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Geography: Virginia

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2023: Governors’ innovation vision from their annual addresses

After a busy election season that saw gubernatorial elections in 36 states, newly elected and re-elected governors are beginning to deliver their annual State of the State addresses, kicking off new programs and reviewing the conditions of their states. SSTI reviews the speeches every year and covers news of new developments and initiatives the governors have highlighted as they relate to the innovation economy. New programs are laid out here in the governors own words as excerpts from their addresses. In these first addresses, there is heavy emphasis on workforce and education among all governors; water issues for Western governors; and, clean energy. Scroll through the story to find updates as more addresses are delivered.

Governors lay out plans for recovery, rebuilding in annual State of the State addresses

Across the country, the governors have begun delivering their State of the State addresses, an annual ritual where they have the opportunity to review where the state’s economy stands and preview their plans for the coming year. This year’s remarks reflect the dire conditions most states are experiencing with the pandemic, economic fallout, racial strife and national political upheaval. Despite the heavy focus on states’ efforts to respond to the pandemic, governors have struck a hopeful note and are focusing on recovery. Some governors have noted that the fallout in their state was not as severe as they originally anticipated and there are resources for new initiatives. Some, like Arizona and Virginia are considering gaming revenue to boost their budgets, while legalization of marijuana is being pursued in Connecticut, Kentucky (medical marijuana) and Virginia.

States address workforce issues pushed to forefront by pandemic

Faced with the sudden, unprecedented fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Ned Lamont last month launched a new resource to provide workers and businesses in Connecticut with career tools, including partnering with Indeed and workforce training providers. Last week, the Mississippi Legislature passed a bill appropriating $55 million for short-term training and support of programs for training of employees and others displaced due to the health crisis. Minnesota is partnering with Coursera to offer free courses to its workers that have lost jobs because of the pandemic. And noting the reality that many of the jobs previously held in the service industry will not recover, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation reported that “the first priority for recovery is to reskill and upskill these workers, and get them back to work as soon as possible, at family-sustaining wages that offer them a strong future.” These efforts are just a few of the initiatives underway across the country to address the workforce crisis.

States dealt blow with pandemic

In general, the effect of the pandemic on states’ budgets due to the wave of business, retail, and commerce shutdowns, as well as other reduced economic activity across the nation, is not entirely known, or too early to forecast; however, a number of states are beginning to experience the initial impacts of a substantial downturn. With several states having already enacted their 2020-21 budgets, special sessions are expected later this year to deal with declining revenues. Others ended sessions early without a new fiscal year spending plan in place. Many are also acting quickly to help mitigate the effects of lost revenues and an increased demand for services. Some of the states’ impacts and actions are outlined below.

States launching innovation initiatives across the country

Proving that innovation is appealing to states regardless of their size or political leanings, new initiatives in both Democratic and Republican states, as well as large states like California and small states like Vermont, are driving innovation agendas into action in areas ranging from clean energy and aid for students and colleges, to new venture capital investments and bond financing to support business collaborations with higher education to help translate cutting-edge research into products and companies. It is important to note that these new initiatives are in addition to important work that is already occurring in many states. SSTI continues to bring you news of these actions as governors, legislatures, and economic development organizations capitalize on proven programs to build out their innovation economies, with several examples provided here.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2020: ID, VA and WV seek growth in economies

The governors are beginning their state of the state addresses, which SSTI reviews every year for news from the states’ executives on innovation-related initiatives. Each year we bring you the governors’ own words from their speeches as they pertain to the innovation economy. In this first installment, we see education, workforce, and broadband initiatives from Idaho and Virginia, which is also proposing a new office for wind development, and West Virginia is turning to new uses for coal and a new investment fund.

Virginia’s proposed legislation for innovation gathering steam

While Virginia has worked over the past 30 years to build their innovation economy, this past year it changed up the game. SSTI recently talked with Robby Demeria, Virginia’s deputy secretary of commerce and trade for technology, about the planning underway in Virginia and how the commonwealth is proceeding with a new initiative to grow their economy.

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. In the rest of the country, manufacturing wage growth was 1.2 percent or 3.3 percent across all sectors.

Virginia tech talent initiative fueled by Amazon need

Students and tech employers stand to benefit from a new initiative in Virginia that grew out of the Commonwealth’s proposal to Amazon, which is building its second headquarters in Northern Virginia. Last week, Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Virginia will invest in their tech talent pipeline to produce 31,000 new computer science graduates over 20 years.

Election results could yield new state policies; TX doubles cancer R&D

Democrats made some gains in Virginia’s Legislature, and in Kentucky, the governor’s seat looks to be turning over to a Democrat, but the current Republican is requesting a recanvass in the close race. If those results hold, Democratic challenger and current Attorney General Andy Beshear will take the seat from incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin, ending the state’s Republican trifecta (where one party holds the governorship and both chambers of the legislature). Mississippi’s gubernatorial seat remained in Republican control, while the gubernatorial election in Louisiana takes place on Nov. 16, and the incumbent Democratic governor there is seeking another term. Following Tuesday’s elections, the divided government in Virginia turned into a Democratic trifecta in Virginia, as Republicans lost their hold in both the House and Senate. Those outcomes and results from several state legislative elections, along with the results of several innovation-related initiatives, are highlighted below.

Several states in play this election cycle for innovation initiatives, gubernatorial and legislative elections

As voters head to the polls next week, some will be deciding the fate of innovation and development-related initiatives, while voters in Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi will be voting in gubernatorial elections. The initiatives include a possible additional $3 billion in Texas for cancer research. And in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia, legislative chambers are holding regular elections. Those races and initiatives are covered 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. Following on our review of higher education and commercialization programs, as well as our ongoing review of state activities in 2019 (see our stories on free tuition offerings, climate change and clean energy), this week we report on new university-industry partnerships, including research capacity activities, launched in 2019.

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