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Clean energy jobs will require workforce transition

Earth Day has evolved from environmental consciousness raising in its beginnings in the early 1970s to this year’s celebration surrounded with climate change concerns and development of the clean energy industry..  A recent report from the Brookings Institution shows more discussion needs to happen around the types of workers, activities and skills that will be needed in the clean energy industry, and how those efforts can be more inclusive. Transitioning to a clean energy economy will involve 320 unique occupations spread across clean energy production, energy efficiency and environmental management, the authors found. The report highlights the fact that those workers earn higher and more equitable wages compared to all workers nationally, and many of those occupations tend to have lower educational requirements.

Roadmap provided for university research and tech commercialization

As a bedrock of American innovation, universities and federal laboratories research and develop new products that help drive economic growth. A new study from the Economic Growth Institute at the University of Michigan aims to improve national competitiveness in this arena by providing a roadmap for universities that includes best practices on translating research from the lab to the marketplace.

DoD plans longer-term strategy for Manufacturing USA institutes

The sustainability of Manufacturing USA institutes depends on their ability to offer value across a wide range of stakeholders according to a recent report by The National Academies of Sciences’ National Materials and Manufacturing Board, on behalf of The National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Department of Defense. Since 2012, DoD has invested more than $600 million in its Manufacturing USA institutes, with funding intended to help cover startup costs and the first five to seven years of operations.

Report highlights brain drain’s impact on states

New research from Congress’ Joint Economic Committee’s Social Capital Project finds that the migration of highly-educated adults toward dynamic states and major metropolitan areas is accentuating America’s geographic divisions. Using census data from 1940 to the present, the authors define “brain drain” as someone in the top third of the national education distribution who resides in a state other than their state of birth between the ages of 31 and 40. Their interactive, data-rich analysis finds that the states that are doing the best cluster around the Boston-Washington corridor and on the west coast, while states in the South and the Midwest/Great Lakes fare worse when it comes to attracting and retaining the highly educated. The authors also analyze changes in states and regions over time, as well as conclusions for what this means for social capital nationwide.

FCC announces new tech initiatives

The Federal Communication Commission Chairman Ajit Pai outlined two new initiatives aimed at ensuring U.S. leadership in 5G and continuing efforts to close the digital divide. Pai announced his intent to create the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which he indicated would inject $20.4 billion into high-speed broadband networks in rural American over the next decade.

New proposed Opportunity Zones rules, RFI released by IRS

The IRS released its long-anticipated second tranche of rules on Wednesday, and the regulations provide some clarity around using Opportunity Zones to invest in businesses. Specific examples include details on defining a business’ operations within a zone and funds’ ability to reinvest proceeds. However, further clarification is needed, including around investors’ treatment of interim sales, and additional changes are forthcoming.

State funding for higher ed only half recovered

State funding for higher education has only halfway recovered in the 10 years since the Great Recession, according to a recent State Higher Education Finance (SHEF) report. The report also found that while higher education funding is stabilizing, the shift to greater reliance on tuition as a revenue source has leveled off, but remains higher than since before the Great Recession.

Recent Research: Public-sector partnerships help fuel cleantech innovation

As the technology behind renewable energy continues to advance, recent research finds that the public sector plays an important role in catalyzing innovation. This can be seen in three main ways: by funding basic research on renewable energy in all 50 states; by partnering with cleantech startups; and by supporting cleantech clusters through networks, commercialization assistance, and access to capital. Taken together, this recent research suggests that public-sector partnerships can complement industry’s role in growing the green economy at the federal, state and local levels.

Security risks prompt scrutiny of foreign startup investment

Concerns over national security have prompted the Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) to force international investors to divest from two American tech startups, a move that will affect entrepreneurs and investors alike, according to a recent article by from Jeff Farrah of the National Venture Capital Association.

Next-gen company ownership: States supporting employees as successors

As the American population ages — by 2035, the country will have more people aged at least 65 than under 18 — so do the country’s business owners. Over the past few years, several studies have attempted to measure how many companies may transition ownership over the next decade, with estimates ranging as high as 10 million small businesses. These studies generally agree that while changes are on the horizon, few companies are even as prepared as having identified a potential successor. Colorado and Massachusetts are stepping into this planning void with a suggestion of their own: transitioning interested small businesses to employee ownership.

Tech Talkin’ Govs, part 9: Louisiana celebrates surplus after facing fiscal cliff

This week SSTI wraps up this year’s coverage of innovation-related initiatives covered in governors’ state of the state and budget addresses. This week Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards was the last governor to deliver a state of the state address in 2019, and he used his time to highlight the state’s surplus, a first since he has been in office. The governor is taking advantage of the new financial security to focus on funding for basics such as teacher pay and education among other things.

VC continues strong investment in first quarter

The trend of fewer, larger deals that emerged over the past few years continued through the first quarter of 2019, according to newly released data from PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association. U.S. activity in the quarter included $32.6 billion of capital investment on 1,853 deals, making it the second-highest quarterly capital investment total in the last decade.

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