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: Rhode Island

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2020: FL, GA, IN, IA, KS, KY, MO, RI, WA present diverse efforts to grow economies

Governors’ focus on initiatives particular to their state in this latest round of state of the state addresses. As SSTI continues to review the speeches for new innovation proposals, we found states continuing to focus on education with more attention on teacher salaries and efforts extending all the way down to pre-K with a recognition that the future workforce is influenced by many factors.

State actions in 2019: Opportunity Zones

In 2019, the administrations and legislatures in many states grappled with if and how to adjust state economic development initiatives to leverage the federal Opportunity Zone (OZ) program. The actions of 12 states that implemented new activities are described below.

States with new university-industry partnerships & research capacity activities work to strengthen economies and talent pipelines

Research universities and their partnerships with industry, including an institution’s research capacity, are important elements to building a state’s economy as well as the national economy and talent pipeline and workforce.

SSTI Annual Conference highlights innovation happening across the country

SSTI’s Annual Conference in Providence, Rhode Island, held September 9-11, showcased successful programs, addressed challenges and examined trends and new developments across the innovation economy. We always like to welcome back old friends and are encouraged to see new faces. Said one long-time attendee, “I used to say this is the place to network with the most experienced and sophisticated practitioners. I’m pleased to see the blend of young people coming now, so I would say that SSTI brings together the young and seasoned for very effective conversation and exchange of ideas.”

Gov. Gina Raimondo to welcome SSTI Annual Conference attendees

SSTI and conference host Rhode Island Commerce Corporation are pleased to announce Gov. Gina Raimondo is scheduled to deliver welcoming remarks during the opening plenary session and officially kick off SSTI’s Annual Conference in Providence on September 10!

Gov. Raimondo became the state’s first female governor when she was first elected in 2014 and won re-election in 2018 for a second term. Prior to becoming governor, she worked as the General Treasurer of Rhode Island, spearheading landmark pension reform that would help reorder and ensure the state’s fiscal stability.

During her tenure, the governor has made advancements in education, innovation, and economic development a centerpiece of her economic growth plans. She is also working to make the state a national leader on college affordability and installed Rhode Island’s Promise, allowing two years of free college community college to every in-state student. She has worked to kick-start the state’s economy, and her economic development programs have helped lead the largest drop in the unemployment rate in the country. Her programs aim to increase collaboration, better attract entrepreneurs, create jobs, encourage existing businesses to grow, and foster innovation throughout state government.

Tech Talkin’ Govs, part 3: Economic development, broadband, education and climate change driving governors’ innovation agendas

This week, we see broadband investment in Indiana; education initiatives that begin with pre-K and extend beyond high school in a number of states; lifelong learning approaches; apprenticeships; climate change and green energy initiatives in Nevada and Washington; and more on governors’ agendas. As governors across the country continue to deliver their state of the state addresses to their legislatures and constituents, SSTI monitors the speeches for news of innovation related initiatives.

Rhode Island announces $12 million for Innovation Campus projects

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo has announced the first three projects for the state’s Innovation Campus Program, an effort to support the commercialization of academic research in key industries such as cybersecurity, data analytics and agricultural technology. The centers, in partnership with the University of Rhode Island and located in Kingston and Providence, will receive a combined $12 million from the state. The funding stems from a $20 million innovation bond approved by the state’s voters in 2016.

Key ballot initiatives to impact state futures

SSTI has reviewed the ballot initiatives across the country that affect innovation. Several states have energy initiatives on their ballots, while higher education funding is at play in Maine, Montana, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Utah could become only the second state to fund its schools through gas taxes, if a measure there is passed. At the same time, four states have ballot issues addressing redistricting commissions which could have a significant impact on state legislative makeup when lines are redrawn after the 2020 census.

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.

Policymakers leverage public libraries to promote innovation

For hundreds of years, libraries have helped drive American innovation by serving as a trusted resource and providing information to a wide range of individuals. As libraries continue to implement their own initiatives in this space, policymakers across the country have recently turned to them as a way to level the playing field around workforce development and entrepreneurial support.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2018, part 3: DE, NM, RI, VA, WV governors focus on education, jobs for innovation initiatives

SSTI’s Tech Talkin’ Govs feature continues as governors across the country roll out their state of the state addresses. We review each speech for comments relevant to the innovation economy, and bring you their words directly from their addresses. In this third installment, we present excerpts from governors in Delaware, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Virginia and West Virginia.

Many of the governors across the country are delivering the final addresses and taking the time to look back over their term on accomplishments while others are looking forward to new initiatives. The Delaware governor’s comments in the innovation space centered on jobs and strengthening training opportunities while in New Mexico the governor is term limited and she took the opportunity to focus on jobs and manufacturing partnership with Mexico. The Rhode Island governor, who has indicated she will run for reelection this year, focused on education, job training and small business. Growth in the state’s clean energy industry was an accomplishment touted by the outgoing governor in Virginia. And in West Virginia, the governor is interested in free technical and community colleges.

States of Innovation 2017: Free tuition moving into more state toolboxes

This week we continue our series on state legislation pertaining to the innovation economy that has been enacted this year around the country. This second installment of the States of Innovation 2017 series deals with free tuition.

A number of states took action to increase the education and skills of their workforce by implementing free or greatly reduced tuition programs at either community colleges or state colleges. The move to increase access to higher education while not new, took up increased urgency this year. With Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Tennessee all taking action this past year, Maine and North Carolina were among others considering other options but as of today’s publication not moving the proposals forward.

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