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: Pennsylvania

BFTP programs boost PA economy by $4.1 billion over five years

An independent economic analysis of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners reveals its impact on Pennsylvania’s economy — boosting the overall economy by $4.1 billion between 2012 and 2016, helping to create 11,407 high-paying jobs and generating $385 million in tax receipts for the state. Because the jobs were created in industries that pay 52 percent higher than the average nonfarm salary in Pennsylvania, the impact on the state’s GSP was greater, according to the report.

ARC announces $26.5M in POWER grants

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced its latest round of grants for Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER). The 35 grants totaling $26.5 million support workforce training and education in manufacturing, technology, healthcare, and other industry sectors; invest in infrastructure enhancements to continue developing the region's tourism, entrepreneurial, and agriculture sectors; and, increase access to community-based capital, including impact-investing funds, venture capital, and angel investment streams. The awards are projected to create or retain over 5,400 jobs and leverage more than $193 million in private investment into 59 Appalachian counties.

A few of the awards (with SSTI members in boldface) are highlighted here:

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.

College mergers a prescription in meeting higher ed headaches

Declining enrollments, higher costs and limited state funding continue to challenge higher education institutions, and possible mergers continue to surface as an option to meeting those challenges. In Pennsylvania, a new study sponsored by the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee identifies options to help ensure the sustainability of the State System of Higher Education, and mergers factor into those considerations.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2018, part 5: IL, OK, OR, PA, TN looking to enhance workforce, build economies

Governors are continuing their annual address to legislators and constituents and workforce development continues to take center stage, with the governor of Oregon rolling out a new five-step plan she hopes will invigorate the economy and close the skills gap while Oklahoma acknowledged difficult times and Tennessee says it may achieve an education goal two years ahead of schedule.

Pittsburgh at precipice of innovation initiative

Recognizing that the former steel city was at tipping point in its development, Pittsburgh’s city leaders decided to tip the scale toward continued growth. Whether the city is able to rise to the level of a serious global competitor may hinge on the implementation of initiatives that will guide the city in capitalizing on their innovation, research and business assets, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution. Pittsburgh leaders received a call to action as a result of a collaborative effort initiated by two city foundations and the Brookings Institution.

Pennsylvania budget becomes law despite stalemate

On July 11, without Gov. Tom Wolf’s signature, Pennsylvania’s budget (HB 218) for FY 2018 became law. State lawmakers, however, are still in the midst of a stalemate over how to pay for a nearly $32 billion budget. While Wolf and other Democratic leaders prefer increasing revenue through tax reform, Republican leaders are focusing on other alternatives including a bond effort and expansions of gambling to address the over $2 billion shortfall.

Life sciences industry growing in Midwest, Philadelphia

The Midwest and the Greater Philadelphia region have found pathways to build strong life sciences industries and create environments that provide the necessary risk capital for healthcare startups. These life sciences clusters are driven by leading healthcare companies, high quality health systems, and top notch research institutions as well as strong entrepreneurial support ecosystems.

AL, CT, FL, MI, MO, OK, PA and WI budget proposals boost and cut TBED

In the latest round of state budget proposals, TBED initiatives receive mixed reviews. Some governors are boosting funding while others in cash-strapped states are proposing cuts.

Philly collaboration aims to accelerate business

Tuesday’s ceremonial groundbreaking on a new building in Philadelphia marks the foundation of a new collaboration between a number of players that are hoping to accelerate the innovation community in the city. University City Science Center (UCSC), an SSTI member that has operated in Philadelphia for 54 years, is partnering with the Boston-area Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) as well as Wexford Science and Technology on a new space that will create a stronger group of serial entrepreneurs and increase the level of investment in the community, said UCSC President and CEO Stephen Tang.

$80 million awarded for Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Institute in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh will be home to the Advanced Robotics Manufacturing (ARM) Innovation Hub, the newest member of the Manufacturing USA network. The U.S. Department of Defense announced that American Robotics, Inc., an independent nonprofit spun out of Carnegie Mellon University will receive roughly $80 million in federal funding to launch the institute, matched with $173 million in support from the university and a consortium representing approximately 120 industry partners, 40 academic institutions and 60 non-profit and government entities.

EDA Announces Funding for Entrepreneurial, Workforce Development in OK, PA SC, WY

Over the last several months, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has announced millions of dollars in grants to support tech-based economic development efforts in communities across the country (see recent Digest articles from August 18 and September 8).

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