SSTI Digest

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Geography: West Virginia

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.

Free tuition offerings continue to evolve in states across the US

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham became the latest governor to propose a plan for free tuition, with what has been called the “one of the most ambitious attempts to make higher education more accessible.” If approved, the plan would allow in-state students to attend any of the 29 state public colleges or universities, regardless of income. It is designed as a “last-dollar” program.

Innovation, broadband, higher education initiatives get state support

Innovation initiatives are seeing increased funding in some states as legislatures across the country begin to finalize budget bills and other legislation. SSTI continues to monitor these developments and this week we cover budget bills in Idaho that saw small increases to the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program, as well as increases in the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and STEM Action Center, and new funding for a computer science initiative. South Dakota will see an increase in funding for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and West Virginia passed bills creating an SBIR/STTR matching grant program, support for community and technical college tuition assistance, expansion of broadband service, and other innovation-related initiatives in its budget that passed earlier in March.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2019, part 2: Broadband, education, climate change fixes on governors’ radars

Reviewing another slate of governors’ state of the state and inaugural addresses reveals some recurring themes. With a focus on maintaining gains made since the Great Recession and increasing budgets, many governors are holding off on major new initiatives, but are proposing means to increase broadband access, diversify their economies, build renewable energy efforts, and increase their rainy day funds in case of an economic downturn. SSTI presents part 2 of our Tech Talkin’ Govs series, with coverage of governors in Colorado, Connecticut, Oregon, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

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.

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.

MO and WV examine economies, strategize on future efforts

Two states taking a fresh look at their economies convened task forces that recently released reports detailing efforts the states can make to improve their state’s economic futures. In Missouri, Gov. Eric Greitens asked an innovation task force to take stock of the state’s current standing and offer options to help businesses and innovators succeed.

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.

New Faces in Gubernatorial Offices

Twelve gubernatorial seats were up for election Tuesday, five of which were held by incumbents seeking reelection. Four of those – Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D), Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D), Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) – were reelected for second terms. In North Carolina, Democratic candidate and State Attorney General Roy Cooper has a lead of less than one percent over incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory. Gov. McCrory has not conceded and the result is pending a canvass of votes, which may not be complete until November 18.

Cleveland Fed: Use Sector Partnerships to Address Employment Needs

Opportunities for successful workforce development partnerships exist across a variety of industries and geographies, according to a recently released report from the Community Development Department at the Cleveland Fed. The report, Addressing Employment Needs through Sector Partnerships, includes five case studies from throughout the Federal Reserve’s Fourth District, which contains Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Kentucky, the panhandle of West Virginia and all of Ohio. Although sector-based initiatives have been around for quite some time, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, whose final regulations became publicly available in June 2016, places a strong emphasis on aligning education and job training with employer needs, according to the report’s authors Kyle Fee, Matt Klesta, and Lisa Nelson.

EDA Announces Grants to Spur Manufacturing Growth, Address Declining Coal Industry

Since the beginning of July, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has announced almost $7.3 million in grants to support advanced manufacturing and support workforce development efforts in communities impacted by the decline coal industry. In Florida and Washington, the EDA announced funding to support the facilities that can house local manufacturing firms and provide the space and equipment necessary for them to create jobs.

Early Stage Capital Measures Pass in KS, TN, and WV, In Limbo for AZ and ND

A mixture of success and trepidation accompanied 2016 legislation introduced in  several states to create, extend, or recapitalize angel tax credit programs. While legislation in Arizona’s legislature failed due to a lack of support, angel tax credit bills in Kansas and Tennessee passed easily with broad support from their governors, lawmakers, and the public. In North Dakota, the state’s angel tax credit program faces an unclear future due to concerns about transparency and oversight. To stimulate investments in West Virginia’s startup community, Gov.

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