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Investment associations sue SEC over rule intended to promote transparency

A group of associations representing private investment funds, including the National Venture Capital Association, jointly filed a lawsuit in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The suit seeks to overturn the agency’s recent rule that among other things requires fee, audit, and performance disclosures from private fund managers. The opening brief, which became available last week, argues that the rule should be vacated because it overrides Congress’s deliberate exclusion of private funds from this type of oversight, that the costs to funds and investors of implementing the rule outweigh the potential benefits, and a host of procedural missteps during the rulemaking process. For its part, the SEC has defended the rule as being necessary to address insufficient transparency and exposure to conflicts of interest that threaten regular investors as pension and retirement funds increasingly participate in private investment vehicles.

3D printed homes offer approach to tackle affordable housing crisis

All across the U.S., states are experiencing a crisis-level shortage of affordable housing. The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that nationally, there is a need for more than 7 million affordable housing units, while between 4.3 million and 5 million new homes are needed, according to Zillow and Realtor.com, respectively. Experiments occurring across the country on 3D printed homes offer an intriguing approach to help address the issue.

Recent research: Urban and rural manufacturers talent strategies diverge, lessons for community colleges, manufacturers and others

The challenge of attracting and retaining skilled manufacturing talent consistently ranks as a top concern in the industry. Recent findings from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) show that more than 70% of industry leaders cite workforce issues as their primary challenge for the past year, outpacing supply chain disruptions and rising raw material costs. To better understand this challenge, the Manufacturing Institute has released a new report exploring how location influences manufacturing companies’ talent development efforts. The study surveyed over 100 manufacturing firms, asking about strategies for attracting and recruiting new workers in rural versus urban settings to identify key workforce challenges for rural and urban manufacturing firms and to uncover solutions they have implemented to address their immediate and long-term workforce needs. 

Report outlines what to do about semiconductor industry labor shortage

The semiconductor industry's workforce is expected to grow from approximately 345,000 jobs today to about 460,000 by the decade's end, and of these new jobs, roughly 67,000 are at risk of being unfilled, according to a report from the Semiconductor Industry Association and Oxford Economics (SIA-OE report).

Useful Stats: Build to Scale’s 10th Anniversary, a historic look at awards

The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA’s) annual Build to Scale (B2S) program (previously Regional Innovation Strategies) completed its tenth award cycle this year, with over $270 million in grants across 437 awards since inception in Fiscal Year (FY) 2014. FY 2023 was the largest award cycle, totaling $53 million in federal awards across the Venture and Capital Challenges.

Elections Update: Incumbent govs re-elected; legislative results in VA, NJ; ballot initiative results in three states

The Kentucky and Mississippi gubernatorial elections were held on Nov. 7, with both incumbents, Andy Beshear (D) and Tate Reeves (R), winning re-election. Legislative elections were also held in Mississippi (where simple majorities were guaranteed for Republicans in both chambers), New Jersey, and Virginia. With all 40-person Senate and 80-person Assembly seats in the New Jersey Legislature up for election, the Democrats not only retained their legislative majority, which they have held since 2004, but expanded it. Meanwhile, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s hopes to advance his conservative agenda were dashed as voters kept the state Senate in Democratic hands and flipped the state House blue.  In Michigan, which did not hold a legislative election this year, the Democrats lost their slim majority in the House (as well as its first majority of both chambers in four decades) when voters elected two state representatives as mayors to southeast Michigan communities. Although the twin victories were planned for by leadership, it also means that the Democrats will, at least temporarily, lose their two-seat edge (56 to 54) in the state House of Representatives. The even split between the two parties returns Michigan to a divided government until Gov. Gretchen Whitmer calls for a special election.

Should job outcomes be the bottom line for higher education?

In Mississippi, the state auditor released a report  in September 2023 that rated academic degrees by whether the degree would lead to a well-paying job. He suggests that Mississippi invest more in programs in the subject areas leading to those high-paying, in-state jobs. Basing appropriations on immediate wage outcomes implies that near-term economic return is the only benefit that matters, and it is a theme that is recurring frequently. In contrast, liberal arts advocates take a more holistic view of the value of higher education.