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: Texas

Startup competitions target the circular economy

The circular economy, a phrase meant to redefine economic growth beyond the current “take-make-waste” extractive industrial model, is gaining attention around the world as a way to produce more positive environmental and social benefits. Over the past few months, three cities have announced efforts to promote circular economy startups. In New York City, a contest will offer a $500,000 prize to the best idea and business plan that seeks to repurpose the city’s recyclables and manufacture a product to sell to the local market. The City of Phoenix and Arizona State University announced four companies will participate in an incubator affiliated with the Resource Innovation and Solutions Network (RISN). Last fall, public sector partners and the university-based Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) collaborated to launch a new Circular Economy Incubator in the region.

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.

New program expands low-income students' credentialing options

Low-income students in the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) will be among the first allowed to use federal student aid to enroll in programs offered by nontraditional educational providers. The providers — including coding bootcamps, online courses, and employer organizations — are partnering with accredited colleges or universities through an experimental program called Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships (EQUIP). The U.S. Department of Education has announced that Brookhaven College is the first program to receive final approval.

Salary and debt from college majors revealed in new Texas tool

May 1 marks the deadline to choose a school for students considering their college options. A new tool developed by the University of Texas system and the U.S. Census Bureau can give a real sense of what students graduating from that system can expect to earn as well as the average debt graduates carry. The tool, seekUT, reveals the average earnings from each of the majors at the different schools and branch campuses one, five and 10 years after graduation.

SC, TX and WV budgets retain some innovation funding

The state budget process is winding down across the country and SSTI continues to review the final budgets for funding for innovation-based programs. This week, we found level funding for South Carolina programs including MEP and regional-based economic development efforts, while university programs in Texas are taking a hit, and in West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice refused to sign the state budget although he will allow the legislatively approved measure to become law. Unless otherwise noted, the figures below represent level funding from the previous budgets.

Tech Talkin’ Govs Part V: MD, ME, TX keep education in mind

With the latest round of state of the state or budget addresses, the states’ governors focused on their states’ financial situation. Education and economic development were still on the minds of leaders in Maine, Maryland, and Texas. With this fifth installment, less than 10 governors have yet to deliver their addresses in the coming weeks or months.

OH, TN, TX, state budgets focus on innovation, R&D, education

SSTI continues to review state budget proposals as they are released, combing through them for TBED-related initiatives. This week, education and research and development programs are revealed as we examine the budget proposals from governors in Ohio, Tennessee and Texas.

Regions win through comprehensive workforce development strategy

With job growth for middle-skill level jobs slowing, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and Austin-based nonprofit Center for Public Policy Priorities studied the nation’s best practices and surveyed regional workforce boards in Texas to determine how communities there are addressing the challenge. Their findings are detailed in the report, Regional Talent Pipelines: Collaborating with Industry to Build Opportunities in Texas, released last month.

Texas Workforce Funding Supports Innovative Academies at High Schools, Industry Partnerships

On September 2, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced $7.2 million in funding for the newly established Texas Industry Cluster Innovative Academies. An element of Gov. Abbott’s Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative established in March 2016, the initiative will provide competitive grant funding to establish Innovative Academies within Texas high schools to provide students with learning opportunities in high-demand occupations while earning college course credit prior to high school graduation.

EDA Announces Over $8M to Expand Entrepreneurial, Business Support Services in AL, NY, TX

Over the last month, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced over $8 million in grants to expand entrepreneurial and business support services in Alabama, New York, and Texas including:

Workforce Efforts in AL, TX, VA Look to Build, Maintain Talent Pipelines

While the recent Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) has some economists concerned that the U.S. economy is running out of qualified workers to fill existing openings, several states have announced workforce programs that are intended to address the skills-gap and build the talent pipeline in their respective states.

Texas Launches $40M University Research Initiative to Succeed Emerging Tech Fund

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed legislation that (SB 632) establishes a new Governor's University Research Initiative and ends the state's Emerging Technology Fund (ETF). Created in 2004, the ETF provided financial support for research partnerships at private companies and state universities through equity investments and grants. The new initiative will not take equity in companies, but instead will focus on university research and commercialization grants.

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