SSTI Digest

Geography: Texas

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. For a region to succeed in their workforce development efforts, the study states three tasks must be accomplished: identify growth through an industry cluster analysis, convene a sector partnership, and create and strengthen career pathways.

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. The academies will target specific course work and educational opportunities that lead to direct employment in high-demand occupations for Texas’ key industry clusters:

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. These programs are intended to build regional partnerships between local workforce development agencies, economic development agencies, industry, and others. Approaches include a statewide apprenticeship tax credit in Alabama; occupation training for high-demand occupations in Texas; and, incumbent workforce training in Virginia.

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. A portion of the funds will be used to fund the recruitment of Nobel Prize-winning researchers and members of the National Academies. The approved FY 2016-17 budget allocates $40 million of the ETF's remaining funds for the initiative. Read the governor's announcement...

Tech Talkin' Govs: Tax Reform, Higher Ed Featured in Governors' State of the State Addresses

SSTI's Tech Talkin' Govs series has returned as governors across the country formally convene 2015 legislative sessions. The series highlights new and expanded TBED proposals from governors' State of the State, Budget and Inaugural addresses.

CT, IL, NH, TX Budget Proposals Support STEM, Workforce, Research

This week, governors in Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Texas revealed their budget proposals, with commonalities around STEM education, workforce development, and university research initiatives. Governors in two states, New Hampshire and Texas, made growth in the innovation economy a specific priority area of their proposed budgets.

MI, OH, OK, TN, WI Budgets Highlight Workforce Development, Tax Credits

This week, governors in Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Wisconsin unveiled their budget proposals. Included in the governors’ recommendations are several cases of agency restructuring and funds for workforce development, innovation tax credits, and other TBED-relevant issues.

TX Gov Announces Changes for Economic Development Office, Plans End of Tech Fund

New Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently announced several planned changes for the state’s economic development efforts. The governor is restructuring a number of offices, including the Workforce Investment Council and Women’s Commission under the Director of Economic Development, to increase focus on job creation. Abbott also proposed the elimination of the state’s Emerging Technology Fund, and using the programs remaining balances to launch a new University Research Initiative. The new program would provide matching funds to help Texas universities recruit world-class researchers. Additional ETF funding would be transferred to the Texas Enterprise Fund, a deal-closing fund administered by the governor’s office. Read the announcement…

New Governors Offer Previews of Their Economic Strategies

On Tuesday, 36 states held gubernatorial elections. Though it was a good night overall for incumbents, 10 new governors will take office next year. Republicans picked up four governorships that are currently under Democratic control, including Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts, while Democrats managed a win in currently Republican Pennsylvania. New governors will also take office in Arizona, Hawaii, Nebraska, Rhode Island and Texas. Several of these new candidates have made technology-based economic development a part of their platform, including new funding for research, STEM initiatives, workforce development and manufacturing.

San Francisco, Austin Seek to Include More Residents in Tech Prosperity

On the heels of a recent memo from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) highlighting the difficulty middle-skill workers are having finding a route into the modern economy, reports from two tech hotspots suggest that local action is needed to ensure that tech success translates into widespread economic prosperity. San Francisco and Austin are leaders in the nation’s innovation economy and fared better than most of their peer cities through the Great Recession. However, rising housing prices and a lack of resources for middle- and low- wage workers have led to rising inequality and less robust economies in both cities.