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DOL rescinds IRAPs, refocusing on long-standing Registered Apprenticeship model for success

Citing an 85-year record of promoting higher quality training and worker protection standards, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has rescinded the short-lived Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP) in favor of the established Registered Apprenticeship (RA) program. DOL found the IRAP program, instituted in 2017 , to be “a duplicative, lower-quality system that was not in the best interest of workers and industries.”

Manufacturing Week celebrates industry while employment grows

As Manufacturing Week kicks off on Friday, Oct. 7, the U.S. Census Bureau and Manufacturing USA are providing valuable manufacturing statistics and data to help inform policymakers and businesses, while also highlighting careers in the industry.

SBA announces 44 FAST awardees

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced 44 FAST awards, including 12 new awards,  totaling over $5.4 million, with each up to $125,000 for specialized training, mentoring, and technical assistance for research and development. The goal of the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program is to strengthen the competitiveness of small businesses and startups to improve Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program outcomes.

Georgia Research Alliance companies raise more than $2B in venture capital

The Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) — a nonprofit working to grow Georgia’s economy through supporting research at state universities — recently announced that its portfolio of companies had raised more than over $2 billion in venture capital. These startups also had a high survival rate — 88% were still in business four years after launch, outpacing the national average of 44%. Along with this announcement, GRA released 2021 data on their economic impact on the state, demonstrating growth from the previous year.

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia releases the Anchor Economy Report, dashboard

In an effort to help to determine the economic impact of higher education institutions and hospitals within their regions and how reliant these regions are on these “anchor institutions” to drive their economy, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia developed an Anchor Economy Initiative. It recently published an Anchor Economy Report and created the Anchor Economy Dashboard, a new data set and website that measures employment, income, and gross value added from the institutions and hospitals, along with a new reliance index tool, for all 524 multicounty U.S. regions (394 metropolitan and 130 nonmetropolitan).

DOE opens $7 billion funding opportunity for regional clean hydrogen hubs

Representing one of the largest investments in the agency’s history,  the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has opened applications for the clean hydrogen hubs (H2Hubs) program. These regional hubs will be spread out across the country and receive $7 billion in funding. The H2Hubs Program will be managed by DOE’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations with support from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

DOD awards $30M to six Defense Manufacturing Communities

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation (OLDCC) recently announced the six winners under the Defense Manufacturing Community Support Program (DMCSP), with funding of approximately $30 million. Each organization received close to $5 million for long-term investments in critical skills, facilities, workforce development, R&D, and more with the goal of strengthening the national security innovation base. The six awards are listed below, while more information can be found on the OLDCC’s website.

Treasury releases RFI and clarifications on SSBCI technical assistance

Last week, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released clarifications and a request for information (RFI) related to its $500 million pool for State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) technical assistance.

Inflation provides big boost to crowdfunding limits

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently published statutorily-required five-year inflation adjustments for various limits placed on crowdfunding, and the increases are substantial.

New report highlights federal bioeconomy policy considerations in R&D, regional promotion, and workforce development

On the heels of President Biden’s recent announcement of a Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative to boost the United States bioeconomy, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) has released The Bioeconomy: A Primer, which examines the future of the bioeconomy, explores the United States’ competitiveness in global bioeconomy efforts, and notes the current lack of federal coordination on building the bioeconomy. To address this lack of coordination, the report urges Congress to develop a more comprehensive national strategy for establishing the bioeconomy.   

Congress advances three-year SBIR/STTR reauthorization

On Tuesday, the Senate passed a bill to extend the SBIR, STTR and related pilot programs through Sept. 30, 2025. The House is expected to act on the legislation next week, just ahead of the current expiration at the end of this month. In addition to reauthorizing the programs, the legislation makes changes to performance standards for companies with numerous awards, foreign risk management, topic solicitations, and requires several new reports by SBA and the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Gender and racial makeup of startup's founding team impacts funding

A recent report by DocSend Inc., a subsidiary of DropBox, surveyed over 300 pre-seed startups, finding that on average, in terms of gender alone, mixed teams raise the most funds, while all-male teams raise the least. In terms of both gender and race, on average, mixed gendered teams with minority members raise the most funds while all-male teams with no minority members raise the least. These findings are consistent with prior studies in terms of reflecting the levels of access to funding opportunities, relative lack of investment in diverse teams, and systemic gender bias.

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