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Tech Talkin’ Govs, part 6: Education, workforce, climate change top TBED agendas

Educating the next generation of workers, ensuring they will have the skills necessary for the jobs of the future and paying attention to the actions that will affect the climate are all on the agendas of the latest round of governors giving their state of the state and budget addresses. A focus on skills can be seen in addresses from governors in California, Maine, Michigan, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. States are also continuing with initiatives to forward attention on climate change, as reflected in Maine’s climate agenda and Michigan joining other states in the Climate Alliance.

Recent Research: Exposure to innovation more important than financial incentives in increasing the number of inventors, researchers find

Recent research revealed that exposure to innovation (e.g., mentorship program and immersive K-12 STEM education experience) during childhood and young adulthood has a greater effect on the decision to pursue careers in innovation than financial incentives. Researchers Alexander M. Bell, Raj Chetty, and their co-authors developed a model to analyze the impact of several factors on inventor career choices.

$24M Foundation gift to U. Arkansas transforms commercialization, economic development

Late last year, the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation announced a $23.7 million investment to strengthen technology-based economic development efforts at the University of Arkansas.

Economic development and the tipping point

As the number of weather-related news stories increase, more Americans are recognizing the world’s climate is changing (see here and here, for instance). Cold temperatures and large amounts of precipitation may hold our immediate attention (we are, after all, a culture increasingly obsessed with the short-term, instant or immediate), but a larger story is unfolding that has the scientists who have studied various aspects of climate-related issues for decades increasingly using a two-word phrase that could have terrifyingly significant repercussions if, and when, we can look back to see it is truly happening. The phrase is tipping point – that moment when certain aspects fueling climate change will fuel themselves, creating feedback loops independent of our own future behavior. 

DOD already sees adverse effects from climate change at priority installations

Could climate change negatively impact the defense installations important to companies and communities in your state? Chances are good that it already does. A new Department of Defense report to Congress reveals all but six of 79 mission assurance priority installations within DOD are experiencing negative climate change effects such as recurrent flooding, drought, desertification, wildfires, or thawing permafrost.

Ideas for expanding economic opportunity focus of Aspen report

Shifts in the American economy have resulted in a myriad of challenges including workers without the necessary skills for today’s jobs, lack of wage increases for low- and middle-income worker and a shrinking labor force participation rate. With an aim of identifying bipartisan policy solutions to such challenges, the Aspen Economic Strategy Group (AESG) spent a year collecting ideas to address these challenges and have released their findings in a new report. While the authors of the report caution that there is no silver bullet solution to the challenges outlined in the report, they go on to say, “Evidence-based, bipartisan solutions rarely capture headlines, but they do exist, and should be embraced by those who are serious about solving our long-term economic challenges.” The report outlines several proposed solutions.

New H-1B visa rules will benefit applicants with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions

Applicants with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions of higher education who are seeking H-1B visas will be the beneficiaries of a new rule announced by the Department of Homeland Security last week. The rule change reverses the order by which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B regular cap and the advanced degree exemption.  

EDA opens 2019 Regional Innovation funding cycle

The Economic Development Administration is now accepting applications for the Regional Innovation Strategies program through April 4. Funding is available through the i6 Challenge, focused on transforming innovations into products and services, and Seed Fund Support, to help expand the availability of investment capital for startups. SSTI will again be hosting an informational webinar with EDA — see details and register below.

Regional Innovation Strategies program FY 2019 informational webinar
Tuesday, Feb. 12 @ 2 P.M. EST

Tech Talkin’ Govs part 5: Tax incentives, clean energy, help for higher ed strike note in governors' addresses

More than half of the governors have now delivered their state of the state addresses, and TBED initiatives continue to play a prominent role in their plans. Higher ed’s affordability and/or role in the workforce are concerns in Montana, South Carolina, Utah and Vermont. Maryland is looking at clean energy and higher education. Utah is also grappling with burgeoning growth while Vermont considers measures to increase its workforce.

DOE announces intent to issue funding opportunity for cybersecurity institute for energy efficient manufacturing

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced their intent to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) establishing a new Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute. The institute will develop technologies that will advance U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, energy efficiency and innovation.

SBA: Small business share of GDP continues structural decline

The share of the nation’s economy stemming from small businesses — “the lifeblood of the U.S. economy” — has waned since 1998, according to a new report by Kathryn Kobe and Richard Schwinn on behalf of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy. Despite overall growth in small business GDP, the number of small businesses and their employment levels have not yet recovered from their pre-recession value.

Startup Act reintroduced, would expand federal innovation support

Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), co-signed by Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), re-introduced the Startup Act today. The bill would enact an array of innovation policies, including reauthorizing Regional Innovation Strategies, creating a new commercialization grant program, and implementing a startup visa. SSTI has endorsed the bill and hopes to see the legislation passed by the 116th Congress.

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