San Francisco, Austin Seek to Include More Residents in Tech Prosperity

On the heels of a recent memo from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) highlighting the difficulty middle-skill workers are having finding a route into the modern economy, reports from two tech hotspots suggest that local action is needed to ensure that tech success translates into widespread economic prosperity. San Francisco and Austin are leaders in the nation’s innovation economy and fared better than most of their peer cities through the Great Recession. However, rising housing prices and a lack of resources for middle- and low- wage workers have led to rising inequality and less robust economies in both cities.

New Initiative Boosts High-Speed Internet Pursuits of Innovation-Minded Cities

As part of Next Century Cities, a new bipartisan, city-to-city initiative, 32 cities and their elected leaders from across the United States are uniting to recognize the importance of leveraging gigabit-level Internet for economic development. The initiative enables participating cities to work together to learn about best practices in engaging and assisting communities in developing and deploying next-generation broadband Internet so that every community has the resources needed to succeed. Next Century Cities was launched at a co-working space in Santa Monica, CA, featuring remarks from the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and the mayors of Santa Monica, Chattanooga, and Lafayette, LA, and panels featuring leading civic technology and innovation officials. The first group of cities features large municipalities such as Boston, Kansas City, Portland, and San Antonio, in addition to a variety of smaller cities across 19 states. 

Researchers Find 'Second Tier' Regions Experiencing Fast Rates of Change in Concentration of High-Skilled Workers

If a concentration of highly skilled workers is an important leading indicator to more widespread economic growth, which regions are leading the way? Using data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) to compare the educational attainment rates of the nation’s largest labor forces from 2005 to 2013, authors from the Cleveland State University Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs determine where America’s highest-skilled jobs are clustering. In ranking the percentage of labor force with a graduate or professional degree in 2013, the list of top five regions is perhaps unsurprising: Washington, D.C., San Jose, Boston, San Francisco, and New York – considered first-tier metros by nearly all accounts. In assessing the percent point change between the percentage of workers with an advanced degree in 2005 and in 2013, however, “second-tier” metros begin to emerge as leaders.

Working Toward Equity in Development Outside Urban Core

After decades of seeing their suburbs thrive while their cores decayed, cities across the United States  are receiving a long overdue influx of talent and capital in what Alan Ehrenhalt describes as the “great inversion.” While a large proportion of wealth and population in many regions still lives in the suburbs, trends are shifting, and it’s not just anecdotal. Although the transformation of blighted buildings, the development of new rentals, and the appearance of boutiques and cafes littering sidewalks garners the most attention, there is a quantitative component as well.

SBA To Fund Regional Innovation Clusters in NM, WI, Ozarks, Gulf Coast

The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced four new Regional Innovation Clusters that will be included among its portfolio of high-performing regional networks. Awardee clusters will receive $500,000-$550,000 for mentoring, counseling, pitch development and other small business support programs.  The new members of SBA’s cluster portfolio include Milwaukee’s Water Technology Cluster, Southeastern New Mexico’s Autonomous and Unmanned Systems Cluster, a Retail, Supply Chain and Food Processing Cluster spanning the Ozarks region and a Marine Industries Cluster in several Gulf Coast states.

Los Angeles Leads U.S. Metros in Manufacturing Jobs

The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana metropolitan area is home to the largest number of manufacturing jobs in the country, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Approximately 510,900 people are employed by manufacturing firms in the Los Angeles metro, about 100,000 more than in the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville area, which is ranked second for manufacturing employment. Other top metros include New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown and Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington. Of the top 10 metros in which manufacturing jobs represent the highest percentage of total employment, seven are in the Great Lakes region, with several in both Indiana and Wisconsin. Read the release…

Bloomberg Will Invest $45M to Bring Innovation to City Governments

Bloomberg Philanthropies will award $45 million in grants to large U.S. city governments to help improve urban life. Specifically, the foundation hopes to encourage the adoption of the “Innovation Delivery” model in big cities, an approach that relies on in-house innovation consultancy within city halls to deliver data-driven solutions to urban problems. Bloomberg and Nesta released a report on the model earlier this year. The foundation has invited 80 cities to apply. Eligible applicants must have more than 100,000 residents and mayors with at least two years left in office. Awardees will be selected in the fall and will receive $250,000 to $1 million annually over three years. Learn more…

Enabling Entrepreneurship in College Towns

As a wave of new freshmen begins to enter the halls of college campuses, a new trend is emerging – students staying. While the idea of students staying an extra year or two might make some parents cringe, in reality, college towns have proven to be an ideal environment not just for young people, but for young companies as well. Student entrepreneurs are becoming a critical component of regional innovation ecosystems, and as a result, universities and their respective cities throughout the country are focusing not only on growing and cultivating their companies, but also on retaining them.

Entrepreneurship, Place, and Economic Development

Several scholarly articles published within the past few months highlight the role that entrepreneurship, high-tech employment, and place play in both economic growth and economic development. In a landscape where seemingly every place desires the successes found in the Silicon Valley model, new frameworks that support the economic efficacy of human capital, entrepreneurship, and place are needed to encourage innovation and prosperity.

White House Enlists Makers, Cities to Spur National Manufacturing Economy

This week, the White House hosted its first Maker Faire where President Obama announced a number of new public-private collaborative efforts to spur U.S. manufacturing entrepreneurship. In order to capitalize on the recent spike in manufacturing entrepreneurship, the administration is enlisting more than 90 mayors and local leaders to make new spaces available for manufacturing and prototyping. The White House also plans to make it easier for entrepreneurs to access federally owned equipment for research and production, expand federal agency support for smaller manufacturers and invest $150 million in advanced materials research.


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