SSTI Digest

Geography: Missouri

Communities Reshape Unused Sites, Buildings to Spur Tech Growth

London's Mayor Boris Johnson has announced an initiative to transform Olympic Park into a creative and digital business hub for the city. According to an article from, the proposed redevelopment promises to boost the United Kingdom's (UK) GDP by $450 million ($692.5 million US) and create more than 6,500 new jobs. In partnership with the London Legacy Development Corporation, the city will make major investments in the areas surrounding the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, including the construction of three feature buildings:

Missouri State Supreme Court Ruled S&T Fund Violated State Constitution

After a lengthy legal process, the state Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA) — an incentive fund for science and technology businesses — violated a state constitutional requirement that bills address only a single subject. According to a Kansas City Star article, the judges upheld a ruling by a Cole County, MO, judge that lawmakers illegally included a clause making the fund contingent upon passage of a separate proposal overhauling the state's tax credit programs. The clause was added during a 2011 special session of the state general assembly (see the October 26, 2011 issue of the Digest). Although the separate proposals never passed, Gov. Jay Nixon's administration implemented the fund in 2012. In response, the Missouri Roundtable for Life and other anti-abortion activists filed a suit against the fund due to fears that it would be used to finance human embryonic stem cell research. Read the Kansas City Star article...

Flurry of TBED Tax Incentives Pervade State Legislatures amid Increased Scrutiny

Measuring impact is critical to the success and sustainability of any economic development initiative, and as the national debate over fiscal austerity and taxpayer spending continues, TBED organizations can expect increased scrutiny and accountability for their investments.

Tech Talkin' Govs: Part IV

The fourth installment of SSTI's Tech Talkin' Govs series includes excerpts from speeches delivered in Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee and Texas. Our first three installments were in the Jan. 9, Jan. 16 and Jan. 23 issues of the Digest.

Investment in Broadband Infrastructure Drives Economic Growth, Competitiveness

While Washington remains in political gridlock and the national economy continues sluggish growth, one key trend for political and economic success is apparent: U.S. metro regions experiencing high economic growth have invested federal, state, and private funds in high-speed broadband access.

How Significant is the U.S. Skills Gap?

The answer may not be clear, but both sides can agree the U.S. skills gap will continue to deepen if changes do not occur. In the U.S. manufacturing sector, the skills gap may be less pervasive than many believe, according to a report from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). BCG researchers estimate the U.S. is short 80,000 to 100,000 highly skilled manufacturing workers. That shortage represents less than 1 percent of the nation's 11.5 million manufacturing workers and less than 8 percent of its 1.4 million highly skilled manufacturing workers. The researchers also found only seven states — six of which are in the bottom quartile of U.S. state manufacturing output — show significant or severe skills gaps. They conclude shortages are local, not nationwide, in nature and reflect imbalances driven by both location and job classes.

Voters Reject Tax Increases, Back Bonds for Higher Ed

While election night's main focus was on the presidential race, the importance of ballot measures for states and metros is growing as public services and budgets are being severely trimmed. A recent article in The New Republic reports on a new trend where states are embracing ballot measures as a potential source of dedicated funds for targeted investments in regional economic growth and development.

Gubernatorial Candidates Make the Case for TBED

On November 6, in addition to the presidential election, eleven state and two territorial gubernatorial contests will be decided. Seven of these races (Delaware, Missouri, North Dakota, Puerto Rico, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia) include a sitting governor running for re-election, while the remaining six (American Samoa, Indiana, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Washington) are open races.

TBED People & Orgs

Tony Grindberg, executive director at the NDSU Research and Technology Park, has announced his resignation effective Sept. 30. He has accepted a position as the business unit manager for the Aerospace Business Unit of Appareo Systems, LLC. Appareo Systems is headquartered in the NDSU Research Park on the NDSU campus. Grindberg has been with the NDSU Research Park for the past 10 years.

TBED People & Orgs

Betsy Biemann, who has served as president of the Maine Technology Institute since 2005 has resigned. Joe Migliaccio, manager of MTI's Business Innovation Program, is serving as interim president.

Kansas City Collaboration To Help Region Compete in Healthcare Contract Research

The Kansas Bioscience Authority (KBA) has launched a collaborative partnership of more than 90 contract research organizations (CROs) to help the region compete in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. BioResearch Central will help promote the Greater Kansas City region as a destination for pharmaceutical R&D at a time when drug companies are increasingly looking overseas for their contract research needs. The announcement follows the release of a KBA commissioned study that suggests pharmaceutical contract research is a $90-$105 billion industry in the U.S., much larger than previous estimates.

Governors Ramp up Skilled Workforce Initiatives

Lawmakers in several states will consider legislation this year aimed at solving the workforce disconnect as states continue to struggle with unemployment and look for ways to attract industries in emerging fields. Many of the recent proposals, including those in Connecticut and Massachusetts, focus on revamping oversight of higher education and workforce training to offer better tools and a quicker path to a degree and skills matched with the needs of businesses. In Missouri, a new Innovation Campus will allow high school students to train for high-tech careers while they earn college credit and, in South Dakota, the governor wants to recruit 1,000 skilled workers from outside the state. Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy earlier this month proposed legislation making changes to the Connecticut Technical High School System (CTHSS) in order to tailor programming to the needs of employers. In addition to programmatic changes, the governor wants to change the governance of CTHSS to an independent, 11-member board whose members are made by appointment, removing oversight from the State Board of Education. The process would be led by the Department of Education in collaboration with the Board of Regents, Department of Labor and Department of Economic and Community Development. The governor hopes to put in place reforms that will position the 20-school system to provide programs relevant for high-tech jobs available in Connecticut. Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman singled out fields like precision manufacturing, bioscience and fuel cells in a press release. To help the efforts and increase the training and resources available for students, Gov. Malloy would allocate $500,000 in additional funding. The governor's bill is available at: Massachusetts By aligning the state's 15 community colleges under a statewide system with authority to allocate all state funding, Gov. Deval Patrick hopes to improve the state's efforts to provide skilled workforce training for regionally specific jobs. Under the proposal, the Board of Higher Education (BHE) would have the authority to allocate all state funding to community colleges, consolidating the 15 separate funding lines into one line item within the Department of Higher Education budget. The BHE would be responsible for developing a system to make funding allocations to the individual colleges taking into account enrollment data, credits that can be transferred across campuses, and the creation of new programs better aligned with regional labor market needs, according to the governor's office. The plan also gives the BHE authority to establish new parameters for setting student fees and the use of revenues generated from the fees. In support of these reforms, the governor's FY13 budget includes a $10 million increase in total funding for community colleges. Read more... Missouri A new Innovation Campus at the University of Central Missouri (UCM) will serve as a testing ground for helping students find work in high-demand fields while reducing student loan debt. Announced by Gov. Jay Nixon earlier this month, the initiative will provide high school students with intensive training in science and technology fields through apprenticeships with local employers while they also earn college credit. Thirty students will be selected to enroll in the Innovation Campus this fall with hopes to expand the program to 100 students by year three. During high school, Innovation Campus students can earn up to 30 college credits and participate in apprenticeships with local business partners, including Cerner, Exergonix Inc., Sprint, and DST. To support the training opportunities, Gov. Nixon announced the availability of $500,000 through a Community Development Block Grant. To participate in the program, corporate partners must commit to creating or training a specified number of jobs, according to the governor's office. Read the governor's press release: South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard is hoping to attract skilled workers outside of the state through a new recruiting initiative with the employment firm Manpower. Under the 1,000 New South Dakotans initiative, the state would pay $5 million to the recruiting firm to fill a surplus of private sector jobs in fields such as accounting, engineering and information technology, according to a Stateline article. Positions would be posted locally for 30 days before being turned over to Manpower. The article notes that the proposal is a short-term fix while the state works to improve its own job-training efforts. Gov. Daugaard approved a contract with the firm on a conditional basis in January. However, lawmakers must appropriate the money to close the deal. More information is available at: