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

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.

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.

States take the lead on climate change

When Gov. Janet Mills addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 23, it was the first time a sitting governor of Maine has been asked to address the body. She had been invited as part of her participation in the UN Climate Action Summit 2019, and has made tackling climate change and embracing renewable energy key priorities of her administration. She is not the only governor stepping into the role where the federal government has backed out.

Pennsylvania faces challenges, but has assets in innovation

An early national leader in technology-based economic development (TBED), Pennsylvania now faces several challenges in order to keep up with other states and regions, according to Ideas for Pennsylvania Innovation: Examining Efforts by Competitor States and National Leaders, a new report from the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings.

Sustained Commitment Results in Significant Impact

State and regional innovation programs continue to encourage significant economic growth across the country. The most recent example of the impact programs are having comes from JumpStart, a Cleveland-based venture development organization, which recently released its 2018 economic impact report. It found that companies in Ohio and New York fostered by JumpStart generated more than $1 billion in economic impact. This increased the cumulative JumpStart total to $6.6 billion since 2010.

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.

New program supports additive manufacturing in US Army

A new program designed to support additive manufacturing (AM) technology insertion into the existing U.S. Army supply chain could also grow the southwestern Pennsylvania manufacturing sector. Catalyst Connection, in partnership with the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) and America Makes, launched AMNOW, a potentially multi-phase, multi-year contract funded by the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) under the U.S. Army Futures Command.

Tech Talkin’ Govs, part 6: Education, workforce, climate change top TBED agendas

Educating the next generation of workers, ensuring they will have the skills necessary for the jobs of the future and paying attention to the actions that will affect the climate are all on the agendas of the latest round of governors giving their state of the state and budget addresses. A focus on skills can be seen in addresses from governors in California, Maine, Michigan, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. States are also continuing with initiatives to forward attention on climate change, as reflected in Maine’s climate agenda and Michigan joining other states in the Climate Alliance.

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.

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