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: North Carolina

Ten states selected for manufacturing-focused Policy Academy

Ten states from across the country have been selected as part of a unique program designed to grow and strengthen their manufacturers. Over the course of the next year, interdisciplinary state teams will meet together in Washington, D.C., and separately in their home states, to develop and refine strategies impacting manufacturing industries.

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.

Key ballot initiatives to impact state futures

SSTI has reviewed the ballot initiatives across the country that affect innovation. Several states have energy initiatives on their ballots, while higher education funding is at play in Maine, Montana, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Utah could become only the second state to fund its schools through gas taxes, if a measure there is passed. At the same time, four states have ballot issues addressing redistricting commissions which could have a significant impact on state legislative makeup when lines are redrawn after the 2020 census.

New state efforts look to address skills gap in IN, NC, and SC

While job openings surpassed 7.1 million in August, companies across the country still are struggling to attract staff with relevant skills. To address this issue, states are developing new workforce development efforts to address the increased demand. These efforts have taken many different approaches including grants to communities, free online resources, mentorship programs, or stronger partnerships with industry. While these efforts may be diverse in their processes, they share commonalities, such as bringing together all stakeholders (e.g., industry, academia, government, nonprofits, and local workforce development boards) and providing those services locally across the state, or by leveraging online platforms.  Such efforts are reflected in new programs described below in Indiana, North Carolina and South Carolina.

 

NC finds success with SBIR/STTR matching grants

An evaluation of the One North Carolina Small Business Matching Fund, a statewide initiative providing grants of up to $50,000 to recent SBIR/STTR awardees, suggests that the program is achieving its goals of creating high-skill, high-wage jobs. Over the past 10 funding cycles, the $17.2 million deployed across 250 small businesses has created or retained more than 900 innovation-oriented jobs, and raised an additional $5.6 million in tax revenue for the state, according to the analysis performed by the NC Department of Commerce.

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 launch more help for students in completing education

North Carolina and Tennessee are implementing new initiatives to get students in their states the help they need to either complete degrees or training that will help improve workforce development in those states. North Carolina’s governor recently added a new line of grants dubbed “Finish Line” grants, to help students that are struggling with non-academic problems complete community college.

States, industry partners launch workforce training efforts focused on 21st century jobs in CA, KY, MD, MI, NC, TN

Due to the effectiveness of employer-sponsored training program, U.S. states are working to build partnerships with industry partners that leverage public resources to help develop a 21st century workforce that addresses specific industry needs. Over the last month, partnerships have been announced between states and key industry leaders including AGCO, CVS, Tesla, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Some of those collaborations are detailed below.

Governors target diverse strategies to build rural broadband capacity, spur economic growth

With more than 30 percent of rural America still lacking access to what the FCC considers adequate broadband, governors from across the country are working toward diverse strategies to build rural broadband capacity. By providing rural communities with access to full-speed, stable broadband, these governors hope that they can revitalize rural communities by helping small business formation and expansion as well as improve educational achievement/workforce training for rural citizens.

States of Innovation 2017: Free tuition moving into more state toolboxes

This week we continue our series on state legislation pertaining to the innovation economy that has been enacted this year around the country. This second installment of the States of Innovation 2017 series deals with free tuition.

A number of states took action to increase the education and skills of their workforce by implementing free or greatly reduced tuition programs at either community colleges or state colleges. The move to increase access to higher education while not new, took up increased urgency this year. With Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Tennessee all taking action this past year, Maine and North Carolina were among others considering other options but as of today’s publication not moving the proposals forward.

R&D and innovation funding sees some increases, more decreases in state budgets: CA, IL, MS, NC, OH

Breaking a two-year impasse, legislators in Illinois were able to pass a state budget that reinstitutes an R&D tax credit and implements workforce development programs. In California, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz) will see a 28 percent increase in funding, while other innovation initiative are receiving level funding. In other states whose budgets SSTI analyzed this week for TBED-related funding, we found that Innovate Mississippi was able to maintain state funding and new funding was appropriated for workforce development at the state’s community and junior colleges; a variety of programs were cut in North Carolina; and, Ohio will not get funding for a state office focused on commercializing research across key industries that the governor had proposed. More findings from California, Illinois, Mississippi, North Carolina and Ohio are detailed below.

Facing deindustrialization, smaller regions turn to innovation, workforce development

In a recent Digest article, SSTI covered research highlighting the oversized role that offshoring multinationals had in manufacturing employment decline from 1983 to 2011. During this time, deindustrialization and manufacturing unemployment had a profound impact on community approaches to economic development.

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