Economic Development

New York Announces Partnerships for Statewide P-TECH Program

New York State announced the 16 winners of a competition held to choose public-private partnerships that will help expand the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) Program on a statewide level.

P-TECH

P-TECH (photo – ptechnyc.org)

The 16 NYS P-TECH partnerships will help prepare nearly 6,000 high school students for high-skill jobs in the manufacturing, technology and healthcare sectors.

P-TECH is an initiative developed by IBM and the City University of New York (CUNY), in partnership with the City of New York.

The idea was to pair each P-TECH student with an IBM mentor and provide a high-school diploma and an associate in applied science degree from CUNY-City Tech. The education, including tuition, books and other fees, would be entirely free for students and parents.

P-TECH NYC was launched on September 8, 2011 with 104 students. It has since gained both students and fame, even getting a mention from President Obama in his 2013 State of the Union address for the way the program enhances American competitiveness and prepares students for a 21st century economy.

The P-TECH “playbook” has been replicated in four schools in Chicago, Illinois. IBM is the industry partner for the Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy, while Cisco, Motorola and Verizon have teamed up with one school each.

However, New York was the first state to announce earlier this year that P-TECH would be expanded as a statewide program, offered in at least one school in each of the state’s ten economic development regions.

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said they were making sure that students are better prepared for life after their graduation by linking skills taught in the classroom with the requirements of 21st century employers. He said the public-private partnerships are a model for success for both students and employers, and for the state’s regional economies.

The NYS P-TECH partnerships will provide students with a high-school diploma, an associate degree and the chance to be first in line for jobs with the participating industry partner.

For example, the public-private partnership in New York City will prepare students for an IT career. The partnership includes CUNY and the New York City Department of Education, with SAP as the industry partner.

Mohawk Valley’s public-private partnership will prepare students for a manufacturing career. The partnership includes a regional K-12 consortium, Fulton-Montgomery Community College for higher education, and 16 regional companies as industry partners.

The Southern Tier partnership is going to prepare students for careers in both manufacturing and health-tech. The partnership consists of a K-12 regional consortium led by Binghamton City School District, with Broome Community College for higher education.

Southern Tier industry partners include Architect & Land Surveyors, P.C.; Bothar Construction; Delta Engineers; Lockheed Martin MS2; Our Lady of Lourdes Memorial Hospital, Inc.; Rockwell-Collins; and United Health Services Hospitals, Inc.

Report – Top Trends in State Economic Development

A new report released by the National Governors Association (NGA) highlights how states are focusing on important trends such as boosting startups, advanced manufacturing and exports in their economic development initiatives and strategies.

State economic development trends

State economic development trends (photo – nga.org)

Six trends in state economic development that have emerged in the past two years:-

- Focusing on the Relationship Between the State and its Regions;

- Emphasizing Job Creation Within the State;

- Strengthening Support for Advanced Manufacturing;

- Creating Partnerships to Meet Industry Demands for Talent;

- Raising Expectations for Universities to Bridge the Gap between Research and Commercialization; and

- Stepping Up Business Export Initiatives.

NGA Executive Director Dan Crippen said that job creation remains a top priority for governors, and they are looking for ways to emphasize programs and policies that support businesses and have strong buy-in from the industry.

The report says that one of the challenges most state economic development systems face is coordination of functions that are managed by dozens of local, regional and state agencies. Lack of coordination among these agencies diminishes the effectiveness of the state’s overall efforts.

In the last few years, at least six states have made alignment of state and regional economic development strategies and operations one of their top priorities. The report cites the Colorado Blueprint; Tennessee’s Jobs4TN Regional Accelerators program; and New York’s establishment of ten regional development councils and the new Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process.

Even though only two percent of annual job gains across states are attributed to business relocations, most state economic development agencies have traditionally focused on competing with each other to attract investments by large firms.

But now, states are shifting their job-creation focus inwards towards boosting startups and growth of existing companies already within their borders. At least 20 states have introduced legislation or launched programs in the past two years for boosting the number of startups in their state, and seven states have developed strategies to assist companies with high growth potential.

The report cites Pure Michigan Business Connect and the Hawaii Growth Initiative as examples of how states are assisting business growth, along with Nebraska’s use of Gallup’s Entrepreneur Acceleration System (EAS) for identifying small to medium-sized businesses with high growth potential.

Read the full NGA report on trends in state economic development – Download (pdf)

Detroit Gets $52 million in Federal Funding to Fight Blight

Back in June, the U.S. Department of the Treasury had announced that five Michigan cities had been approved for a total of $100 million in federal assistance for blight elimination under a pilot program called the Hardest Hit Fund.

Step Forward Michigan Program

Step Forward Michigan Program (photo – michigan.gov)

Gov. Rick Snyder has now announced that Detroit alone will get $52.3 million under this program for funding large-scale demolition of abandoned properties that will help stabilize neighborhoods, fight crime and preserve property values.

The remaining four cities will get $37.4 million, with $10.2 million being held in reserve for additional demolition projects and unforeseen costs.

Out of the $37.4 million, the City of Flint will get $20.1 million. Grand Rapids will get $2.5 million, while Pontiac gets $3.7 million and Saginaw $11.2 million.

The $7.6 billion Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) was created in 2010 under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). HHF provides assistance to the 18 states (and the District of Columbia) that were hardest hit by the 2007-08 housing crisis.

The funds are provided to each state’s housing finance agency, which then designs and administers programs using these funds to help improve the housing market and assist homeowners who may have lost their employment and are struggling to hang on to homes whose values have dropped below what they owe on the mortgage.

In this case, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) is routing the federal funding through their Step Forward Michigan Program, which has already established several programs to stabilize the state’s housing market and reduce foreclosures.

The $100 million in federal funding to eliminate blight will be part of this effort to further enhance neighborhood recovery in areas already being targeted under Step Forward Michigan.

MSHDA Executive Director Scott Woosley said their experience in responding to the housing crisis had taught them that there was a direct link between blight and foreclosure. He said they had sought to modify the program and include blight elimination because it made for a more holistic approach to helping communities that were hardest hit recover.

Officials from Detroit and the other four cities worked with MSHDA’s team to pick neighborhoods and properties that aligned with the HHF program’s goals. The award amounts were calculated using a formula that took into consideration vacancy and blight elimination data.

Treasury Under Secretary for Domestic Finance Mary J. Miller said this program seeks to prevent foreclosures by tackling blight in a way that has never been done before. She said they were proud to work with Michigan’s leadership for the program’s rollout, and hoped it would contribute in a broader way for revitalizing the communities where it is being implemented.

Lehigh Valley EDC Undertakes Study to Develop Regional Strategy

Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), the economic development organization for Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, has launched a strategic planning process to help craft a regional strategy for Lehigh Valley’s economic development initiatives for the next decade.

Lehigh Valley economic development

Lehigh Valley economic development (photo – lehighvalley.org)

LVEDC has contracted with site selection and economic development consultant Garner Economics, LLC to conduct a review of the region, identify Lehigh Valley’s strengths and weaknesses, and recommend economic development strategies.

The planning process, including the cost of the study by Garner Economics, is funded through a federal grant provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program.

Don Cunningham, president and CEO of LVEDC, said that we live in a period of tremendous economic change, and innovation and technology continue to affect all aspects of the economy. He said it was more critical than ever to take a hard look at the region’s strengths, weaknesses, assets and liabilities, and develop a strategic and smart approach on how to purse economic growth and market the region.

The study aims to develop a regional approach to growth and development that will help all Lehigh Valley entities engaged in development issues. It will help in aligning efforts around policy and funding issues between non-profits and government entities to better meet the entire Lehigh Valley’s long-term goals.

Jay Garner, who leads the Atlanta, Georgia-based Garner Economics, will hold focus groups next month with stakeholders from governments, businesses, organizations and academic institutions. He will also attend a meeting of government officials from all 62 municipalities and both counties.

The study will include an inventory of existing Lehigh Valley businesses, along with a cluster analysis of existing business types and a targeted analysis of the industry sectors that would be ideally suited for the area. The study will evaluate how the region’s assets can be used to attract these desired targeted industries.

It will also include statistical details about job classifications and the makeup of the workforce in the region. The study will identify, evaluate and prioritize development areas. It will examine current business retention efforts, focusing on preventive measures for assisting at-risk companies.

Holly Edinger, Envision Lehigh Valley study director, said the plan would be a roadmap not just for LVEDC, but also for all entities engaged in economic growth issues in Lehigh Valley.

Wisconsin Providing Idle Industrial Site Redevelopment Grants

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has launched a new program to assist communities looking to redevelop large industrial sites that have been abandoned or need extensive improvements.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin (photo – inwisconsin.com)

Wisconsin communities may apply for grants of up to $1 million under the Idle Industrial Site Redevelopment Program.

Villages, cities, town, redevelopment and community development agencies and other government entities can apply for this grant to help with redevelopment of sites that exceed 10 acres in size.

The grant is available for sites where the site conditions are impeding redevelopment, and it has been left idle, abandoned or underutilized for the past five years.

Recipients can use the grant for environmental remediation, demolition or site-specific improvements in accordance with community redevelopment plans.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said the revitalization of abandoned sites would create unique opportunities for economic development and growth.

This is a competitive program, and WEDC plans to distribute $3 million annually. Proposals have a better chance to be approved if there is an approved redevelopment plan which demonstrates the site’s potential for economic benefits such as creation of full-time permanent jobs and additional property taxes.

Reed Hall, CEO and secretary of WEDC, said the program was structured for furthering marketability of neglected sites, with preference for sites in central business districts or in high-density urban areas. He said that the redeveloped idle industrial sites would become generators of economic development and improved quality of life for the communities where these sites are located.

The program was approved last month as part of WEDC’s FY2014 plan. WEDC also approved another Community Development Investment Grant Program which provides incentives for shovel-ready programs.

Apart from the new Idle Industrial Site Redevelopment Program, Wisconsin communities also have access to other Brownfield programs such as the Site Assessment Grant (SAG) Program, which provides grants for environmental assessments and demolitions on eligible abandoned, idle or underutilized commercial and industrial sites.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) additionally offers “Ready for Reuse” grants and loans for environmental cleanups of brownfields. At the federal level, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a Brownfields Program which provides direct funding for assessments and cleanups, environmental job training and revolving loans.

Sen. Tom Udall to Introduce Tech Transfer Bill

Tom Udall, U.S. Senator for New Mexico, announced that he is going to introduce a technology transfer bill in Congress to create high-tech jobs by streamlining the U.S. Department of Energy’s research commercialization process.

Public-private technology transfer

Public-private technology transfer (photo – usbr.gov)

The bill, tentatively titled as the “The Technology Transfer Invention, Innovation, and Implementation Act,” will be introduced in the U.S. Senate in September.

The bill is designed to facilitate public-private partnerships at the regional, state and federal level.

Udall made the announcement during a workshop on technology transfer at Santa Fe Community College.

Paul Hommert, director of Sandia National Laboratory was one of the speakers at the event, along with Duncan McBranch, chief technology officer at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Udall said his bill will address many of the key challenges the Department of Energy faces in its technology transfer process.

He said New Mexico was well-positioned to build on cutting-edge research at the national labs, military installations and universities, and turn it into high-tech jobs for communities across the state. But it required improved coordination between private enterprise and the government at the DOE in order to create successful high-tech industries.

The Tech Transfer will tackle these challenges in three ways:-

The Office of Advanced Research Tech Transfer and Innovation in Energy (ARTTIE) will be established at DOE headquarters, and will be connected to the network of existing tech transfer offices at all the national labs.

A new Entrepreneurs in Energy Corps (E2-Corps) will be established at the DOE, similar to the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps. E2-Corps will support investments in scientists, engineers, mentors and entrepreneurs.

The bill will enable DOE to realign incentives to make technology transfer a priority, using a public-private partnership model similar to the ones used by USAID and the Small Business Administration (SBA) for economic development.

John Freisinger, president and CEO of Technology Ventures Corporation (TVC) which was one of the sponsors of the tech transfer workshop, said the initiative represents a bold new vision of the possibilities in technology transfer when the laboratories work together for a common purpose with entrepreneurs, private industry, non-profits and the investment community.

Virginia Launches Going Global Defense Initiative

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) has launched a “Going Global” initiative for mitigating the impact of cuts in defense spending on Virginia’s economy.

VEDP export assistance program

VEDP export assistance program (photo – exportvirginia.org)

The VEDP has received almost $2 million in state and federal funding to help defense contractors in Virginia who have been adversely affected by defense cutbacks.

The Going Global initiative and VEDP’s existing International Trade programs will focus on assisting defense contractors diversify and foray into new international markets.

Going Global will help contractors by providing them assistance through market research, export compliance, export training, training on international certification and standards, security market reports, and search engine optimization, digital marketing and website translation.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said this initiative was truly game-changing at a time when Virginia’s defense-related companies are facing revenue and job losses because of sequestration. He said this innovative program would help reduce dependency on the federal government by assisting defense companies find alternative markets in foreign countries.

The program is open to first-time exporters as well as existing exporters. Kickoff workshops are being held from August 13-15 in McLean, Norfolk and Roanoke to explain how a company can access the available funds for increasing international sales.

A series of export training seminars have been scheduled throughout Virginia on various export issues relevant to the defense industry.  The first of these one-day seminars is scheduled to be held in Williamsburg on Oct 23, 2013, and will focus on International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

The next two seminars on Dec 4 and Dec 5 will be held in Arlington and Norfolk, focused on best practices for completing international proposals. Another four seminars scheduled for 2014 will focus on export compliance, contracts and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Martin Briley, president and CEO of VEDP, said they were excited about launching this timely opportunity for helping defense-related companies in Virginia grow in international markets. He said Going Global was the first initiative of its kind in the nation.

Briley also noted that the expertise of VEDP’s International Trade staff would benefit Virginia companies as they identify foreign markets and work through the strategies, considerations and processes required for making overseas sales.

Defense companies in Virginia can find out more about the Going Global program and apply for assistance on the exportvirginia.org website. 

New Mexico Offers Technical Assistance for Frontier Communities

Seven rural communities in New Mexico have been selected as recipients of technical assistance under the state’s new Frontier Communities Initiative approved earlier this year in April.

NM Frontier Communities Initiative

NM Frontier Communities Initiative (photo – gonm.biz)

The initiative is a community development partnership being implemented under the NM Economic Development Department’s MainStreet Program.

The Frontier Communities Initiative aims to provide technical support for communities developing catalytic economic development projects within historic or traditional commercial centers such as a village plaza, town center or courthouse square.

Only communities with less than 7,500 people which are not currently a part of the state’s MainStreet or Arts and Cultural District programs are eligible. There is no funding element involved, and the only support communities get is direct technical assistance through the NM MainStreet program.

A total of 16 communities applied for assistance in a competitive process that required each community to identify at least one catalytic economic development project they would engage in for enhancing the commercial district.

The proposals were required to be able to demonstrate the positive impact the project would have in terms of job creation and business development, or its role in enhancing the community’s economic environment.

Rich Williams, director of New Mexico MainStreet, said they had taken the Main Street Four Point Approach and scaled it down for single economic development projects rather than for entire districts.

He said that professional technical consultants from NM MainStreet would be out in the field in the coming months, working on each project with the local community partners.

For example, one of the winning communities was Santa Clara, which wants assistance with a project for wayfinding and image development for its historic village center. Madrid wants to do entrepreneur and business development for its historic village core. Carrizozo, another one of the winning communities, is looking at a branding and image development project.

New Mexico Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela said that rural economic development was very important to his department and for Gov. Susana Martinez, and they were pleased to see the interest in an expanded program under MainStreet.

He said the Frontier Communities Initiative would help in strengthening local economies, and especially so in rural villages and towns where sustaining and creating new jobs was critical.

Honda To Invest $215M for Technology Upgrades and Training Center in Ohio

Honda announced that it was investing $215 million into its operations in Anna and Marysville, Ohio.

Honda Anna engine plant in Ohio

Honda Anna engine plant in Ohio (photo – Honda News/flickr)

The Honda of America Mfg., Inc. engine plant in Anna, Ohio will get $180 million for upgrades of powertrain technologies and establishment of a new technical training center.

Honda is expanding production capabilities related to its ‚ÄúEarth Dreams Technology” engines.

Honda North America Services, LLC in Marysville, Ohio is building a 160,000-square-foot building close to its existing facility. This $35 million investment includes establishment of a technical training center, in addition to a heritage center and office space.

The technical training facilities in both locations will provide Honda employees with unique workforce training opportunities to pick up skills in a hands-on environment to enhance their technical know-how.

Rick Schostek, senior vice president of Honda North America, Inc., said that they believed the company’s success in 21st century manufacturing will be defined by successful interaction between technology and the company’s associates.

He said that even as Honda introduces sophisticated technologies in plants and products, they were working to make sure the company’s associates were equipped with skills needed for future manufacturing requirements. Schostek added that this investment in the company’s people was critical for the company’s success in future.

The planned heritage center in Marysville will be open to the public and will highlight Honda’s history in North America, the products the company has launched and the milestones achieved. It will showcase the 36 years of the company’s operations in Ohio since the first announcement of a Honda production center coming to the state in 1977.

Schostek said the Marysville facility was an important link between Honda’s past achievements in North America and their growing responsibilities in the future requiring advanced production technologies and skills.

The latest $180 million investment announcement brings Honda’s total investment in the Anna engine plant in the last three years to $500 million. Their overall investment in North America during the last three years totals up to almost $2.7 billion, of which more than $1 billion is in Ohio alone.

All put together, Honda employs some 33,000 associates in North America that are involved in its manufacturing operations, along with sales and R&D facilities. The company’s total capital outlay since Honda first came to North America in 1959 now exceeds $22 billion.

NGA Announces America Works Initiative

At the closing session of the National Governors Association (NGA) summer meeting held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the new NGA Chair and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin announced a yearlong initiative for improving the effectiveness and capacity of education and workforce training programs.

OK Gov. Mary Fallin announces NGA America Works initiative

OK Gov. Mary Fallin announces NGA America Works initiative (photo – nga.org)

The initiative is called “America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow’s Jobs.”

America Works seeks to improve and align workforce training and states’ education with the requirements of state economies.

The initiative will push for post-secondary education such as a workforce certificate or degree as the new minimum required for gaining access to opportunities.

Fifty years ago, 75 percent of jobs were available and paid good wages to those who had a high school diploma or less. Now high school graduates and dropouts only qualify for 40 percent of jobs, and less than a third of these jobs pay more than $25,000 in annual wages.

America Works will be launched at a national event to be held in Washington D.C. so that policy organizations and industry leaders can learn about the objectives and priorities of the initiative, coordinate their state activities and align with the governors’ shared interests.

The initiative will provide each state with investment data specific to the state that will help boost degree attainment. Regional roundtables will be hosted involving the governors and leaders of industry and education to identify priorities for state action.

A “Governor’s Guide” and case studies will be prepared detailing examples of state efforts to integrate workforce and education data to assist in aligning workforce training programs and higher education with the state’s labor needs.

Six to eight states will come together under this initiative for developing and implementing a policy agenda that builds and strengthens both workforce training and education. The agenda will help promote information sharing and collaboration between economic development or workforce agencies and education.

It will expand private and public education and training capacity to meet future workforce requirements.

Gov. Fallin said that the future economic security of the United States requires significant improvements to workforce training programs and the educational system, and it would also need closer relationships between employers, workforce training providers, colleges and high schools.

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