SSTI Digest

Geography: New Jersey

Newly elected governors support innovation strategies

The innovation economy is a featured component of both newly elected governors’ agendas, with each showing support for TBED-related initiatives in their platforms. In New Jersey, Governor-elect Phil Murphy (D) has pledged to reclaim the state’s innovation economy while in Virginia Governor-elect Ralph Northam (D) proposed a new workforce development plan focused on “the new-collar jobs of the 21st century.”

State grants, partnerships focus on workforce needs in several states

Noting a growing need for additional education to meet workforce needs, several states have announced programs focusing on education and workforce needs, channeling state funding to grants that will focus on aligning learning opportunities with business and industry needs, or creating new initiatives in the private sector. Reaching a higher educational attainment among a greater percentage of the workforce by 2025 is also a goal set by several of the states. Among the initiatives undertaken are free tuition options in Arkansas through the ARFuture grant, Nevada STEM Workforce Challenge Grants, a grant program in Utah focused on education and industry, and a private sector effort in New Hampshire.

Nine states explore science policy fellowships

After training nearly 80 PhD scientists and engineers in the craft of policy making, the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) has awarded planning grants to nine other states to evaluate the potential to create a policy fellowship for scientists and engineers in their state capital.  The new one-year grant, which is administered by CCST and funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Simons Foundation, will support teams in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Washington as they work on feasibility studies and other strategic steps toward creating science fellowships in their state policy arenas. It is up to each state to design the fellowship that would work best in their state, whether that is a position in the legislature or another body.

SC, NJ, Others Announce Funding for Industry-Specific Workforce Development

To build 21st century workforces in key S&T sectors, several new public-private initiatives have been launched in South Carolina, New Jersey, Utah, and Montana. These initiatives are intended to better align the educational training of students with the needs of industries that each respective state has identified as a key industry cluster. Target industries include advanced manufacturing, aerospace, biotechnology, chemistry and plastics, and cyber security.

IL, MI, NJ Face Difficult Decisions in Upcoming Budget Negotiations

Governors around the country continue to lay 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 Illinois, Michigan and New Jersey.

Newark Venture Partners to Launch $50M Investment Fund, Accelerator for City’s Startups

Located just a 20-minutes from New York City, Newark has long existed in the shadow of its much larger neighbor. Despite this, Newark’s downtown received an important boost to its innovation ecosystem this week with the announcement of Newark Venture Partners, a venture capital fund and accelerator. Seeded with funding from and Prudential Financial and backed by city and state officials, Newark Venture Partners announced its intention to raise $50 million to form an investment fund dedicated to supporting local tech startups.

Budget Update: Education Spending Vetoed in IA, Stable in CA, OH

Now that many governors have signed spending bills and legislative sessions are drawing to a close, the SSTI Digest will check on the status of proposals related to the innovation economy, and examine the state of technology-based economic development funding in the states. This week, we review spending bills in California, Iowa, Ohio and New Jersey.

Manufacturing Resurgence Attracts Attention of State Legislatures

This article is part of SSTI's series on trends in state technology-based economic development legislation in 2014. Read our other entries covering legislative action on patent reform, research capacity, capital & tax credits, technology commercialization & infrastructure and  workforce & STEM.

Five Sector-Focused Innovation Labs Aim to Support New Jersey Businesses

A new effort by the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) seeks to make existing companies more competitive, support the growth of startups and create jobs by leveraging the assets of government, industry and higher education around five sector-focused labs. NJIT will launch a new nonprofit corporation, the New Jersey Innovation Institute, to support the labs – geared toward civil infrastructure, defense and homeland security, healthcare delivery systems, biopharmaceutical production, and financial services. The labs will work on technological challenges identified by industry partners. Read more.

WI Lawmakers Embrace Crowdfunding; NJ May Be Next

A measure to amend the state securities laws in order to permit equity crowdfunding won approval in the Wisconsin Legislature following swift and unanimous passage in the Senate this week. The bill, called the Wisconsin Crowdfunding and Securities Exemptions (CASE) for Jobs Act, is aimed at providing better access to small business capital by connecting Wisconsin-based investors with startups through crowdfunding websites. Wisconsin now joins three other states, Georgia, Kansas and North Carolina, that have enacted similar securities exemptions. Lawmakers across several states, including in New Jersey, have cited frustrations regarding the delay in full implementation of the federal JOBS Act as a reason for creating the state-level exemptions.

TBED People and Orgs

President Obama launched the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee “2.0.” Former SSTI board member Luis Proenza, president of The University of Akron is part of the steering committee chaired by Andrew Liveris, president, chairman, and CEO of the Dow Chemical Company, and Rafael Reif, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Candidates for NJ Governor Lack Specifics in Jobs Plans

In contrast to last week's coverage of the Virginia gubernatorial candidates on issues that affect jobs and the economy, there are little specifics on the topic provided by either New Jersey candidate. Incumbent Gov. Chris Christie has a significant lead in the polls over Democratic challenger and New Jersey State Senator Barbara Buono, but he has offered little in the way of new ideas for economic growth in the next term, instead relying heavily on past accomplishments. Sen. Buono has put forth a jobs and economic security plan outlining support for increased investment in R&D, tax credits targeted to life sciences companies, and encouraging STEM jobs and workers. However, the plan lacks concrete proposals.