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: Connecticut

States address workforce issues pushed to forefront by pandemic

Faced with the sudden, unprecedented fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Ned Lamont last month launched a new resource to provide workers and businesses in Connecticut with career tools, including partnering with Indeed and workforce training providers.

States launching innovation initiatives across the country

Proving that innovation is appealing to states regardless of their size or political leanings, new initiatives in both Democratic and Republican states, as well as large states like California and small states like Vermont, are driving innovation agendas into action in areas ranging from clean energy and aid for students and colleges, to new venture capital investments and bond financing to support business collaborations with higher education to help translate cutting-edge research into products and companies.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2020: AL, CT, MD, OK, PA, TN, WY look to education, workforce and energy initiatives

With nearly 40 of the state governors now having given a state of the state or budget address, innovation themes continue to echo in their reviews of past accomplishments and plans for the coming year.

State actions in 2019: Opportunity Zones

In 2019, the administrations and legislatures in many states grappled with if and how to adjust state economic development initiatives to leverage the federal Opportunity Zone (OZ) program. The actions of 12 states that implemented new activities are described below.

States take the lead on climate change

When Gov. Janet Mills addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 23, it was the first time a sitting governor of Maine has been asked to address the body. She had been invited as part of her participation in the UN Climate Action Summit 2019, and has made tackling climate change and embracing renewable energy key priorities of her administration. She is not the only governor stepping into the role where the federal government has backed out.

Free tuition offerings continue to evolve in states across the US

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham became the latest governor to propose a plan for free tuition, with what has been called the “one of the most ambitious attempts to make higher education more accessible.” If approved, the plan would allow in-state students to attend any of the 29 state public colleges or universities, regardless of income. It is designed as a “last-dollar” program.

Adults without degrees can benefit from certificates

While higher education remains a viable path to economic advancement, adults without a postsecondary degree are increasingly benefitting from non-degree certificates and certifications, according to a recent report. As automation and technological advances demand more skills from workers in the changing economy, Strada Education Network and Lumina Foundation partnered to determine the value and impact of the growing number of non-degree credentials.

Tech Talkin’ Govs, part 7: States look to educated populace to help build prosperity

As the states turn to tackling their budgets, governors are presenting their spending and revenue proposals, and SSTI continues to monitor these. Budget constraints and deficits are problems for governors in Connecticut and Illinois, and Connecticut’s governor is proposing expanding the sales tax base while focusing on loan forgiveness and clean energy. Education is on the agenda in Illinois where the governor is hoping to build prosperity through skills training and college affordability.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2019, part 2: Broadband, education, climate change fixes on governors’ radars

Reviewing another slate of governors’ state of the state and inaugural addresses reveals some recurring themes. With a focus on maintaining gains made since the Great Recession and increasing budgets, many governors are holding off on major new initiatives, but are proposing means to increase broadband access, diversify their economies, build renewable energy efforts, and increase their rainy day funds in case of an economic downturn. SSTI presents part 2 of our Tech Talkin’ Govs series, with coverage of governors in Colorado, Connecticut, Oregon, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

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.

College mergers a prescription in meeting higher ed headaches

Declining enrollments, higher costs and limited state funding continue to challenge higher education institutions, and possible mergers continue to surface as an option to meeting those challenges. In Pennsylvania, a new study sponsored by the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee identifies options to help ensure the sustainability of the State System of Higher Education, and mergers factor into those considerations.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2018, part 6: AR, CT, ME, WY look to boost economies

SSTI’s Tech Talkin’ Govs feature continues as governors across the country are wrapping up 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 latest installment of Tech Talkin’ Govs, Arkansas is celebrating its low unemployment while Maine says it will focus on a commercialization bond and grow the workforce in part through a student debt relief program. Connecticut wants new goals for clean energy and Wyoming’s focus on economic diversification continues with the governor there calling for full funding for the ENDOW initiative.

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