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

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.

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.

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