SSTI Digest

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Geography: North Carolina

Recent announcements reveal “mega” trends in electric vehicle and battery manufacturing expansions

The recently approved Inflation Reduction Act with new incentives for electric vehicle ownership and energy efficiency is likely to continue a trend among states for the location of major economic development projects, a trend toward everything mega—megasites, megadeals, mega factories, and mega projects. These large-scale manufacturing projects typically feature incentives from state and local governments, such as access to shovel-ready megasites or large tax incentive packages. These new "mega" trends have raised the stakes and increased competition between states as they advocate for the bid of electric vehicle and battery companies looking to expand.

Treasury announces five more states’ plans approved for SSBCI

Five additional state plans for the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) have received approval from the U.S. Department of Treasury, bringing the current total of announced states to 19. Over the past month, Treasury announcedthat plans in Colorado, Montana, New York, North Carolina and Oregon were approved. Some details on the plans are outlined below.

North Carolina Innovation Tracking Index examines state’s standing, may also serve as a valuable resource for other states

North Carolina is continuing to improve its innovation standing and its research and development enterprise continue to lead among other innovation metrics, according to a new state report. The North Carolina Board of Science, Technology, and Innovation published the eighth edition of its Tracking Innovation report. This report uses 39 measures of innovation capacity to evaluate North Carolina’s standing against other states in the nation. In this year’s edition, the report dives even further by summarizing key measures at the county level along with state-by-state standings on many measures.

State leaders zero in on recovery in budget proposals, state addresses

As state budgets move into the legislatures for final negotiations and approvals, the last of the governors have addressed their constituents and put forth their proposals. While a renewed sense of hope is seeping into the latest addresses, governors are still cautious and guarded in proposing new programs. Broadband, small business, education and workforce initiatives continue to be among the innovation-related initiatives announced by the state leaders, with the intent that those efforts will also boost the economic recovery of the states.

Policy positions of gubernatorial candidates in 11 states discussed

Eleven states are holding gubernatorial elections this year with nine incumbents seeking reelection, two of which are facing off against their lieutenant governor. Only one governor, Steve Bullock in Montana, is term-limited and unable to seek reelection. In Utah, Gov. Gary Herbert is stepping down from the position he has held for 10 years. While many of the races this year will reflect referendums on the current governor’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the candidates have announced their innovation and economic development initiatives. In the final stretch of the gubernatorial race, here are some of the candidates’ innovation-related policies, positions and prior accomplishments.

Recent Research: North Carolina’s SBIR/STTR matching program yields results

Since 2005, the One North Carolina Small Business Program has made 423 SBIR/STTR matching awards worth nearly $26 million to more than 250 businesses throughout the state. A new assessment, which updates an earlier report, provides academic rigor to a standard program review. The results indicate that even beyond survey-based attestations to the program’s value, there is a statistically-significant impact of North Carolina’s funding for the competitiveness of recipients.

NC gaining ground on innovation markers

North Carolina is gaining ground nationally in its innovation capacity and the number of innovation-oriented establishments in the state has increased by twice the national rate, according to a new report from the North Carolina Board of Science, Technology and Innovation. The 2019 report, the seventh in a series first published in 2000, evaluates the state’s standing against six other key comparison states (California, Massachusetts, Georgia, Virginia, Colorado and Washington) and the U.S. overall on 40 measures of innovation capacity, and outlines ways to advance the state’s economy by encouraging and harnessing innovation. Some of the other gains the state saw included its academic R&D intensity (grown at a rate of 25.4 percent since 2003) and percentage of workforce in science and engineering occupations (increased by 34.8 percent from 2003 to 2017).

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. In the rest of the country, manufacturing wage growth was 1.2 percent or 3.3 percent across all sectors.

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. Following on our review of higher education and commercialization programs, as well as our ongoing review of state activities in 2019 (see our stories on free tuition offerings, climate change and clean energy), this week we report on new university-industry partnerships, including research capacity activities, launched in 2019.

NC, PA advancing climate initiatives

Last week Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf issued an executive order directing the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), joining nine other Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states in a market-based collaboration to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and combat climate change. And in North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper’s Climate Change Interagency Council presented four key plans related to clean energy and climate change, the result of the governor’s executive order signed last year to reaffirm the state’s commitment to fighting climate change and transition the state to a clean energy economy.

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. Many governors are presenting separate budget addresses, and we will continue to monitor those for news on innovation initiatives.

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