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Committees pass defense authorization bills affecting small business policy

The U.S. House and Senate Armed Services Committees recently passed their versions of the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The legislation includes provisions for federal labs, SBIR and SBA technical assistance programs. These portions of the bills are currently very different between the chambers, and, if passed in their current forms, the final bill could address a wide range of policies affecting small business and innovation.

Maine voters approve $50 million in tech: Why it matters to all of us

Maine voters approved a special referendum on June 13 that will issue $50 million in bonds to fund investment in research, development and commercialization in the state’s seven targeted technology sectors. The Maine Technology Institute will distribute $45 million of the funds for infrastructure, equipment and technology upgrades. The remaining $5 million will be used to recapitalize the Small Enterprise Growth Fund to create jobs and economic growth by lending to or investing in qualifying small businesses.

States scramble to negotiate final budgets; DE, LA, ME, MO, NH, VT and WA reviewed for innovation funding

With a July 1 start to the fiscal year in most states, several states that were at an impasse over their budget faced at least partial shutdowns. Last minute negotiations restarted services in both Maine and New Jersey, while Illinois, which has been operating without a budget since 2015, faces threats of a downgrade in their credit rating if a deal cannot be reached. This week we present our findings of innovation funding from seven states, including $2 million in funding for a new public-private economic development organization in Delaware, an increase in funding in Louisiana for the state’s scholarship program for higher ed, and cuts to higher ed funding in Missouri, which also saw a severe drop in its funding to the Missouri Technology Corporation. Efforts in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington are also detailed below.

US manufacturing sector poised for revitalization but without the jobs, McKinsey says

In Making it in America, McKinsey Global Institute researchers contend that for the U.S. to see a revitalization of its manufacturing sector (as measured by global market share), the public and private sectors should treat it as a national priority. However, they warn that the revitalization will not produce a return to 1960s-style manufacturing employment. In the 1960s, the manufacturing sector employed approximately 30 percent of all American workers – it is down to approximately 9 percent today (a 70 percent reduction). The authors contend that due to the changing shape of manufacturing, technology, global competition, and other market demands that manufacturing job growth would only be modest. Most of the job growth potential will be found in other sectors that would benefit from increased economic activity.

Bioscience important for state growth

The bioscience industry has had a positive impact on states’ economies and continues to be a driver of economic growth according to a new report from Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). State lawmakers have recognized the importance of the industry, the authors state, and have responded to challenges facing the bioscience companies with legislative efforts focused on a supportive business climate, including increasing available funding, particularly for emerging companies in their state, and leveraging academic and medical research facilities to create strategically planned campus extensions such as Smart Zones or Innovation Zones that contain incubator space and incentives for start-up companies.

Commission led by Bloomberg, New America imagines the future of work

Whether or not the drastic changes coming to the future of work go well or poorly for America depends largely on how the country responds, according to a new report from Shift: The Commission on Work, Workers, and Technology. The commission, which is led by Bloomberg and New America and comprised of members from across industry, philanthropy, government, and academia, structures scenarios regarding the future of work around two guiding questions: Will the future have more or less work? Will that work be divided into jobs or into tasks? Based on these questions, the authors developed four scenarios to use as a framework, each with hypothetical driving factors, early signs, challenges, and signature technologies. They also propose examples of machine- and human-occupation within each scenario, as well as some potential educational, social, and geographic implications.

US House appropriations bills would make major cuts to innovation

The House Appropriations Committee began releasing FY 2018 “markup” budget bills this week, and the proposals would cut billions in non-defense spending. EDA would lose $100 million* in funding, SBA’s entrepreneurial development programs would lose $34 million, NIST’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership would lose $30 million, and Energy’s ARPA-E would be eliminated, among other cuts.

Foreign governments capitalize on shifts in US policy

Since President Trump has taken office, the U.S. has seen several dramatic shifts in science and technology (S&T) policy from the previous administration—changes that several foreign leaders believe will create economic growth opportunities for their countries. As the Trump administration continues to roll out its S&T policy directives, these nations seem committed to growing their economies while chipping away at U.S. dominance in S&T.

SC, TX and WV budgets retain some innovation funding

The state budget process is winding down across the country and SSTI continues to review the final budgets for funding for innovation-based programs. This week, we found level funding for South Carolina programs including MEP and regional-based economic development efforts, while university programs in Texas are taking a hit, and in West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice refused to sign the state budget although he will allow the legislatively approved measure to become law. Unless otherwise noted, the figures below represent level funding from the previous budgets.

White House order addresses workforce initiatives

Earlier this month, the White House released an executive order to expand apprenticeship programs and to study other federal workforce initiatives. The administration will attempt to reduce regulations for “effective” efforts while reducing funding for other programs.

MA Gov proposes $500M for life sciences

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced a legislative proposal that would provide $500 million over five years for the life sciences sector, extending the state’s commitment to the biotech and medical technology industry. The money would be used for strategic investments in public infrastructure, research and development, workforce training and education.

ARC awards $15.7M in new round of funding to improve Appalachia’s coal-impacted communities

On June 14, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced $15.7 million in funding to support 18 projects (including those of two SSTI members – LaunchTN and Ohio University) that will help grow the economies in coal-impacted communities in seven states. With this latest announcement, ARC has invested over $92 million (leveraging an additional $206 million in investments) to diversify the economies in 250 coal-impacted counties across 11 Appalachian states through its POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative. The new round of investments are intended to create and retain hundreds of jobs in advanced manufacturing and tech industries; support entrepreneurial development efforts, and, build workforce pipelines through institutions of higher education.

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