                                                               
of   Code.org,  as   are  a   number  of   other  companies   and                                                               
institutions.   The corporation's philanthropy arm  has education                                                               
policy employees who work closely  with Code.org on projects such                                                               
as helping states create K-12 computer science standards.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KITO  expressed appreciation for Mr.  Harkins presentation.                                                               
He  said he  is especially  interested in  the opportunities  for                                                               
Alaska  regarding  the  white space  initiative.    He  expressed                                                               
further interest  in ensuring that computer  science education is                                                               
made relevant to the communities in which the students live.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
12:57:45 PM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  stated that  she found  the presentation                                                               
valuable in terms  of pointing "us" in the right  direction.  She                                                               
asked  if  Microsoft  Corporation  has worked  with  the  federal                                                               
Department  of  Education  on  getting  standards  on  the  Every                                                               
Student Succeeds  Act (ESSA).   She  said Alaska's  Department of                                                               
Education is  in the process  of getting its ESSA  plans approved                                                               
and is "kind of  far along in that process."   She said she would                                                               
like to  provide Mr.  Harkins a better  map that  illustrates how                                                               
difficult  it is  to provide  broadband to  all of  Alaska.   She                                                               
questioned  what  exists,  in  terms   of  TV  white  spaces,  in                                                               
Shishmaref,   Alaska,   for   example.      She   said   Alaska's                                                               
accessibility  issues make  it probably  the  most difficult  and                                                               
expensive place in the world to deliver broadband.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.   HARKINS  admitted   that   during   a  Western   Governors'                                                               
Association Meeting,  Governor Bill Walker of  Alaska pointed out                                                               
to  him that  Alaska  was  not even  on  the  map; therefore,  he                                                               
suggested that "a movement in  the right direction" had been made                                                               
[since Alaska is shown on the map on slide 57].                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND agreed, but she  observed that on the map                                                               
Alaska and Hawai'i had been relegated to the lower left corner.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARKINS,  to Representative Drummond's mention  of ESSA, said                                                               
he  knows people  from Microsoft  Corporation's education  policy                                                               
team were engaged  with ESSA and in trying to  ensure funds under                                                               
that  law  would  be  available for  STEM  and  computer  science                                                               
education.  He told Representative  Drummond that that team would                                                               
welcome conversation  regarding the details of  ESSA and computer                                                               
science standards related to the law.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:01:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business  before the committees, the joint                                                               
meeting of  the House Labor  and Commerce Standing  Committee and                                                               
House Education Standing Committee was adjourned at 1:01 p.m.                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Computer Science and Workforce Development - Alaska (rev) 4.pdf HL&C 1/25/2018 12:00:00 PM
Presentation - Workforce Readiness