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Makerspaces highlight local efforts in manufacturing response to COVID

The innovation community has been on the front lines in responding to the current pandemic, and one area that has stepped up is the community makerspace. A new report from the Urban Manufacturing Alliance (UMA) highlights several of those efforts. As UMA points out, COVID-19 brought a renewed need for manufacturing capabilities, and makerspaces stepped into new roles.

Consolidation of local governments could provide new economic development outlets

Improved prospects for economic development, as opposed to concerns about government efficiency, can play an important role in building support for local government consolidation efforts. The importance of economic opportunities in government consolidation was a key conclusion within Ball State University’s recently published policy brief, Indiana’s Government Modernization Act & Local Government Consolidation Experiences: Process and Politics.

DOD designates six consortia as Defense Manufacturing Communities

Six organizations — including SSTI members Catalyst Connection and the Ohio Development Services Agency — have been designated to lead the new defense manufacturing community consortia. The Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) has announce that these organizations are now eligible to enter the next phase of development and submit their requests for technical assistance, grants, and other support services. The Defense Manufacturing Community Support Program (DMCSP) was authorized in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act as a new program offered by OEA.

Looking for inspiration? NIH develops interactive tool for discovering successful high-tech small businesses

As the global economy continues to struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released an interactive online tool for discovering success stories of small business innovation and entrepreneurship. Showcasing several of the businesses that have successfully leveraged NIH small business funding — totaling more than $1 billion annually — to develop healthcare products and services, NIH’s Small Business Education and Entrepreneurial Development (SEED) office hopes that the tool will inspire others to start businesses and develop their technologies.

House budget increases innovation spending, including IAC priorities

The House has now passed 10 of the 12 annual appropriations bills for FY 2021. Within the total funding is support for key innovation priorities, including $35 million for EDA’s Build-to-Scale (i.e., Regional Innovation Strategies), $6 million for SBA’s innovation clusters program and $4 million for Federal and State Technology Partnerships (FAST). SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council had made expanding funding for each of these initiatives a priority for the year.

Missouri governor uses CARES funds to support incubator facilities

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson last week announced that $1 million of the state’s CARES Act funding will be used to create a grant for nonprofit and university-based coworker and incubator facilities. The grant will be administered by the Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC). Organizations will be reimbursed with grant funds for expenses related to updating the facilities to encourage social distancing, adopting enhanced sanitation protocols or acquiring PPE to comply with the guidelines of the public health emergency.

New entrepreneurs are increasingly older, minorities, and immigrants

A recent report from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation examined the changing makeup of entrepreneurship over the period of 1996 to 2019, finding that older people, immigrants, and minorities are becoming new entrepreneurs at increasing rates.

Pre-pandemic stress test already showed warning signs for more than 500 colleges and universities

More than 500 colleges and universities nationwide showed warning signs in a stress test that was conducted before the pandemic according to a new series of reports by the Hechinger Report and NBC News. Declining enrollment and decreased state government support had left dozens of universities under financial stress. With the added pressures of the coronavirus pandemic, “the fabric of American higher education as become even more strained,” the report says.

Higher ed playing outsize role in rural economies

The importance of higher education institutions in helping rural communities build innovation-based ecosystems has been detailed in a report released by the Center on Rural Innovation. Higher Ed’s Key Role In Rural Innovation Ecosystems profiles 10 colleges and universities that have been engaged in their area’s innovation environment and explores what techniques each institution has found most useful in building that ecosystem.

Tech seeking to address diversity, gender challenge

A leading technology association has stepped up to positively impact tech diversity and inclusion through a new challenge that aims to double the percentage of the state’s Black and Latinx tech workers — currently at 5 and 7 percent respectively — by the end of the decade.

Cities failing non-college workers

Non-college workers who long found refuge and economic mobility in thriving cities have seen those opportunities diminish and in turn have moved out of the areas. Although cities remain vibrant for workers with advanced degrees, “the urban skills and earnings escalator for non-college workers has lost its ability to lift workers up the income ladder,” finds David Autor in his recent research brief.

NGA offers roadmap for state leaders to build a resilient workforce

After more than a year of research and facing greater disruption to the workforce than imagined at the outset, the National Governors Association (NGA) has released a guide for governors and state policymakers to help build a technologically resilient workforce. Written before the COVID-19 outbreak, the authors of the report attest that trends previously identified will only accelerate, and thus there is even greater urgency for policy transformations that should be implemented as part of a system wide, resilient education and workforce development agenda.

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