Higher Education in the New Economy

As state and federal funding for higher education dwindles and the workforce needs of the new economy continue to shift, state and university officials are reevaluating how higher education is funded, its return on investment for the state, and how universities can better drive economic growth. Recent examples in New York, Ohio and Texas demonstrate how states are implementing new policies to adapt to the changing times.

Women Still Make Up Small Portion of STEM Workforce A Decade Later

Women are still vastly underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs and have been for the past decade, even as their share of the college-educated workforce has increased, finds a new report from the Commerce Department's Economic and Statistics Administration. Women occupy only 24 percent of STEM jobs today, compared to 48 percent of all jobs, and although the gender wage gap is smaller (14 percent in STEM fields compared to 21 percent in non-STEM occupations), a clear gender disparity exists nonetheless. While the report does not explain the gender differences in STEM, it does urge greater support of women in STEM fields to help build a skilled workforce to support the nation's competitiveness. This is the second in a series of reports on STEM. Read the report...

Legislative Wrap-Up: Support for TBED Initiatives in DE, ME, NV, NC, TX

Lawmakers in several states wrapped up their 2011 sessions in time for the new fiscal year, which begins on July 1 for most states, allocating funds and passing bills in support of tech-based economic development. Read more...

Centers of Excellence, Entrepreneurship Grants Funded in North Dakota Budget

Lawmakers last week passed the 2011-13 biennial budget, providing $12 million for the state's Centers of Research Excellence program. Although it is less than Gov. Jack Dalrymple's request of $20 million to expand the program and provide additional funding for three new centers, the legislature's appropriation will allow for continued investments in infrastructure and research capacity at a time when many states are reducing funding for TBED to help fill budget deficits. The approved budget also includes $1 million for technology-based entrepreneurship grants and establishes a program to provide matching grants for startup technology businesses.

Legislative Wrap Up: West Virginia and Wyoming Pass Budgets

Budgets recently approved in West Virginia and Wyoming will dedicate new funds for TBED initiatives in the coming year. TechConnect West Virginia is slated to receive $250,000 for its efforts to develop immediate and long-term strategies to capitalize on the state's technology strengths. In Wyoming, lawmakers allocated a portion of Abandoned Mine Land (AML) funds for construction of a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) undergraduate teaching laboratory and for graduate stipends and fellowships to support students studying energy, natural resources and computational sciences at the University of Wyoming (UW).

Ohio Budget Seeks Dedicated Funding for Jobs Program

Leasing the state's wholesale liquor distribution system to JobsOhio to provide a dedicated funding source of about $100 million annually for job creation is a key component to reforming Ohio's economic development efforts under Gov. John Kasich. The governor unveiled the plan last week as part of the 2012-13 biennial budget. The proposed budget also sets aside $33 million in the second year of the biennium to facilitate the transfer of economic development initiatives from the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) to the newly established nonprofit corporation.

Virginia Lawmakers Dedicate Additional Funding for TBED, Higher Ed

Lawmakers approved many of Gov. Bob McDonnell's proposals aimed at growing Virginia's technology and life sciences industries by dedicating about half of the funding requested by the governor to support R&D, commercialization, SBIR matching grants, and funding for early stage equity investments. To help reach a goal of adding 100,000 college graduates to the state over the next 15 years, lawmakers also passed the Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011, providing enrollment-based funding to increase access to higher education and enhancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields of study.

Tech Talkin' Govs, Part VII

The seventh installment of SSTI's Tech Talkin' Govs series includes excerpts from speeches delivered in Alabama, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. The first six installments are available in the Jan. 5, Jan. 12, Jan. 19, Jan. 26, Feb. 9 and Feb. 23 issues of the Digest.

Tech Talkin' Govs, Part V

The fifth installment of SSTI's Tech Talkin' Govs series includes excerpts from speeches delivered in Maryland, Montana, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah. The first four installments are available in the Jan. 5, Jan. 12, Jan. 19 and Jan. 26 issues of the Digest.

Spending Plans in IA and MA Seek to Balance Cuts with Job Creation Efforts

Deep cuts to higher education and reorganizing economic development efforts are common themes in executive budget proposals across most of the country as governors seek to both reduce spending and create jobs. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad recently introduced legislation to replace the state's existing economic development agency with a public-private partnership. Meanwhile, his budget eliminates the Iowa Power Fund, established by the legislature in 2007 to invest in private sector renewable and alternative energy industries. In Massachusetts, Gov. Deval Patrick recommends $10 million to continue state support for the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, but also plans to collect $25 million from the state's quasi-public agencies and defer $5 million in tax credits slated for life science companies to help fill a projected deficit totaling up to $2.5 billion.


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