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$194.7 million grant boosts U of A research, creates new institute

The Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation is making a $194.7 million grant to advance research and economic development at the University of Arkansas and will allow a new research institute to become reality. The grant is expected to grow the university’s cross-disciplinary research capability, expand the scope of discoveries made by U of A researchers and increase the speed in transferring such discoveries to the marketplace.

Manufacturing, innovation focus of many state career and technical education plans

The final wave of state career and technical education (CTE) plans have been approved under the new Perkins V Act, with innovation and workforce taking a front seat in the plans. Perkins V encourages states and territories to expand opportunities for every student to access educational opportunities that will put them on the path to success.

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.

PCAST recommends bold actions to ensure American leadership in industries of the future

The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) is recommending a set of bold actions to help ensure continued American leadership in Industries of the Future (IotF), comprising artificial intelligence (AI), quantum information science (QIS), advanced manufacturing, advanced communications, and biotechnology.

Maine voters to decide $15M bond issue for broadband funding

Voters in Maine will consider a high-speed internet infrastructure bond issue on the July 14 ballot. The legislatively-referred measure would authorize $15 million in general obligation bonds for the Connect ME Authority to provide funding for high-speed internet infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas. The bond revenue would be used to match an estimated $30 million in federal, private, local and other funds.

New coalition aims to build workforce, improve racial equality in manufacturing

A new coalition funded by the Lumina Foundation and driven by manufacturing experts from across the country has formed to help solve the recruitment challenge and build a more racially inclusive future for manufacturing. The Urban Manufacturing Alliance teamed up with The Century Foundation to launch Industry and Inclusion 4.0.

COVID-19 magnifying economic inequality

COVID-19 is not just wreaking havoc across the national and global economies but is specifically causing that damage in a way that widens the existing fault lines between the “haves” and “have-nots.” Further, as countries and companies contemplate the possibility of managing operations alongside the new coronavirus, rather than an entirely “post-COVID” society, there is little reason to believe the worsening economic inequality will mend without specific intervention. The problem will not be easy to solve.

Lighter regulation would allow banks to return as LPs

Banking regulators recently announced new rules, effective in October, that will allow banks to invest in venture capital funds. These arrangements had been barred by the “Volcker Rule,” which was put in place after over-leveraged banks caused a global financial crisis in 2008. A statement by the National Venture Capital Association praised the change and predicted a “significant impact on entrepreneurial capital formation … particularly in emerging ecosystems.”

APLU report focuses on bolstering diversity in STEM faculty

Just 10 percent of STEM faculty at four-year institutions are from underrepresented backgrounds, according to a new report by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.

Clearer picture emerges of pandemic’s toll on small businesses, nonprofits

The longer the pandemic lasts, the greater the jeopardy to many small businesses. A recent report from McKinsey & Company finds that the sectors most affected by the coronavirus and the least financially resilient include 1.7 million small businesses, employ 20 million workers, and earn 12 percent of U.S. business revenue.

Opportunity Zone incentives yield mixed results

A new report by the Urban Institute indicates that the Opportunity Zone (OZ) tax incentive program has had varied success throughout the country. An Early Assessment of Opportunity Zones for Equitable Development Projects assesses the effects that OZs have had within low-income communities while also reviewing the types of developments that have benefited most from the incentive.

Recent Research: North Carolina’s SBIR/STTR matching program yields results

Since 2005, the One North Carolina Small Business Program has made 423 SBIR/STTR matching awards worth nearly $26 million to more than 250 businesses throughout the state. A new assessment, which updates an earlier report, provides academic rigor to a standard program review. The results indicate that even beyond survey-based attestations to the program’s value, there is a statistically-significant impact of North Carolina’s funding for the competitiveness of recipients.

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