State Strategic Plans Focus on Supporting S&T in Key Sectors

In an era of tightening fiscal constraints, states have to make tough decisions, establish clear economic development funding priorities and transform their economic development models to take advantage of immediate opportunities and position their state for long-term economic growth. Mississippi, Oklahoma and Washington have released state-specific strategic plans that make those tough decisions by focusing their resources on key science & technology (S&T) areas to address the economic impacts of the Great Recession and position the state for future prosperity. Each strategic plan also calls for state government to engage the private sector to build partnerships that will help reduce costs and increase impacts.

Department of Labor Commits $175M for Community College Manufacturing Education Programs

The Department of Labor announced over $175 million in new funding for community colleges to grow and enhance their manufacturing education and training programs through partnerships with local employers. Part of the $500 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) initiative, the grants are intended to promote skills development and employment opportunities in advanced manufacturing. Through the TAACCCT initiative, each state plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will receive at least $2.5 million in dedicated funding for community college career training programs in fields such as advanced manufacturing, transportation, health care and other science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. Read the press release...

Illinois Launches $10.3M STEM Partnership Initiative

llinois Gov. Pat Quinn has announced the details of a $10.3 million planned partnership to develop "STEM Learning Exchanges" across the state. Eight organizations will be awarded contracts to work with regional, educational and business networks to aggregate curricular resources, assessment tools, professional development systems, work-based learning opportunities and problem-based learning challenges. Funding for the initiative will be drawn from $2.3 million in federal Race to the Top funds, with another $8 million leveraged from private partnerships. Learn more...

Utah Governor Announces New Statewide STEM Education, Workforce Partnership

Utah Governor Gary Herbert announced a new public-private partnership that will establish the Salt Lake City region as a top ten center for technology jobs and businesses. To achieve this goal, the state plans to undertake a statewide planning process to identify and build on current successes and create greater collaboration in Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education. The statewide STEM education and workforce partnership is a collaborative project of the Governor's Office of Economic Development, the Utah System of Higher Education, the Utah State Office of Education and Prosperity 2020 — a business-led movement to advance educational investment and innovation within the state. The state hopes that by 2020:

Engineers Mostly Upbeat on Future of Profession, but Want More Training

The start of a new school year is already underway leading to the often dreaded task of choosing a major. For today's students, balancing a rewarding career with one that offers in-demand employment opportunities has become even more of a struggle. Results from a new survey suggest the engineering field might just fit the bill, however. A survey of more than 1,200 mechanical engineers offers insight into a profession where most hold an optimistic view of their work and their ability to impact lives and meet global challenges. To do so, engineers expect to work more in interdisciplinary teams, enhance their skills, and learn to better communicate outside their field.

President Wants $1B to Train 10,000 STEM 'Master Teachers'

A plan introduced last week by the president places the future of the nation's standing in math and science in the hands of highly-specialized teachers who would serve as national ambassadors and mentor fellow educators across the country. In exchange, STEM Master Teachers would receive an extra $20,000 per year on top of their annual salary. Funding for the initiative is part of the FY13 budget plan, which requires congressional approval. School districts can compete for $100 million available now, however, through an existing fund aimed at achieving similar goals of identifying and developing quality STEM teachers.

Explaining Results of Science Experiments Proves Challenging for Students

When testing fourth-, eighth- and twelfth-grade students on their ability to conduct science experiments and thoughtfully explain the results, investigators made three key discoveries that policymakers say may be troubling for future workforce needs. The National Center for Education Statistics Science in Action report found that when using limited data sets, students could make straightforward observations on the data. However, most struggled to explain the results and were challenged by parts of investigations that contained more variables to manipulate or involved strategic decisionmaking.

Around the World in TBED

Governments of advanced economies are starting to believe as the 21st century advances significant opportunities for their technology-based product and service sectors will emerge from increasingly open, competitive and affluent global markets. To compete in this changing world, they are looking to expand access to capital for startups and entrepreneurs, support their research and development (R&D) infrastructure and address weaknesses in their national economies. Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) are among those that recently have announced initiatives or released reports intended to strength their national innovation economy.

Report Contends Irrational and Undirected Immigration Polices Hurt U.S. Competitiveness

U.S. immigration policies are irrational and undirected according to a new report from the Partnership for a New American Economy and Partnership for New York City — Not Coming To America: Why the U.S. is Falling Behind in the Global Race for Talent. In sharp contrast, to attract immigrants that drive economic growth and increase international competitiveness, foreign countries have adopted targeted and strategic policies that include:

NH Institutions Commit to Increasing STEM Grads 50 Percent by 2020

New Hampshire's University System and Community College System recently committed to increasing the number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates 50 percent by 2020, and then doubling that number by 2025. Currently, the two systems together graduate about 1,120 STEM students each year. Specific steps include the creation of new transfer pathways, cross-institutional sharing of facilities, staff and faculty and partnerships with the state's employers.


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