That legacy of innovation and invention should be resulting in an economy that is helping lead the nation in job creation and economic growth. But despite being the place where numerous advanced technologies were created, New Jersey has more work to do to meet the challenges and opportunities of the global marketplace.
If we're to bolster and strengthen New Jersey's middle class, we must foster the creation of high-quality jobs that can sustain a knowledge-based economy thriving on innovation and entrepreneurship. If we're to build a stronger economy that benefits everyone, New Jersey must capitalize on its competitive advantage through initiatives that support the state's world-class academic institutes and science and technology industries.
That's why finding new and innovative ways to help working middle-class New Jerseyans and to grow our economy will be a top priority when I have the honor of becoming the next New Jersey General Assembly speaker in January.
I will establish a new standing committee -- the Science, Innovation and Technology Committee -- that will create and advance legislation designed to put New Jersey at the forefront of emerging industries. We will utilize our universities, high schools and business leaders to harness innovative thought. We will strengthen relationships between industrial and academic research. We will find ways to transfer academic research to the marketplace, all while encouraging entrepreneurship and new enterprises in science and new technology.
New Jersey's highly educated workforce and legacy of innovation face constant threats from the changing global marketplace. China is investing hundreds of billions of dollars and creating millions of jobs in clean power. And here at home, states such as California are leading the way in clean-energy innovation.
The Union of Concerned Scientists recently touted Vermont as the leading Northeast state for transitioning to clean power because it offers the highest number of clean-energy jobs per capita in the nation. It also praised the progress Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine and New York have made.
New Jersey faces an unsettling and unacceptable prospect -- losing its place and reputation as a technology focal point -- unless we take more aggressive steps to keep and attract science, technology and innovations jobs.
We really don't have a choice. Consider that about 11 percent of private-sector employment in New Jersey stems from jobs across all technology sectors. Clearly, there's a lot at stake.
New Jersey already has world-class academic institutions, a highly educated workforce and advanced technology industries. They have been working together successfully, providing hundreds of thousands of jobs. All that is needed is the vision and the leadership to harness our existing assets to make our state a national leader in the STEM economy.
I look forward to the work of the Science, Innovation and Technology Committee and what it will accomplish for the economy of our state and for the middle-class families who drive our economy. This will be a top priority and of vital importance to our future as a state.
Let's make sure New Jersey leads the 21st century the same way it did the previous one. Let's make New Jersey the new Silicon Valley.