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: Tennessee

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.

States launching new tech commercialization programs to strengthen economies

Knowing that research universities are integral to the innovation in this country, states continue their efforts to build the economy by supporting efforts to move the research from the labs to the market.

Tech Talkin’ Govs, part 8: education, workforce, climate action and rural initiatives focus of innovation efforts

This week we nearly finish our state of the state coverage, save two remaining governors (Louisiana and Minnesota) who have yet to present their addresses. In reviewing the speeches for news on innovation efforts, we find education taking the main stage in Florida and Tennessee, while Alabama and Ohio’s governors are hoping to build the state’s workforce, and North Carolina, still recovering from natural disasters, wants to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and provide tuition assistance for community college.

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.

States launch more help for students in completing education

North Carolina and Tennessee are implementing new initiatives to get students in their states the help they need to either complete degrees or training that will help improve workforce development in those states. North Carolina’s governor recently added a new line of grants dubbed “Finish Line” grants, to help students that are struggling with non-academic problems complete community college.

Launch Tennessee entrepreneurship festival registration open

The 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival, being held Aug. 29-30 in Nashville and powered by Launch Tennessee, is one of the Southeast's largest gathering of entrepreneurs, innovators, VCs and ecosystem builders. Join your peers to hear from Fortune 500 leaders, startup founders, and top VC's from around the country. Agenda highlights include impact investing, opportunity zones, startup ecosystems done right and going to market right the first time.

States look to investment tax credits to increase economic growth in DE, NJ, TN

Over the past few weeks, Delaware, New Jersey, and Tennessee have proposed, announced or expanded investment tax credit programs to spur job creation and innovation. In Delaware, Gov. John Carney signed the Angel Investor Job Creation and Innovation Act, while Tennessee is expanding its Angel Tax Credit criteria, and New Jersey is proposing establishing innovation zones and tax credits for high-tech businesses within those zones.

Tennessee Promise paying off

New data analyzing the first cohort of Tennessee Promise students reveals a higher graduation rate and increased number of students earning a college credential when compared to the previous year’s non-Promise cohort. The inaugural class of Tennessee Promise students graduated from high school in 2015 and completed their five semesters of eligibility in December. The program is showing impressive early results including:

States, industry partners launch workforce training efforts focused on 21st century jobs in CA, KY, MD, MI, NC, TN

Due to the effectiveness of employer-sponsored training program, U.S. states are working to build partnerships with industry partners that leverage public resources to help develop a 21st century workforce that addresses specific industry needs. Over the last month, partnerships have been announced between states and key industry leaders including AGCO, CVS, Tesla, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Some of those collaborations are detailed below.

Workforce winning in latest state budget proposals; KS, MA, MI, OK, TN reviewed

Workforce development programs and apprenticeships continue to win favor in many of the governors’ state budget proposals. In our latest review of TBED initiatives being proposed in state budgets, we found Kansas asking for additional funds for research, worker training and apprenticeships; Massachusetts is looking to double community college scholarship funding and increase several workforce development initiatives; and in Michigan, skilled trades training would receive a boost.

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.

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