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Geography: West 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.

ARC POWER Initiative awards $47 million to diversify Appalachian economies

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) recently announced its largest POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative funding package. This funding package awards nearly $47 million to 52 projects in 181 counties to support economic diversification and mitigate job losses from coal-related industries in Appalachian communities. 

First five states approved for SSBCI funds

The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced today that five states — Hawaii, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan and West Virginia — have had their State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) capital programs approved by the agency. Not all programs to be run by these states have been announced at this time, but they include: HI-CAP Invest program, which will support impact funds; GROWKS Angel Capital Support Program; Maryland’s Neighborhood Business Works Venture Debt Program; and, West Virginia’s seed capital co-investment fund.

WV science and tech plan outlines recommendations to grow state’s economy

West Virginia has updated its Vision 2025: West Virginia Science & Technology Plan (S&T Plan), which identifies four areas (life sciences, computer and data science, advanced manufacturing, and advanced energy) representing significant and growing university-based research and educational activities that align with the state’s target industries and workforce development goals. 

Reports outline strategy for heart of Appalachia to benefit from clean energy

While the Appalachian region began the 21st century by expanding the reaches of its fossil fuel industries, clean energy development and carbon emission reductions are not yet out of reach for Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. A set of reports developed by the University of Massachusetts’ Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) present opportunities available to these states for the advancement of clean energy technologies within the region while also detailing the economic and employment benefits of potential climate stabilization programs.

Workforce, broadband, rural investments at play in governors’ plans for economic development

As governors continue to roll out their State-of-the State addresses in the month of February, we continue to see a heavy focus on recovering from the pandemic. Given most state’s fiscal condition, governors have been generally hesitant to roll out new initiatives during this time, although broadband continues to receive attention, especially with the renewed attention surrounding its importance during the pandemic. Some states, like Maryland and West Virginia, who are emerging from the pandemic on a better footing than they perhaps anticipated, are ready to forge ahead with tax cuts in an effort to attract business and new residents. Other states, like Illinois, are grappling with projected deficits while trying to maintain services. And a new bond proposal in Maine could help connect workers to jobs in high-growth industries while also spurring development in the state’s industries. This week we catch up with those governors who gave their addresses during these first weeks of February and review each of them for news or initiatives relating to their state’s innovation economy.

Fracking industry failing to contribute to broader regional growth in Appalachia, study finds

While natural gas production has continued to expand throughout the Appalachian region, the surrounding communities have yet to experience the economic and social benefits that were initially seen as surefire byproducts of the natural gas industry’s growing footprint within the area, according to a new report. The newly released study by the Ohio River Valley Institute weighs the impact natural gas production has had on the national economy against the continuing decline of jobs, income, and population levels throughout the Appalachian region.

Policy positions of gubernatorial candidates in 11 states discussed

Eleven states are holding gubernatorial elections this year with nine incumbents seeking reelection, two of which are facing off against their lieutenant governor. Only one governor, Steve Bullock in Montana, is term-limited and unable to seek reelection. In Utah, Gov. Gary Herbert is stepping down from the position he has held for 10 years. While many of the races this year will reflect referendums on the current governor’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the candidates have announced their innovation and economic development initiatives. In the final stretch of the gubernatorial race, here are some of the candidates’ innovation-related policies, positions and prior accomplishments.

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.

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.

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.

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. If approved, it would be just the second state to offer full tuition coverage to its residents (New York offers the Excelsior scholarship, which will be fully phased in in 2020), according to New Mexico’s governor.

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