Competition for top talent in cutting edge industries highlights need for revamped hiring practices

In a field once dominated by government agencies and incumbent organizations, the aerospace and defense (A&D) industry has experienced a rapid landscape change over the past decade as private companies and high-profile organizations launch commercial space programs and advance novel exploration and communications projects. These private companies present new competition to the traditional A&D industry. Increasingly, top talent in the United States has turned away from agencies like NASA and the Department of Defense and opted for what they perceive as more innovative and rewarding work at private companies, according to a new report from McKinsey. The report intends to help the traditional A&D industry attract and retain the premier talent that is often lost to private companies.

Venture-backed Relativity Space poised to disrupt US commercial spaceflight

Founded in 2015, venture-backed aerospace firm, Relativity Space, is poised to disrupt the rocket manufacturing and launch markets as it secures long-term contracts at NASA’s Stennis and Kennedy Space Centers. Relativity is reimagining the process to iterate and scale rockets quickly, relying on its revolutionary “Stargate” metal 3D printer and new autonomous facilities to build and launch rockets in days rather than years. The Mississippi Development Authority supplied the cost reimbursement and tax incentive package that, combined with a $59 million infrastructure investment from Relativity, enabled the firm to move into a 220,000 square foot facility, unused for the last 20 years, in southern Mississippi.

Public-Private Partnerships Redefining U.S. Space Industry

In response to declining appropriations and the termination of the Space Shuttle program, NASA has had to re-orient its approach to commercial partnerships. Over the past decade, NASA has turned to private partnerships to further the agency’s goals of space research and exploration. This same impulse has driven NASA to create regional partnerships to cultivate private space industry clusters and drive the development of the Commercial Crew program, which is highlighted as a core component of the agency’s FY15 budget proposal. These efforts have changed NASA’s role in regional, high-tech economic development from that of a research laboratory to a direct partner.

Budget Round Up: States Address Higher Ed Affordability, Research Capacity, Workforce

Several common themes surrounding higher education have emerged as governors across the country unveil investment priorities for the upcoming fiscal year or biennium. In many states, governors have proposed more funding to increase affordability by freezing tuition or creating new scholarship funds. Support for expanding research capacity, technology-related infrastructure and job training in high-demand industries are some of the proposed measures aimed at competitiveness.  

NASA Transition Continues to Spur University, Industry Partnerships

The winding down of the space shuttle program in Florida’s Space Coast by the Obama administration in 2010 spurred a transition in NASA’s areas of focus, including an increased emphasis on commercializing technologies and industry partnerships. NASA recently announced several new initiatives with tech firms, universities, and state agencies geared toward investing in cutting-edge research and technology and developing an educated workforce.

Low-Skill Workforce Can Support Growing Industry Clusters, According to Report

As the U.S. manufacturing sector continues to grow, so does the challenge for regions to find “middle-skill” workers who can fill job vacancies in advanced manufacturing. The Council on Foreign Relations has released a new report, Building the American Workforce, that suggests policymakers can fill this need by narrowing the skills gap for underserved, low-skilled workers. To meet this need, the report's recommendations include overhauling the national workforce development system and establishing a broad vision for workforce training that focuses on low-skilled, underserved workers. Examples include advanced manufacturing training programs in New Hampshire and Washington to demonstrate how the vision can be operationalized at the regional level.

States Position Themselves to Compete in Domestic Drone Industry

While public debate rages over the role of surveillance in our society, one particularly infamous government surveillance technology, drones, is being prepared for private sector deployment in the U.S. Drone-related technologies are predicted to revolutionize commerce in the U.S., with industry projections valuing their initial deployment as an $82 billion boost to the national economy. In preparation for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rollout of drone-use regulations in 2015, entrepreneurs, multinational corporations and state governments are scrambling to be in a competitive position to benefit.

Washington Gov Prioritizes Five Sectors in $120M Economic Growth Plan

Gov. Jay Inslee's vision for creating a more prosperous state economy through investments in key industry sectors came full circle with the announcement of his Working Washington Agenda, which prioritizes a similar set of proposals touted last year during his run for governor. The plan includes legislation, government reforms and new state investments totaling nearly $120 million focused around five areas. Tax breaks for startups in high-demand fields, instituting a tradable R&D tax credit, creating 500 enrollment slots in aerospace training programs, and tapping state capital funds to develop clean energy solutions are among the proposals. Gov. Inslee has issued policy briefs in support of each focus area, which are available at:

WA Gov's $9.8M Workforce Plan Supports University Research, Engineering Grads

Gov. Chris Gregoire outlined a series of proposals to boost Washington's competitiveness in the aerospace sector, including support for university research and funding to expand high school workforce curriculum and enroll more university students in engineering fields. By investing in education, research, and expanding tax incentives, Gov. Gregoire hopes Boeing will select the state to build and manufacture its 737 MAX, which the governor calls a once-in-a-generation opportunity expected to support up to 20,000 jobs. The $9.8 million plan centers on enhancements to the state's education system to ensure a prepared and skilled workforce. Proposals include:

Oklahoma Gov Fallin Signs Aerospace Engineer Tax Credit

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed the Oklahoma Aerospace Engineer Tax Credit — reestablishing a tax incentive that was put on moratorium during last year's legislative session. The legislation extends tax credits of $5,000 a year for up to five years to engineers who are hired in Oklahoma. Under the law, companies receive a tax credit equal to 10 percent of the compensation paid to an engineering graduate from an Oklahoma institution of higher education. If the individual did not graduate from an Oklahoma institution of higher education, the company receives a five percent tax credit. The law also grants a tax credit of up to 50% of the tuition reimbursed to a new engineer graduate for the first four years of employment. Oklahoma's aerospace industry is a $12 billion a year industry that employs over 145,000 people. Read the press release...


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