Economic Development

WorkSmart Kentucky Offers One-Stop Shop For Workforce Needs

Kentucky has launched a new workforce initiative called Worksmart Kentucky that aims to be a one-stop shop for businesses looking to find and develop skilled workers.

Worksmart Kentucky

Worksmart Kentucky

Using a statewide network of teams staffed by business service specialists, Worksmart Kentucky will work with both new and existing companies to match their needs with available workforce resources.

Qualifying companies within Kentucky will receive recruitment and job screening services free of cost, regardless of the size or location of the company within Kentucky.

Worksmart professionals will identify the specific needs of each company, come up with customized and flexible recruitment and training solutions, and implement them in a timely fashion.

The initiative is a partnership between the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, Labor Cabinet, Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS).

The Worksmart Kentucky website offers resources divided into categories such as pre-employment, workforce training and links to specific workforce initiatives.

The pre-employment section explains how the Worksmart KY team can help with recruitment and job placement, workforce assessment, labor market information, job posting, pre-apprenticeship and pre-employment training.

The workforce training section provides details about applying for training incentives, training and grant funding opportunities, OSHA and safety training, and registered apprenticeship training.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear said in a statement that companies just want results and don’t care about agency or program names. Gov. Beshear said that by strategically aligning the state’s workforce resources, they are now able to provide a comprehensive solutions-based approach to Kentucky’s workforce delivery system.

Last year, the State and its workforce partners provided training for nearly 85,000 Kentucky residents in various sectors. Pre-employment services were provided to more than 2,650 companies and over 95,000 individuals.

Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes said the numbers show that Kentucky is already leading the charge in employee recruitment and development, and Worksmart Kentucky will allow the Commonwealth to further build on that success by aligning resources.

Kentucky Labor Cabinet Secretary Larry Roberts said the initiative provides a chance for the government, business and industry to work together for assuring that Kentucky’s workforce possesses the skills required to meet the needs of employers.

KCTCS President Michael B. McCall said Worksmart Kentucky builds on their existing partnerships and programs, and will position Kentucky to be recognized as a national leader in creating innovative approaches for meeting the needs of citizens as well as industry and business.

NY/NJ Gear up For Super Bowl XLVIII Impact

Super Bowl XLVIII is bringing a whole lot more than just football to New Jersey and New York. It’s a giant economic engine that’ll dump an expected $550 million of economic activity in the lead up to the game on February 2, 2014.

Super Bowl XLVIII

Super Bowl XLVIII (photo –

The Super Bowl is expected to bring around 400,000 visitors to the area, but no more than 82,500 will be seated for the game at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.

A majority of these visitors will be from the New York metropolitan area. But about 150,000 will be from outside, including large contingents of Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks fans.

Based on past Super Bowl impact reports, it’s safe to say that more than 5,000 temporary jobs will be created by Super Bowl XLVIII. The National Football League (NFL) alone is hiring more than 1,500 temp workers for the event.

A study released by the 2013 New Orleans Super Bowl Host Committee last year showed a $480 million net impact for the region, and was credited for creating and supporting 5,672 full- and part-time jobs that generated $154.0 million in additional earnings for residents in the New Orleans area.

Similarly, a Ball State University impact study of the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis showed that it generated $364.68 million in total economic activity, resulting in 5,032 jobs and $202.65 million dollars in labor compensation.

An economic impact study conducted on behalf of the Jets and Giants by the Argus Group says that Super Bowl XLVIII will generate $550 million of economic activity.

There are other advantages apart from all the direct and indirect spending and the jobs being created. There will be 5,000 members of the media present, and New York is using Super Bowl XLVIII as an opportunity for promoting “Taste NY” and tourism in Upstate New York.

There will be around 100 New York vendors featured at events organized by the Super Bowl Host Committee.

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement that the Super Bowl is an opportunity to show off the state and encourage guests to visit locations across New York. Gov. Cuomo said that visitors and New Yorkers alike will not be able to attend a Super Bowl event without seeing an NY State Tourism ad or sampling an NY State product.

The Super Bowl Host Committee, in conjunction with the NFL, has launched a Business Connect initiative to increase opportunities for local minority- and woman-owned enterprises to conduct Super Bowl business. The Business Connect initiative is sponsored by the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.

It’s also going to be one of the greenest Super Bowls in history. MetLife Stadium and its foodservice partner Delaware North Companies Sportservice have earned the first Certified Green Restaurant stadium from the Green Restaurant Association (GRA). With more than 200 onsite restaurants serving around 100,000 people in a day, it is the largest-ever food-service operation to receive this certification.

The Super Bowl Host Committee and the NFL are also partnering with the Broadway Green Alliance and Verizon to collect and recycle electronic waste in New Jersey and New York. The energy offsets to balance the power usage of Super Bowl XLVIII are being provided by New Jersey-based energy company PSEG, which is a host committee sponsor. More than 27,000 trees have been planted across both states to add to the “greening” effort.

Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., president and CEO of the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee, said they are committed to making a positive environmental impact in New York and New Jersey through a series of initiatives including tree planting and e-waste collection. Wins Harvard Innovation Award

The U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) platform has been declared as the winner of the 2013 Innovations in American Government Award.

Innovations in American Government Award

Innovations in American Government Award (photo –

The award, meant to recognize and promote excellence and creativity in the public sector, is an annual program run by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. was selected out of an initial pool of more than 600 applicants.

In a statement announcing the award, Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in American Government Program at Harvard Kennedy School, said that demonstrates the power of collaborative problem solving in the public sector. was launched by the GSA in 2010 after the agency was tasked with building a platform that would allow the public to compete for prizes by providing the government with novel solutions to tough problems.

GSA developed the platform with the help NYC-based ChallengePost, which offers one of the leading platforms for software competitions and hackathons.

Since its launch in 2010, the platform has provided 59 federal agencies crowdsourced solutions to more than 300 challenges that were tackled by more than 42,000 citizen solvers. The website has received 3.5 million visits from people in 11,000 U.S. cities and 220 countries and territories around the world.

In celebration of the award, GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini, Harvard’s Stephen Goldsmith and other government officials gathered at GSA headquarters in Washington, DC for a ceremony that showcased some of the citizen-developed solutions.

One of the solutions on display was a flexible astronaut glove designed by an entrepreneur in response to a challenge from NASA.

Another challenge that became famous was the Robocall challenge issued by the Federal Trade Commission. FTC offered the winner a $50,000 prize for coming up with the best technical solution to block illegal robocalls.

One of the winning solutions called Nomorobo was submitted by Aaron Foss. He came up with a system that diverts incoming calls to a second line which hangs up on illegal robocalls, thus only allowing legitimate calls to go through to the user.

Nomorobo is now protecting 25,000 users and 18,000 phone lines, hanging up on more than 48,000 robocalls each week. Aaron says he never would have worked on the problem had it not been for the challenge.

Administrator Tangherlini said is a powerful, yet practical, example that any jurisdiction or level of government can follow to enable its agencies to tap into the collective wisdom of completely new and creative audiences of problem solvers, driving innovation within and beyond government.

The Innovations in American Government Award Program was established at Harvard in 1985 by the Ford Foundation, and has since recognized and awarded nearly 500 government initiatives, and has received nearly 27,000 applications during this period.

NYCEDC and Health 2.0 Launch Pilot Health Tech NYC 2014

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Health 2.0 announced the launch of the Pilot Health Tech NYC 2014 funding program that will award $1,000,000 to innovative health technology projects in New York.

Pilot Health Tech NYC

Pilot Health Tech NYC (photo –

This is the second round of Pilot Health Tech NYC. The program seeks to partner early-stage health and healthcare technology companies (innovators) with NYC healthcare service organizations and stakeholders (hosts).

The successful first round in 2013 drew more than 25 partners and 250 innovator companies, and threw up 10 winners after a process involving 200 matchmaking meetings which led to 41 joint applications.

The 10 pilot winners from 2013 have been able to raise huge amounts in private investment, including $4.5 million in the last six months alone. Their pilot programs are set to enroll more than 1,000 patients at various locations in New York City.

Pilot projects are expected to focus on addressing the healthcare industry’s defined needs, and will need to test a technology prototype for around four to nine months.

Pilot Health Tech NYC will fund up to 50 percent of the project cost of winning pilot programs, up to a maximum of $100,000. The total of $1,000,000 may be awarded to 10 or more pilots.

Apart from the funding award, winners will also get in-kind services or resources such as physician input, staff hours, IT resources, access to data and other costs of the pilot. NYCEDC and Health 2.0 will additionally provide planning and implementation support for the pilots.

The matchmaking sessions for this year will be held in March, and the deadline for joint applications is May 23, 2014. The winners will be announced and awards presented on June 25, 2014.

NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball said the City’s biotech sector has shown tremendous growth and strength, and Pilot Health Tech NYC is the next step in helping the life sciences ecosystem thrive. Kimball added that this innovative program will advance new technologies that will solve real medical issues, helping make New York healthier and diverse for years to come.

Health 2.0 CEO Indu Subaiya said Pilot Health Tech NYC was one of a kind and truly innovative. Subaiya said it directly addresses the most challenging issue faced by young companies – getting that first customer or pilot to validate their product.

Report – Economic Action Agenda for Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Foundation and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation (Commerce RI) have released a report that spells out recommendations for the “Rhodemap RI” planning process that will result in a new economic development plan for Rhode Island by Oct 2014.

RI Economic Intersections report

RI Economic Intersections report

The report, titled “Economic Intersections of Rhode Island,” was released at Make It Happen RI 2.0.

The report was developed by the RI Foundation and Commerce RI in a process led by Fourth Economy Consulting.

They put together more than 20 focus groups that brought in more than 200 business leaders and subject matter experts to identify market opportunities at the intersection of industries.

The most appealing 21 recommendations out of more than 100 ideas the participants came up with are detailed in the report designed to create jobs and grow industries across five categories. The rest are mentioned in the appendix of the report.

Here’s a few highlights of the recommendations from the report:-

- Create the Rhode Island Center for Design and Manufacturing;

- Establish a Regional Center of Excellence for Marine and Cybersecurity Technologies;

- Create a marketing strategy for the marine and water- based economy, and encourage municipal participation in promoting access to water;

- Create a Rhode Island Shipping Association, and create a ShipRI app;

- Document maker-related assets and capabilities, form a Maker’s Guild, and leverage the maker community to support business growth;

- Support innovation by promoting intellectual property, developing a support network for startups, etc. Connect technology companies with potential partners and services;

- Expand meaningful interaction between higher education and industry, explore feasibility of a new manufacturing-focused technical high school, and develop a manufacturing apprenticeship program;

- Create a Fund for Rhode Island’s Future to directly fund small businesses and the support services and programs that benefit small businesses, and find supplemental funding from the private sector;

- Align and enhance technical assistance organizations and industry associations to facilitate job growth for small businesses;

- Support the creation of a community-based minority-focused financial institution;

- Support specialized funding for the creative and cultural economy, and for the agri- and aquaculture industry;

- Establish a cross-sector biotech, medical, and public health oversight team;

- Create a steady, predictable funding mechanism for tourism marketing at Commerce RI, and develop a state brand and interpretive story;

- Support food and beverage manufacturers by providing incubation facilities, education, developing a co-op, and pursue funding;

- Analyze the opportunity and plan for economic development through resiliency, and seek national funding;

- Implement a centralized system to connect industry networks, and complement the database with a news portal about successful collaborations;

- Host cross-sector events based on the “hackathon” format, support the development of collision spaces, and connect projects to people and resources.

Read an executive summary of the Economic Intersections of Rhode Island report – Download (pdf)

America Makes Announces Additive Manufacturing R&D Grants

America Makes, which is the Youngstown, Ohio-based National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), announced its second round of grant recipients for additive manufacturing applied research and development projects.

America Makes (NAMII)

America Makes

America Makes will be providing $9 million in funding for 15 projects, with the awarded project teams expected to come up with a matching cost share of $10.3 million, thus adding up to $19.3 million in public-private funding for these projects.

The 15 selected projects each have teams comprised of multiple organizations and institutions from the academic and private sectors. A total of 75 partners are involved in these 15 projects.

One project led by GE Aviation includes the following other partners – Aerojet Rocketdyne; B6 Sigma, Inc.; Burke E. Porter Machinery Company; Honeywell Aerospace; Montana Tech of The University of Montana; and TechSolve, Inc.

This project is looking at developing commercially available and platform-independent Quality Assurance technology for mass production of aerospace components using additive manufacturing.

You can see the full list of all 15 projects and the team partners on the website.

America Makes Director Ed Morris said they were pleased at the quality of the projects proposed for this second round of additive manufacturing R&D projects being launched. Morris added that this made the final selection process even more challenging.

This second round of projects is scheduled to commence in spring 2014. Combined with the first round projects that are already underway, Morris said they will soon have nearly $30 million of public and private funds invested in advancing additive manufacturing in the United States.

The Youngstown-based NAMII was established in Aug 2012 as a pilot institute to study the feasibility of the proposed National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI).

NAMII, or America Makes, is now the national accelerator for additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing (3DP). It is managed by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM).

Ralph Resnick, founding director of America Makes and president and executive director of NCDMM, said he continues to be proud of the strides America Makes is making in advancing additive manufacturing and 3DP technologies.

Resnick added that this second project call announcement shows how the incredibly innovative and active community is working together, sometimes even with competitors, to advance the industry by exploring the limitless possibilities of 3DP.

The second of the NNMI institutes – the Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institute, was announced earlier this month and awarded to a consortium led by North Carolina State University.

The third and fourth institutes are expected to be announced very soon.

Louisiana’s $40M WISE Workforce Incentive Fund

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced $141.5 million in new funding for higher education institutions for the next fiscal year. It includes $40 million for a new workforce incentive initiative that will help better prepare students to compete in the new global economy.

University of Louisiana System

University of Louisiana System (photo –

The new initiative is officially called the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund (WISE Fund).

WISE funding will be provided directly to state research institutions doing commercial research and to colleges and universities that partner with private industry to produce graduates with high-demand degrees and certifications.

Funds will be awarded using a performance-based formula that incentivizes and rewards educational institutions for degrees that have been shown by occupational forecasting to be the most in demand and employable.

The workforce incentive funds will help these institutions link their coursework to industry needs and projected workforce demands. In order to be eligible for these funds, the educational institution must have a private sector partner willing to invest a 20 percent match in cash or in kind, providing technology and equipment.

Each institution will have to come up with a business plan that demonstrates how they plan to invest the funds to reach the number of degrees the state needs to fill the jobs available now and in the next few years.

Gov. Jindal said in a statement that economic development wins announced since 2008 are resulting in more than 80,000 new jobs and more than $50 billion in private capital investment. He said tens of thousands of jobs are in the pipeline, and their next challenge is to ensure that Louisiana has the skilled workforce to fill these jobs of the future.

Dr. Sandra Woodley, president of the University of Louisiana System, said there is a deep sense of responsibility and urgency in the nine universities of the University of Louisiana System to increase the pace of meeting growing workforce demands and achieving national competitiveness.

Board of Regents Chairman Clinton Rasberry said the Board of Regents recognizes the critical role higher education plays in economic development in Louisiana. He said the initiative will help the state’s universities prepare individuals to meet the evolving demand for skilled labor.

Ontario, Canada Launch Public-Private Venture Catalyst Fund

The Province of Ontario is launching a new public-private venture catalyst fund in partnership with the federal Canadian government and institutional and corporate investors.

Ontario Venture Capital Fund

Ontario Venture Capital Fund (photo –

The Governments of Ontario and Canada have each pledged CAD$50 million to the fund, and private sector partner commitments boosted the total to CAD$217 million under the first closing.

As additional private investors get on board, the funding may increase up to CAD$300 million. Ontario is aiming to use this fund to attract investments to the province and help Ontario-based businesses compete globally.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said in a statement that they want to continue to attract investments to Ontario and support the most innovative companies. Premier Wynne added that funds like these are a great tool to help companies access the capital they need to grow, create jobs and expand into global markets.

The other investors in this fund include the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and OpenText Corporation. Financial sector investors include the BMO Financial Group, National Bank of Canada, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Scotiabank, TD Bank Group and RBC.

The Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund is the first fund of funds to be established under Canada’s Venture Capital Action Plan. VCAP was launched a year ago as a strategy for deploying $400 million in new capital over 7-10 years, with the aim of attracting $1 billion in private sector investments in funds of funds.

The Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund is also modeled as a fund of funds after the existing Ontario Venture Capital Fund. OVCF was established in 2008 as a public-private partnership between the Government of Ontario and institutional investors.

OVCF primarily invests in Ontario-based and Ontario-focused VC and growth equity funds that support innovative and high-growth companies. From 2009-2012, OVCF helped attract CAD$872 million in private sector capital and has helped create and retain 1,500 jobs in Ontario.

Toronto-based Northleaf Capital Partners is the fund manager for both OVCF and the new Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund.

Jeff Pentland, managing director of Northleaf, said that as patient venture capital investors, they are confident the Fund can not only produce attractive returns, but can also have a significant impact on creating a profitable, globally competitive and self-sustaining venture capital industry over the long term.

Stockbridge To Get $100M Public-Private Georgia Technology Park

Stockbridge, Georgia-based World Internet Group (WIG) and the Stockbridge Downtown Development Authority (DDA) announced plans for developing a $100 million public-private technology park in Stockbridge that will be known as the Georgia Technology Park.

World Internet Group

World Internet Group (photo –

Housed on 40 acres with direct access to both Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and I-75, the Park will be operated by WIG but owned by the DDA.

The Georgia Technology Park is expected to create around 3,500 permanent direct jobs, and will support the creation of another 5,250 indirect jobs, adding up to a total of 8,750 new jobs over the next five years.

According to DDA Chairman J.T. Williams, the Park project was facilitated by a previously announced $15 million public-private partnership with Community Broadband of Savannah to bring high-speed broadband to Stockbridge through fiber optic cables. The broadband available in Stockbridge after this project is implemented is expected to be 200 times faster than the national average.

The DDA was approached by WIG in Oct 2013 with this proposal for a public-private technology park. In Dec 2013, the DDA started acquiring the 15 parcels of land that make up the 40-acre site with the help of a $5 million loan from the City of Stockbridge.

The $100 million project calls for $75 million in private investment from WIG and its partners. The DDA expects to repay the debt it is taking on through revenue generated from tenants who sign lease agreements.

The first phase of the technology park project is expected to operational this spring, since the site already has buildings, utilities, drainage and roads. WIG is itself leasing a building with 33,000 square feet of space in the park, and will use this space to establish the following:-

- Innovation Lab for tech startups;

- Accelerator that will help existing and emerging tech companies to grow and scale in Stockbridge and Henry County;

- Research Center focused on mobile technology, Internet security and cloud computing;

- Learning Center to provide instruction about cutting-edge technologies; and

- Job Center to provide career services for Georgia’s IT sector.

Williams said the technology park is the foundation for economic development in Stockbridge and Henry County. He said the infrastructure investments being made will attract companies and good-paying jobs that will make the region one of the most desirable in the country for the IT industry.

Wig CEO Scott Barresi likewise noted that they believe the project will have a significant impact on the technology sector in the state, and will make Georgia the Southeast’s premier technology hub.

Colorado SBDC Launches Online Resource Gateway

The Colorado Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network unveiled an online portal called the Colorado Resource Gateway that will connect businesses to federal, state, local and non-profit resources.

Colorado SBDC Resource Gateway

Colorado SBDC Resource Gateway

The interactive portal leads businesses to the organizations they need based on certain inputs such as location, type of assistance required, and the business lifecycle stage.

You start off by selecting the lifecycle stage your business is in, with options including idea, pre-venture, startup, early stage, second stage and mature.

Select one of the options and you can go to the next screen which gives you another set of choices about the type of assistance you need.

This time, you can pick multiple choices out of the following – mentoring, loans and funding, incubator and/or accelerator, technology transfer assistance, networking opportunities, employment assistance services, and business permits/licenses.

Take your pick(s) again and go to the next screen, which asks for a zip code and optional keywords, if any.

The search results you get from this 3-step process will include all the organizations that may be able to help fulfill the needs you specified for businesses such as yours in and around the chosen zip code.

For example, an early stage company looking for employment assistance services in the Denver area will be shown a handful of Workforce Centers in various locations in the city, along with other resources such as the Colorado Urban Workforce Alliance.

Each search result includes the organization’s address, phone number, website and a short description. All of the listings are also shown on a map.

Organizations that are not currently listed on the Resource Gateway may apply to be listed through the Colorado SBDC website.

SBDC State Director Kelly Manning says there are many resources around the state that are left untapped by business owners. Manning said the database shows the abundance of resources available to businesses, and they are now able to quickly connect the owners to the resources.

This portal’s unveiling was preceded by the launch of a new economic gardening program called SBDC Advanced that will help grow and cultivate second-stage companies by providing them with access to high-level research and data that is usually available only to Fortune 500 companies.

Manning said they were excited to offer these services that might otherwise be out of reach for small to mid-sized business owners.

The Colorado SBDC Network, comprised of 14 full-time centers and more than 50 part-time satellite offices spread all over the state, is a part of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT).

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