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President Pushes For More Cyber Security, High-Tech Education

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President Obama at Tuesday's State of the Union

Technology-related initiatives came up several times during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night with cyber security and STEM education two major focus points.

“We know hackers steal peoples’ identities and infiltrate private e-mails,” Obama said. “We [also] know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets.”

Obama also emphasized some key targets in the “cyber terrorism” sphere – an area of national security that several military leaders have spoken of as a growing problem, “Our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, and our air traffic control systems.”

Earlier on Tuesday, President Obama signed an Executive Order aimed at strengthening the nation’s cyber defenses through increased information sharing, especially between the public and private sector. That order also included standards outlining what companies operating critical infrastructure in the United States should do to protect themselves from attack.

Technology also took center stage when the president spoke of education – specifically, an initiative that would reward schools that develop partnerships with colleges and employers, as well as those that create classes focused on STEM – science, technology, engineering and math.

“Tonight,” Obama said, “I’m announcing a new challenge to redesign America’s high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy.”

President Obama argues those skills are what employees need right now to get jobs and will be even more critical to the nation’s long term recovery.

In addition to offering his own proposals, Obama called on congress to act on both education standards and cyber defense.