SSTI Digest

The latest reporting and analysis on breakthroughs in technology-based economic development research and issues that matter most to you. To receive the SSTI Weekly Digest via email, sign up here.


U.S. House passes apprenticeship bill

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives again passed the National Apprenticeships Act, which is intended to increase the diversity of occupations and people covered by approved apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeships receive substantial attention for their track record of strong economic impacts when measured at the state level, and the bill also hopes to improve the ability to track impacts across the country.

Congress reveals COVID bill with $10 billion SSBCI

The U.S. House of Representatives is working through the coronavirus relief package in committee markups this week, and there are several provisions that could have a significant impact for regional innovation economies. The highest-profile of these is $10 billion for a new State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) program. Reauthorizing this program has been a top priority for SSTI's Innovation Advocacy Council, as SSBCI was one of the federal government’s only sources of funding for equity investments in the past two decades.

MEP Centers continue to deliver consistent ROI to nation

Despite facing enormous challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, manufacturers and Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Centers continued to deliver a “consistent and significant return on investment to the nation,” in FY 2020, according to a new analysis from the W.E. Upjohn Institute. MEP Centers deliver technical assistance to primarily small- and medium-sized manufacturing establishments to help them improve their productivity and competitiveness.

$40 million commitment expands entrepreneurship programs at minority-serving institutions

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has announced a $40 million commitment to expand the Blackstone LaunchPad program to support underrepresented students and communities. Going forward, LaunchPad will focus on colleges and universities that have a majority diverse population or are serving under-resourced communities, increasing the program from 30 to 75 campuses over the next five years. The LaunchPad program mentors college student-founders from idea to growth stage and provides other mentoring to students interested in entrepreneurship.

Useful Stats: Higher Education R&D expenditures by state and field, 2019

Given higher education’s role in generating the knowledge that catalyzes innovative new technologies developed by high-growth startups, R&D conducted at institutions of higher education is one of the most important metrics for evaluating an area’s innovation economy. This edition of Useful Stats examines NSF’s recently updated Higher Education R&D (HERD) survey, finding that most states, although not all, experienced growth in HERD expenditures from 2018 to 2019. This analysis also examines 2019 state HERD expenditures by R&D field, finding that life sciences accounted for the lion’s share of HERD spending in every state except Alaska, typically followed by either engineering; the physical sciences; or the geological, atmospheric, and ocean sciences.

Broadband, clean energy, workforce and diversifying economies featured in governors State-of-the-State addresses

More than half of the nation’s governors have given their State-of-the-State addresses, and in this week’s coverage of the addresses, we complete our review of those that addressed their constituencies through January. As the COVID-19 crisis highlighted the need for greater broadband connectivity and affordability, we again see the state leaders focusing more attention on building out those capabilities. Diversifying state economies also plays a role in Alaska, Hawaii and New Mexico, while opportunities for development through renewables features in addresses from Nevada and New York.

Women gaining in STEM employment; still underrepresented overall

New one-year estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS) show that in 2019, women made up 48 percent of all workers but only 27 percent of STEM employees. This figure has risen over the last 50 years where, in 1970, women accounted for just 8 percent of STEM employees while representing 38 percent of all workers.

SSTI examines state R&D investment as a share of state GDP, 2009-2018

Industry investment in research and development (R&D) indicates, literally, how invested each state’s businesses are in creating new products and processes. To better-understand industry’s commitment to innovation, business R&D can be viewed as a percentage of each state’s private sector gross domestic product (GDP), providing a measure of research intensity. This measure highlights substantial differences in the orientation of states’ businesses toward research, with some states seeing an investment rate of less than 1 percent while others are above 5 percent.

Useful Stats: Top industries by contribution to county GDP, 2019

This week’s edition of Useful Stats examines the contributions to county-level GDP in 2019 by industry group. Specifically, this analysis identifies the industries that contributed the most to the economic output of each county in 2019, finding that the real estate and rental and leasing; manufacturing; and government and government enterprises industry groups were vital economic drivers in terms of both their contributions to national GDP as well as the number of counties where they were the top contributor.

Black women inventors featured in USPTO Black History month celebration

In honor of Black History month, the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) is hosting a free virtual celebration spotlighting the contributions of three contemporary Black women inventors. As a departure from past events that have paid homage to historic Black inventors, this years’ celebration will include firsthand accounts of the panelists’ current careers and inventions. The panel will include Dr.

Governors lay out plans for recovery, rebuilding in annual State of the State addresses

Across the country, the governors have begun delivering their State of the State addresses, an annual ritual where they have the opportunity to review where the state’s economy stands and preview their plans for the coming year. This year’s remarks reflect the dire conditions most states are experiencing with the pandemic, economic fallout, racial strife and national political upheaval. Despite the heavy focus on states’ efforts to respond to the pandemic, governors have struck a hopeful note and are focusing on recovery.

State of Ohio commits $265 million for new innovation district

Ohio’s governor and other state leaders this week announced the creation of a new Cleveland Innovation District, with the state of Ohio, through the Ohio Development Services Agency (DSA), JobsOhio and the Cleveland Clinic committing a combined $565 million to the new district. The new district will bring together Northeast Ohio’s leading healthcare providers and education institutions with the goal of creating a pathogen center with global reach. DSA is committing to $155 million, $100 million will be in the form of a loan, the terms of which are still being finalized, and an estimated $55 million in Job Creation Tax Credits (JCTC) over a 15-year period. JobsOhio will invest $110 million and an additional $300 million will be invested by Cleveland Clinic.

Pages