• SSTI's 2018 Annual Conference - December 3-5 in Salt Lake City

    The agenda and brochure are now online for SSTI's 2018 Annual Conference: Navigating the New Innovation Landscape. Join your peers for conversations around emerging challenges and opportunities related to science, tech, innovation & entrepreneurship. 

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Cohorts and other strategies to help individuals from underrepresented groups graduate with STEM degrees

While diversity plays a critical role in both improving the quality and increasing the rate of innovation, women and several minority groups remain underrepresented in STEM fields. Several studies find that improving the retention rate of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM at the college level can have significant impacts on improving the diversity and representativeness of the STEM workforce. For women and other underrepresented groups, the college experience can create unique roadblocks and barriers that ultimately cause them to switch majors or even leave college. Several recent studies have examined strategies to improve the retention rate of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM degrees at institution of higher education. The strategies range from pre-college STEM academies to establishing cohorts of underrepresented students.

Is an apprenticeship program the right fit for your community?

For communities hoping to start and register an apprenticeship program, a new toolkit by the Department of Labor may offer some insight. Launched as part of National Apprenticeship Week (Nov. 12-18, 2018), “Building Registered Apprenticeship Programs” provides a guide to help start and register your apprenticeship program. The toolkit includes five steps: exploration of apprenticeships as a strategy to meet regional needs; partnerships with key players to develop the program; building the core components of the program; registration with the broader apprenticeship network; and, launching the program.

US manufacturing showing signs of slowing

The New York state manufacturing report released this morning by the Federal Research Bank of New York is one of the brighter spots among the manufacturing surveys provided by the Fed banks each month.  Manufacturers in the Empire State remain fairly optimistic in the six-month outlook as new orders continued to grow, business conditions improved, and employment levels increased.

Federal Reserve System released digital book on investing in America’s workforce

The Federal Reserve System released a new digital book – Investing in America's Workforce: Improving Outcomes for Workers and Employers – that challenges the existing American mindset that treats workers as a cost to industry. Instead, the authors contend that industry and communities across the country must view workers as assets that with investment can create significant returns including greater productivity, faster national income growth, and a more vibrant and satisfied pool of working Americans. To help shift this mindset, the book brings together more than 100 experts to explore contemporary research, best practices, and resources related to workforce development. The authors also propose a set of  steps to develop well-structured, effective workforce programs and public policy that could result in better economic outcomes for individuals, businesses, and their communities.

Education organizations recognized in nation’s highest honors for quality

A community system and a technical college center were among the five recipients of the nation’s highest honor for quality, the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announcement released this morning.  A third community college system received recognition for establishing and maintaining a best practice in leadership.

The two education institutions were:

APLU launches effort to increase college access, equity and postsecondary attainment

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) on Sunday announced what it is calling the “largest ever collaborative effort” to increase college access, close the achievement gap and award “hundreds of thousands” more degrees by 2025. The initiative, called Powered by Publics: Scaling Student Success, includes 130 public universities and systems working within clusters of four to 12 to both advance those goals and share aggregate data. The diversity of the institutions that are participating is intended to help create a playbook of success reforms that can then be used at other institutions.

State legislatures post election: more united, more divided

The 2018 general election Tuesday proved to be a better day for Republicans in state legislative races across the country than would have been expected based on average losses for a midterm election. That said, it was also a good day, for the most part, for the political parties already in control of the statehouse chambers, regardless of affiliation: more chambers holding elections this year saw the party in control increase its numbers than lose seats.

20 new governors to take office following election

With 36 governorships up for election — and more than half those open either due to retirements, term limits, or lost primaries — new faces were guaranteed in state offices across the country. As a result of Tuesday’s voting, 20 new governors will be taking office and 16 of 18 incumbent governors that were on the ballot on Tuesday will be serving another term (Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker were the only incumbent governors. defeated on Tuesday).

Useful Stats: Business R&D Intensity by State (2011-2016)

Since 2011, more than half of the nation's new investment in business research and development has come from California companies, and more than three-quarters has come from the top five states, according to an SSTI analysis of recently released NSF data. For the second time this year, the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) has updated the data for the Business R&D and Innovation Survey (BRDIS),  a primary source of information on domestic and global business research and development expenditures. In 2016, companies reported nearly $317.7 billion in self-funded and self-performed domestic R&D, a $20 billion (7.0 percent) increase from the previous year, according to the updated data. This type of business R&D represented 4.0 percent of the gross state product in California and Washington in 2016, the most of any states.

Voters mostly supporting education and redistricting initiatives, mixed on energy

SSTI has reviewed the results of ballot initiatives affecting innovation following Tuesday’s election. Higher education funding received support from voters in Maine, Montana, New Jersey and Rhode Island; however, a South Dakota measure aimed specifically at developing a fund to assist the state's postsecondary technical institutes and students was defeated. Additionally, Utah voters opposed using gas taxes to fund its schools. Several states had clean energy initiatives on their ballots, with mixed results.

Congressional elections may shake up federal science, innovation policy

Tuesday’s elections resulted in a Democratic majority in the House, but the changes for the next Congress go far beyond this outcome. Flipping party control means new chairs for every committee in the House; many Senate Republicans in leadership positions are reaching their party’s term limits, yielding new committee seniority; and, retirements and incumbent losses yield further changes. For the bipartisan issues of science and innovation, this shake up will produce new opportunities and uncertainties.

MTI stakeholder engagement process sparks programmatic changes

While it has enjoyed a long history of success, the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) knew it was time to update its processes when it found itself hampered by long-standing practices. Founded in 1999, the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) is an industry-led, state-funded, nonprofit organization and among the nation’s oldest state-level technology-based economic development agencies. With a focus on diversifying and growing Maine’s economy by supporting activities around innovation and entrepreneurship, MTI has invested nearly $230 million across more than 2,000 projects in the state. Still, the organization sought improvement. In 2016, MTI embarked on a 15-month strategic planning process and met with more than 120 stakeholders across Maine’s innovation ecosystem. The work has culminated in a new guiding plan for the organization, as well as key changes to the structure and delivery of MTI’s programs and investments.

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