SSTI Digest

Geography: Oklahoma

TBED People

Craig Dye was named director of the Mtech VentureAccelerator Program, a fast-track, early admission program tied to Mtech's Technology Advancement Program.

TBED People and Job Opportunities

Job Corner
i2E has three new career opportunities available in their Oklahoma City office. These positions are designed to work directly with entrepreneurs and grow the support infrastructure of early stage companies in the region.

OCAST Remains A Stand Alone Entity

The Oklahoma Center for Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) will remain a stand-alone entity after a proposal by Gov. Brad Henry to consolidate the agency within the Department of Commerce failed to win legislative approval. OCAST provides funding and resources to help businesses develop and commercialize technologies. The agency is slated to receive $19.15 million in FY11, a 6 percent reduction from the previous year.

Oklahoma Governor's Budget Consolidates OCAST and Commerce

The Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) is among a list of 16 state agencies slated for consolidation in Gov. Brad Henry's budget proposal, which he says will result in cost savings of $5.3 million. Under the proposal, OCAST would be moved to the Department of Commerce, along with Aeronautics, Indian Affairs and the Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority. Funding for OCAST would be reduced by 3 percent, for a total $19.8 million in FY11. OCAST provides funding and resources to help businesses develop and commercialize technologies.

Tech Talkin' Govs, Part IV

The fourth installment of SSTI's Tech Talkin' Govs series includes excerpts from speeches delivered in Alaska, Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, and Oklahoma. The first three installments are available in the Jan 13, Jan. 20 and Jan. 27 Digests.

Legislative Wrap-up: Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island Pass FY10 Budgets

Over the past few months, several states have enacted spending plans for the upcoming fiscal year and passed legislation to support renewable energy initiatives and tax credits for R&D. While some TBED programs will face dramatic cuts in FY10, others are slated for slight decreases or will receive level funding. The following synopsis provides an overview of the 2009 legislative sessions across the following states:

State TBED Investments Pay Benefits, According to Program Assessments

In a period of tightening budgets, it is important for stakeholders to know that the investments they are making in tech-based economic development are yielding positive economic results - and returning revenue to the state. Recent impact assessments to examine comprehensive TBED programs in three states show how smart these investments have been. More telling, different evaluation models were used in all three states and they each reached similar conclusions: strategic TBED investments can stimulate economic growth.

Status of major legislation

Status of some of the major legislation in the 2009 session of the 52nd Oklahoma Legislature as of Feb. 6:

Tech Talkin' Govs, Part V

The fifth installment of the Tech Talkin' Govs series includes highlights from state of the state, budget and inaugural addresses from governors in Alabama, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Utah.

TBED People and Organizations

Gov. Jim Douglas plans to merge the Vermont Departments of Economic Development and Housing and Community Affairs. Douglas's deputy chief of staff Betsy Bishop was appointed commissioner of the Department of Economic Development. She replaces Mike Quinn, who stepped down after serving six years in the position.

Governors Challenge Youth to Solve Real-world Industry Problem

Armed with professional advice from mentors in scientific fields and free access to sophisticated design and engineering software, teachers and students from Hawaii, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Vermont and Virginia will participate in a national competition to solve a real-world engineering challenge defined by the aviation industry.
The idea behind the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Real World Design Challenge is to create a pipeline of highly qualified workers by preparing high school students for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields based on issues facing high-tech and defense industries.
Ralph Coppola, director of Worldwide Education for Parametric Technology Corporation, said many aerospace and defense companies that work as contractors to national security agencies are concerned the U.S. is not producing enough qualified workers who must be able to work on both the defense and commercial side. A survey conducted with these companies in the Northeast found 54 percent of the workforce is 45 years or older and one-third are eligible for retirement today. At the same time, engineering degrees make up only 5 percent of the total baccalaureate population in the U.S., Coppola said.
U.S. Continues to Trail Behind in STEM Graduates
A coalition of 16 leading business organizations echoed this concern with the release of a report last month assessing three years’ progress in working toward a goal of doubling the number of students earning bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields by 2015. The report by Tapping America’s Potential indicates growing support for the group’s agenda to advance U.S. competitiveness in STEM, but shows little progress toward the goal. In fact, the number of degrees in STEM fields awarded to undergraduate students has only grown by 24,000 since 2005 – a small increase that is not on track to reach the goal of 400,000 over the next seven years, the report finds.
The Real World Design Challenge hopes to reverse this trend by providing high school students with the background and framework for competing more effectively in the global economy. In designing the program, aerospace and defense companies voiced a need for employees having seven to
10 years of experience and the necessary education and skills. Recognizing that this requirement would add another decade to the pipeline, program administrators suggested integrating the real-world experience at the K-12 and undergraduate level. 
Engaging Youth in Real-world Situations
Ten states with significant aerospace industry presence were invited to participate in the challenge during the pilot year. So far, six states have confirmed their participation, beginning with an announcement last month from Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas. Next year, the challenge will be open to all U.S. states and territories. Once a school has signed on, the teachers are trained to use software and other tools to apply in teaching design and global engineering. Teachers will then lead teams of 3-7 students who will work on the same design challenge defined by Cessna engineers – an issue currently being addressed in the aviation industry.
Each participating teacher will receive nearly $1 million in engineering software to be used in the challenge. Teachers and students are given access to DOE energy laboratories and may consult with industry experts from the Federal Aviation Administration. Teams will submit their solutions to a review board consisting of experts in government, K-12 education, higher education and industry. The governors of each participating state will announce a winning team within their state in early spring who will then go on to compete in a national challenge in Washington
, D.C., which consists of a written submission and oral presentation on a newly defined challenge.
A major goal of the challenge is to teach students to become better innovators, Coppola said. The student teams are built around real industry roles, including a project manager, scientist, engineer, and community relations and marketing specialist. The national presentation will be much like submitting and defending a proposal for a contract or a thesis in which students are challenged and must defend their position, Coppola said.
More information on the Real World Design Challenge, a partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy, the Federal Aviation Administration, Parametric Technology Corporation, Hewlett-Packard Corporation and Flometrics Inc., is available at:

People & TBED Organizations

The Aerospace, Manufacturing and Information Technology (AMIT) Cluster of Southern Arizona has consolidated its operations with the Arizona Technology Council.