Even in the current recession, states like New Mexico are reporting too few of their residents are trained to fill their largest job category, namely middle-skill jobs (49 percent of jobs in this category vs. 45 percent workers).

If we want to emerge more vigorously from the recent recession and loosing the race for global innovation and competitiveness, we need to commit to investing in the "four Ts" of innovation: trade, taxes, technology and talent. Investing in talent means more than simply spending more money. It requires rethinking how students learn and how to best nurture their talents and interests. As important as math and science are, not everyone is cut out to work in laboratory or do research. What we need to do is make sure that students that show an interest in STEM fields have every opportunity to flourish and that all students can be innovative problem solvers and come up with good ideas.