SSTI Digest

The latest reporting and analysis on breakthroughs in technology-based economic development research and issues that matter most to you. To receive the SSTI Weekly Digest via email, sign up here.


Geography: Alabama

Manufacturing wage growth supporting Appalachian economy

Earnings for Appalachian manufacturing workers grew 3.4 percent from 2012 through 2017 to an average of $63,583. The growth is in the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Industrial Make-up of the Appalachian Region, 2002-2017, which reviews employment and wages by sector across the region. Appalachian workers overall saw earnings increase by 3.7 percent over the five years.

Universities launch incubators, accelerators and funds in 2019

Universities frequently play an integral role in providing activities, research, and products that positively affect or support local, regional, state and national economic development or strategic goals.  In higher-education’s efforts to align its participation in innovation and entrepreneurship systems, universities’ incubators, accelerators and fund programs are essential in assisting their faculty, staff, or students in the services and support needed to create startups, bring products to market, or provide critically needed funding.

States with new university-industry partnerships & research capacity activities work to strengthen economies and talent pipelines

Research universities and their partnerships with industry, including an institution’s research capacity, are important elements to building a state’s economy as well as the national economy and talent pipeline and workforce.

States launching new tech commercialization programs to strengthen economies

Knowing that research universities are integral to the innovation in this country, states continue their efforts to build the economy by supporting efforts to move the research from the labs to the market.

Tech Talkin’ Govs, part 8: education, workforce, climate action and rural initiatives focus of innovation efforts

This week we nearly finish our state of the state coverage, save two remaining governors (Louisiana and Minnesota) who have yet to present their addresses. In reviewing the speeches for news on innovation efforts, we find education taking the main stage in Florida and Tennessee, while Alabama and Ohio’s governors are hoping to build the state’s workforce, and North Carolina, still recovering from natural disasters, wants to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and provide tuition assistance for community college.

AL launches program to connect HBCU students, professional learning experiences

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivy announced the Alabama HBCU Co-Op Pilot Program to provide students at the state’s 14 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with the opportunity for hands-on work experience in STEM fields as well as create greater collaboration between Alabama’s HBCUs, industry, and government. Participating students will be required to complete three co-op semesters with some of the state’s top companies in order to gain a sense of professional experience in the area of their majors. Upon successful completion of the program, students will receive a Certificate of Completion. The pilot program is scheduled to launch in early 2019.

ARC announces $26.5M in POWER grants

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced its latest round of grants for Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER). The 35 grants totaling $26.5 million support workforce training and education in manufacturing, technology, healthcare, and other industry sectors; invest in infrastructure enhancements to continue developing the region's tourism, entrepreneurial, and agriculture sectors; and, increase access to community-based capital, including impact-investing funds, venture capital, and angel investment streams. The awards are projected to create or retain over 5,400 jobs and leverage more than $193 million in private investment into 59 Appalachian counties.

A few of the awards (with SSTI members in boldface) are highlighted here:

States’ fiscal picture improves with growing economy

The ability of states to deliver the services promised to its residents relies on their fiscal soundness. With most states beginning their fiscal year in July, SSTI has reviewed the current fiscal standing for each state and here presents a snapshot of our findings.

Most states ended their fiscal year with a surplus and continue to recover from the Great Recession, with a growing economy and job gains. However, they face continuing demands on their budgets, with expanded Medicaid payments and the growing opioid crisis confronting nearly every state. Such decisions affect the state’s ability to fund innovation efforts, from the amount of support available for higher education and STEM programs, to funding for entrepreneurship, and forging public private partnerships to strengthen innovation programming that the private sector cannot fully support.

Our analysis found that some states that rely on the energy sector to fund their spending priorities continue to struggle, while others are already factoring in anticipated revenues as a result of new Supreme Court rulings involving gaming and online sales tax collections.

States targeting strategies to boost workforce

State economic growth relies on the availability of a workforce capable of filling open positions. But increasingly around the country, one of the top concerns of employers is finding the right talent to fill these roles. Beyond corporate strategies in hiring, states are increasingly developing new initiatives to keep their pipeline of talent flowing.

More states target broadband to drive rural economic growth

In February, SSTI highlighted several state-led efforts to address the rural broadband gap, which affects more than 30 percent of rural America who currently lack access to adequate broadband service. The states’ efforts should help revitalize rural communities by aiding small business formation and manufacturers’ expansion, and improve educational achievement/workforce training for local citizens. As some state legislative sessions wrap up, several more governors and state lawmakers have created new initiatives to address this significant issue. Alabama, Colorado and Washington provide the most recent examples of new commitments, including some reversing bans on public broadband provision when the private market fails to deliver.

State budget proposals see some increases for innovation, cuts in LA

In this week’s review of state budget proposals, Alabama and Arizona’s governors are proposing funding increases for higher education, while Louisiana is facing cuts due to a budget shortfall. In Hawaii, the governor is seeking supplemental funding for the Hawaii Technology Development Corp to expand its grant making capacity, while Idaho and South Carolina’s governors are seeking more money for workforce programs.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2018, part 2: AL, CO, GA, IN, KS, NE, SD, WA focus on education, workforce

SSTI’s Tech Talkin’ Govs feature returns as governors across the country roll out their state of the state addresses. We review each speech for comments relevant to the innovation economy, and bring you their words directly from their addresses. In this second installment, we present excerpts from governors in Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Washington.

Workforce development and/or apprenticeship programs receive attention in all of the below excerpts. The Alabama governor said she is seeking an additional $50 million for higher education, while the Georgia governor talked about reorganizing their technical college system. In Indiana the governor is challenging the state economic development department to create thousands of new jobs and said in the first quarter the state will begin to make strategic investments to build and support more innovation and entrepreneurship through the already established $250 million Next Level Indiana Trust Fund.

Pages