California earned a No. 3 ranking in the 2020 Milken Institute State Technology and Science Index, moving up one spot from the last report in 2018 and finishing behind No. 2 Colorado and No. 1 Massachusetts.
The Milken Index uses 105 metrics to determine each state’s science and technology capabilities relative to opportunities for job growth and wealth creation. A big reason for California’s growth over the past two years is due to the strong venture capital and patents in the state. California was No. 1 in venture capital investment relative to the size of the state’s overall economy at 1.9%, while ranking No. 2 in deals relative to the number of businesses at 27.8 per 100,000.
The state has also invested heavily in both clean technology and biotechnology. In 2018, then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a new program called the Renewable Portfolio Standard, which requires that renewable resources provide 60% of retail electricity by 2030 and that carbon-free resources produce all the state’s electricity by 2045.
California has 19 high-tech industries according to the Milken Institute’s classifications, attracting both high-skilled workers and startups due to places like Silicon Valley and Pasadena.
The University of California system also produces a slew of skilled workers in STEM fields due to an emphasis in these jobs.
UC Santa Barbara is one of the state’s best producers from these fields and routinely ranks among the top 10 public research universities in the country. It has been home to eight science-related Nobel laureates and houses one of the best physics departments in the state. In its 2013 ranking of the world’s top 500 universities, Leiden University ranked UCSB No. 2 for research impact in the sciences.
UCSB was most recently ranked No. 6 in the country among public universities by U.S. News, with UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego and UC Irvine all in the top 10 as well and UC Davis at No. 11.
The state is also home to some of the top private universities in the country, including Stanford, a major engine of innovation in Silicon Valley.
The state government has proposed an 11% increase in its workforce development budget for fiscal year 2020, putting almost $100 million into various programs, according to the Milken Institute.
In addition to Silicon Valley, Milken highlighted other areas of California that have shown tremendous growth in high-tech businesses, including San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, and Riverside.