SSTI Digest

Geography: Kentucky

Workforce Training Takes Central Role in DE, KY, MA Budget Proposals

Many governors around the country have begun laying out priorities for the next legislative session. In the coming weeks, SSTI will review gubernatorial addresses and budget proposals related to economic development. This week, we highlight developments in Delaware, Kentucky and Massachusetts.

New Initiatives Drive Rural Broadband Adoption in AL, KY, WI

For many states, broadband connectivity is becoming an increasingly important tool used to improve the economic well-being of residents, especially in rural areas. While some have paved the way for publicly funded municipal broadband providers, others, such as North Carolina and Tennessee, have filed suit with the Federal Communications Commission and joined the telecommunications industry in their opposition. Over the course of the summer, several states announced their own measures to improve broadband adoption as a means to support economic development and improve the quality of life in rural areas.

Delta Regional Authority Forms 35-Member Public-Private Research, Innovation Consortium

The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) announced the establishment of a consortium for research and innovation that is intended to have a long-term positive economic impact on the region. The 35-member consortium will be comprised of universities and other private and public institutions in eight states – Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. DRA selected Arkansas State University to lead the consortium and bring together university research officers and local economic development leadership to support the commercialization efforts and economic impacts of research universities in the DRA's footprint. Founding members of the consortium include Delta State University, Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University, Southeast Missouri State University, University of Memphis and University of Tennessee at Martin. Read the announcement…

AdvanceKentucky Accelerates MSE Learning for State’s High School Students, New Research

AdvanceKentucky continues to demonstrate its ability in Kentucky schools to dramatically increase access to and accelerate successful learning in rigorous math, science and English (MSE) courses, as shown by qualifying scores on Advanced Placement exams, according to a new research reported undertaken in 2014 by the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics. AdvanceKentucky was particularly effective for students from underrepresented populations. The researchers found that AdvancedKentucky students: scored better on their ACTs by 1.5-points; achieved a 10 percentage-point advantage in earning college or career ready status; and, have higher college persistence rates while earning higher GPAs and graduate from college in four years from college at twice the rate of non-AdvanceKentucky students. They also are significantly less likely to attend remedial courses – only 10 percent of AdvancedKentucky students took at least one remedial course compared to 50 percent for the control group. Currently 101 schools across Kentucky use the AdvanceKentucky program. Read the release…

Tech Talkin’ Govs: CA, KY, VT Govs Pitch Energy Goals, Higher Ed Reform To Spur Economic Growth

Now in its 15th year, SSTI's Tech Talkin' Govs series has returned as governors across the country formally convene the 2014 legislative sessions. The series highlights new and expanded TBED proposals from governors' State of the State, Budget and Inaugural addresses. The first edition includes excerpts from speeches delivered in California, Kentucky, and Vermont. 

KY Launches Public-Private Broadband Initiative, IA Plan Again Faces Uncertainty

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear announced the creation a new public-private partnership to support the development of a statewide, fiber broadband infrastructure with a focus on supporting economic and social prosperity across the commonwealth. The ambitious initiative would provide the entire state with high-speed internet – with the first components scheduled to be operational in less than two years. When completed, the more than 3,000 miles of fiber will be in place across the state. Overall, the project is estimated to cost between $250 million to $350 million over the next 30 years, and will be supported by approximately $30 million in state bonds and $15 million to $20 million in federal grants.

TBED People & Orgs

Maria Contreras-Sweet has been confirmed as the administrator of the Small Business Administration.

States Pass Innovation-Focused Legislation

Investments and policy to support innovation-focused agendas have flourished with the close of the 2014 legislative sessions in several states. Crowdfunding legislation, incentives for attracting talent, higher education affordability, punishing patent trolls, and encouraging greater accountability are some of the areas where lawmakers focused their efforts.

State and Municipal Investments Seek To Overcome U.S. Broadband Setbacks

Recent court decisions regarding high-speed Internet competition and net neutrality have put U.S. broadband competitiveness on uncertain terrain. Despite two decades of publically supported high-speed data infrastructure efforts, many rural areas still lack access and even densely populated areas remain underserved.  New statewide efforts in Kentucky, Minnesota and Iowa have been announced to improve broadband services and boost economic competitiveness. In addition, Google has announced that it will expand its ultra-fast fiber services to nine more cities across the country.

States Take Action to Capitalize on Angel Capital Recovery

Angel capital has long played a vital role in state and regional innovation economies, but recent trends in investment capital have pushed angel investment to the fore. As the supply of seed stage venture capital declines in many parts of the country, angels have stepped in to bridge early stage funding gaps for technology startups. The proliferation of angel investors and groups over the last few years has outpaced the recovery of the venture capital industry since early 2009, according to data from the PricewaterhouseCoopers/National Venture Capital Association Moneytree Survey and the University of New Hampshire Center for Venture Research. In the midst of these changes, many states have stepped up their efforts to attract and incentivize angel investment. Recent initiatives in Minnesota, Florida, Kentucky and West Virginia seek to book seed and early stage capital by working with angel investors.

Tech Talkin’ Govs: Part I

Now in its 14th year, SSTI's Tech Talkin' Govs series has returned as governors across the country formally convene the 2014 legislative sessions. The series highlights new and expanded TBED proposals from governors' State of the State, Budget and Inaugural addresses. The first edition includes excerpts from speeches delivered in Idaho, Kentucky, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia. 

TBED People and Orgs

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin announced that Jonna Kirschner, executive director of the Oklahoma Commerce Department, will serve on a transition team to establish a new workers’ compensation system. Vaughn Clark , the Commerce Department’s director of community development, was named as interim executive director.