California

Massachusetts Tops Milken State Technology Index

The non-profit Milken Institute released its 2012 State Technology and Science Index, which showed that Massachusetts is still the best destination for hi-tech companies, jobs and careers.

Milken Institute State Technology and Science Index

Milken Institute State Technology and Science Index (photo – milkeninstitute.org)

This index evaluates each state’s capabilities in the science and tech sectors based on 79 unique indicators, including the state’s ability to leverage these assets for attracting companies and high-paying jobs.    

Milken has published this index every two years for the past decade, and Massachusetts has been on top every single time. In fact, Massachusetts with a score of 86.40 has actually widened the lead this year over Maryland which scored 79.41 and retained its second place showing.

Kevin Klowden, senior economist at Milken and co-author of the report, called Massachusetts the “indomitable state” with a critical mass of research centers, hi-tech firms and universities.

California (75.70), which had been in fourth place in the 2010 index, jumped up one place to push Colorado (75.07 ) down to fourth place. Here’s the list of the top ten states in the Milken State Technology and Science Index.

1. Massachusetts

2. Maryland

3. California

4. Colorado

5. Washington

6. Virginia

7. Utah

8. Delaware

9. Connecticut

10. New Hampshire

The 79 indicators the index is based on are categorized into five groupings under technology and science work force, technology concentration and dynamism, human capital investment, risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure, and research and development inputs.

The state which surged the most in the rankings this year was Tennessee, which jumped from its 41st spot in 2010 to 35th in 2012, thanks to huge gains in the risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure category, which means the state saw a lot of growth in companies getting venture capital or cashing in with public offerings.

Virginia likewise jumped two spots to a 6th place ranking based on a stellar performance in the risk capital category. Rhode Island cracked into the top 20 with a 17th place ranking due to its gains in the technology and science work force category.

Klowden says the index shows how important innovation is for state economies. States such as California with a traditionally strong science and technology sector have been able to claw their way back out of the recession by riding on the backs of a comeback in the tech sector.

Read the full Milken Institute 2012 State Technology and Science Index – Download (pdf) 

Utah, Virginia Team up to Offer East-West U.S. Expansions

Companies entering the U.S. or expanding their presence often have to deal with choosing a location on one coast without completely giving up on the other one. That may not be a problem for much longer, if Utah and Virginia have their way.

Welcome to California sign

Welcome to California sign (photo – Twam/wikipedia)

Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell are undertaking a joint trip to California, where they will be co-marketing Utah and Virginia to companies looking at expanding in the United States.

This does have shades of the recent campaign undertaken by Texas to entice California companies, but CA Gov. Jerry Brown is in China on a trade mission and unable to provide free publicity to interlopers with a colorful remark.

The only official California response so far has been from Riley Ray Robbins, deputy director of Go-Biz, the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, who thanked the governors for their “double-occupancy contribution” to the Golden State’s tourism industry.

But the real news here is about the joint effort by the two states, which is an original concept since it works specifically because of their vast geographical separation. Virginia officials apparently cooked up the idea of teaming up with Utah to offer an East-West expansion strategy so that they can jointly provide more options for companies looking to expand in either the Mountain West or on the East Coast.

They choose Utah as a partner for this effort because the governors have gotten to know each other, and Utah and Virginia are the top two states for doing business, as per the annual Forbes rankings.

Governor McDonnell, talking about the 16-day economic development trip he is undertaking to California and Asia starting April 10, 2013, said in a statement issued by his office that “we will have the unique opportunity to partner with Utah and get in front of California-based companies looking to expand their national footprint.”

In California, the two governors will be jointly hosting a luncheon and receptions. They have arranged their schedules to make room for joint stops in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Orange County. After the California trip (April 10-12), Gov McDonnell will head for China (April 14-22) and Japan (April 23-25).

Virginia is promoting its agriculture and tourism industries during this three-leg trip, and the Governor is accompanied by senior officials from the Virginia Tourism Corporation, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, among others.

California Pulls Out All The Stops to Land Drone Test Sites

The FAA’s site selection process for choosing six pilot sites for testing integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) with the National Air Space (NAS) officially began in February when they put out a Screening Information Request (SIR) asking for proposals from interested sites.

FAA talks UAVs at CA symposium

FAA talks UAVs at CA symposium (photo – AIAA)

The FAA announced that it has now received applications from 50 sites spread across 37 states (see map).

The six chosen sites are likely to be announced by the year-end. Meanwhile, some of the more likely contenders such as California want to leave nothing to chance. The Golden State has two separate teams vying to be selected as one of the test sites.

One of the teams is the Southern California Unmanned Systems Alliance, led by Ventura County and the Ventura County Economic Development Association (VCEDA).

Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo) is leading the push, with a three-day symposium on the “Future Civilian Applications of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles” in progress March 26-28 in Thousand Oaks, CA.

The symposium, co-hosted by Assemblyman Gorell and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), has panels on the possible use of drones for everything from the movie business to agriculture and disaster response.

More importantly, there are discussions highlighting the economic development opportunities for the UAV industry in California. Ventura County has several speakers in the line-up at the symposium, and VCEDA hopes they can showcase their effort for gaining a UAS-NAS test site.

In a statement for a select committee hearing which heard from both of California’s dueling teams, VCEDA President/CEO Bill Buratto said a UAS test site would be a perfect fit for the county. “We have a high-tech educated workforce, a great relationship with our Navy bases, and an established local connection to the aerospace industry,” added Buratto.

Assemblyman Gorell has taken matters one step ahead of the site selection process by introducing legislation (Assembly Bill 1326) to provide state incentives for drone manufacturers.

AB 1326 seeks to provide sales tax exemptions for purchasing machinery that is used by UAV manufacturers, and a $20,000 tax credit for each new worker hired for a UAV manufacturing facility.

California‚Äôs second team is the Cal UAS Portal Consortium led by Kern County and the Indian Wells Valley Airport District, which seeks to establish a “UAS Center of Excellence” with Inyokern Airport as its central core. Their Cal UAS Portal provides detailed information regarding their infrastructure and advantages for UAS testing.

Milken Institute Global Conference 2013

The Milken Institute Global Conference is scheduled to be held April 28-May 1, 2013, in Los Angeles, California.

Milken Institute Global Conference

Milken Institute Global Conference (photo – milkeninstitute.org)

The 2013 Global Conference is the Milken Institute’s 16th annual forum, and will bring together more than 3,000 experts and leaders from diverse fields including academia and public policy, along with government officials, philanthropists and CEOs.

The program includes panels on a wide range of subjects from economic development to technology, education, energy and public policy.

The government panels include one on creating smarter cities, and another one which is a conversation with former Vice President Al Gore about the drivers of global change.

The education panels include one on the future of higher education in America, and another one about how technology can revamp the learning process.

The finance panels include one on development finance and another one that explores crowdfunding opportunities for small business and startups. The philanthropy section offers multiple panels on impact investing, and a panel on social change driven by a global community.

One of the regional panels examines the U.S. recovery and explores the possibility of an impending takeoff. Another panel will discuss California’s culture of creativity and innovation.

The list of speakers and panelists is a global Who’s Who list of people tackling the most serious problems facing the world, including Bill Gates, Tony Blair and Al Gore.

Past participants include Google’s Eric Schmidt, who said the inspirational advice and insight at the conference gave him a better appreciation about the future.

Former SEIU President Andy Stern, currently at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute as a senior fellow, says the conference is a sophisticated process for finding real-life solutions, fueled by the convening power that brings together people who know how to get the job done.

What: Milken Institute Global Conference 2013

When: April 28-May 1, 2013

Where: Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, California

SEIA Solar Market Insight Report – CA, AZ Top States for Solar Installations

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) released its annual U.S. Solar Market Insight Review for 2012, which shows the U.S. installed 3,313 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaics (PV) in 2012.

SEIA report - California solar installations

SEIA report – California solar installations (photo – seia.org)

At the state level, California became the first state ever to rack up 1,000 MW worth of installations in a single year.

The market size of the U.S. solar industry grew 34 percent from $8.6 billion in 2011 to $11.5 billion in 2012.

As of the end of 2012, there were 7,221 MW of PV and 546 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) online in the U.S.  – enough to power 1.2 million homes.

“There were 16 million solar panels installed in the U.S. last year – more than 2 panels per second of the work day – and every one of these panels was bolted down by a member of the U.S. workforce,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA. “We’ve brought more new solar online in 2012 than in the three prior years combined.

Resch noted that this sustained growth is enabling the solar industry to create thousands of good jobs and to provide clean, affordable energy for more families, businesses, utilities, and the military than ever before.

“This growth simply would not have occurred without consistent, long-term policies that have helped to ensure a stable business environment for this country’s 5,600 solar companies – many of them small businesses,” added Resch.

SEIA and GTM Research, which jointly produced this report, expect the growth to continue into 2013 and beyond. For this year, the report forecasts 4,300 MW of new PV installations, up 29 percent over 2012, and 946 MW of concentrating solar power.

At the state level, California became the first state to install over 1,000 MW in one year. Arizona came in as the second largest market, led by large-scale utility installations, while New Jersey experienced growth in the state’s non-residential market.

“One thing is for sure: Arizona has earned its title as our nation’s ‘Solar Capital,’” said AZ Governor Jan Brewer. “Thanks to our pro-business policies, year-round sunshine and highly-trained workforce, Arizona continues to climb as a national and global leader in solar manufacturing and technology.”

The top 10 largest state solar markets in 2012 were:-

Top 10 solar states

Top 10 solar states (photo – seia.org)

1. California – 1,033 MW

2. Arizona – 710 MW

3. New Jersey – 415 MW

4. Nevada – 198 MW

5. North Carolina – 132 MW

6. Massachusetts – 129 MW

7. Hawaii – 109 MW

8. Maryland – 74 MW

9. Texas – 64 MW

10. New York – 60 MW

Read the full Solar Market Insight Report at seia.org.

Study – UAS Industry to Create 70,000 Jobs in Three Years

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) unveiled a new study which finds that the unmanned aircraft industry is poised to create more than 70,000 new American jobs in the first three years following the integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into U.S. national airspace system (NAS).

UAS economic impact study

UAS economic impact study (photo – auvsi.org)

Integration is scheduled to take place in 2015. Beyond the first three years, the study projects that more than 100,000 new jobs will be created by 2025.

Highlights from the study:-

1. Economic impact of UAS-NAS integration will total more than $13.6 billion in the first three years, and will cumulatively add up into $82.1 billion for the decade from 2015 to 2025.

2. Out of the more than 70,000 jobs created in the first three years, 34,000 or more will be manufacturing jobs. The industry will support 103,776 jobs by 2025.

3. Tax revenue to the states will total more than $482 million in the first 11 years.

4. Every year the UAS-NAS integration is put off results in a loss of $10 billion in economic impact, or $27.6 million per day.

The economic impact and benefits are skewed heavily in favor of a handful of states. The top five are California, Washington, Texas, Florida and Arizona.

California has the biggest slice of the pie, with an economic impact of $2.39 billion and 12,292 jobs by 2017. Washington gets $1.312 billion and 6746 jobs, while Texas is the last member of the billion-dollar impact club with $1.087 billion in economic impact and 5588 jobs.

You can see an interactive map of the state-by-state economic impact here.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for an industry developing technology that will benefit society, as well as the economy,” said Michael Toscano, president and CEO of AUVSI. “Integrating UAS into the national airspace will lead to new and expanded uses, which means the creation of quality, high-paying American jobs.”

The study notes that future events – such as the establishment of FAA Test Sites – will ultimately determine where many of the tens of thousands of new jobs will flow.

“While we project more than 100,000 new jobs by 2025, states that create favorable regulatory and business environments for the industry and the technology will likely siphon jobs away from states that do not,” wrote the report’s author, Darryl Jenkins, a former professor at George Washington University and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

Read the full UAS economic impact report from AUVSI.

CA Cities Employ Innovative Tactics to Retain Redevelopment Funds

Back in Jan 2011, California Gov. Jerry brown proposed to eliminate the state’s 400 redevelopment agencies (RDAs). The state legislature approved it in June 2011, and the California Supreme Court dismissed legal challenges just before the bill was enacted into law on Feb 1, 2012.

San Bernardino

Photo – City of San Bernardino

More than a year down the road, a hearing on the matter was held at the State Capitol, where it came to light that the state’s finance department has managed to complete the closure of only 17 redevelopment agencies so far.

State Controller John Chiang is completing asset reviews to ascertain proper transfer of assets to successor agencies by the RDAs prior to their dissolution. These reviews tell a whole new story.

One of the most interesting cases is the City of San Bernardino, which stands accused of squirreling away $529 million in RDA assets instead of retiring the agency’s debt and transferring the rest for local services such as school districts.

San Bernardino apparently moved $108.4 million worth of cash and property from its RDA to the San Bernardino Economic Development Corporation (SBEDC). Another $420.5 million of assets are still being held by the City.

The Comptroller’s office says the transfer to the SBEDC was illegal. City officials disagree, and claim the transfer was accomplished in March 2011, back when the state legislature had not changed the law to retroactively ban such transfers from the soon-to-be eliminated redevelopment agencies.

San Bernardino officials say that even if they wanted to, they cannot seek to recover funds from the SBEDC, which is a private non-profit over which the city has no authority to order the return of the assets. The six-member SBEDC board includes the mayor and two city council members.

The City of Santa Ana has similarly stymied efforts to recover $54.2 million in RDA funds by cooking up a lawsuit – against themselves. After their RDA was dissolved, the city council directed staffers to continue paying affordable housing developers, until the state threatened clawback measures to recover the funds.

At this point, Santa Ana discontinued payments to the developers, leaving the city open to lawsuits. One of these developers – Related Companies of California, has already filed a lawsuit against the city and state, and secured a judicial restraining order which bars the state from seizing the housing funds.

The state is facing a total of 53 such lawsuits from municipalities and other parties affected by the shuttering of the 400 redevelopment agencies.

HOPE Report – Economic Status of Latinas

Los Angeles, California-based Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) has released a report on the “Economic Status of Latinas” in California and the U.S.

HOPE Report - Economic Status of Latinas

HOPE Report – Economic Status of Latinas (photo – latinas.org)

The report, funded by a grant from Wells Fargo, was unveiled at HOPE’s 22nd¬†Annual Latina History Day Conference in Los Angeles.

A panel of experts and academics at the event discussed key indicators that determine economic success and the public policies that will help Latinas reach economic parity.

Apart from funding the survey that provided data for the report, the grant also helped train over 400 Latinas across California on how to advance their personal finances.

The study highlights critical factors affecting Latinas’ economic status after the Great Recession and provides a set of policy recommendations for the creation of an economic policy agenda that will support the achievement of economic parity for Latinas in the United States.

One in every three women in the state is a Latina. California’s Latino population reached over 14 million in 2010, with just under half, or 6.95 million, being Latinas. By 2020, Hispanics will be 40.8 percent of the state population. Hispanics wielded $265 billion of buying power in California in 2012, and this is expected to increase to $363 billion by 2015.

As per the report’s recession impact, the percentage of Latinas earning more than $100,000 in California decreased from 1.2 percent to 0.9 percent. The percentage of Latinas whose source of income was from their own business suffered a 50 percent decline during the recession.

Latinas in California earned only 42 cents for every dollar earned by a white, non-Hispanic man in 2010, compared to white, non-Hispanic women who earned 76 cents for every dollar earned by a white, non-Hispanic man.

In order to improve their finances, 46.2 percent of HOPE survey respondents indicated they needed financial planning or financial literacy support. The policy recommendations in the report (pg 14) also stress on education and job preparedness.

The report authors call for support for policies that promote both access to and completion of higher education for Latinas, and also funding for job development training programs for low-income wage earners.

Another recommendation is to encourage financial institutions to provide low interest rate loan programs for Latina-owned small businesses that are currently struggling but that have a record of success before the recession.

Read the full “Economic Status of Latinas” report from HOPE – Download (pdf)

Northrop Grumman Designates Centers of Excellence in FL, CA, NY

Falls Church, Virginia-based Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), one of the largest defense contractors in the world, announced today it is designating five centers of design and integration excellence in Florida, California and New York.

Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman (photo – northropgrumman.com)

Specific programs and the associated jobs will be consolidated into these five centers. Florida is expected to gain more than 1,000 net new jobs out of the consolidation process.

The two designated Northrop Grumman Centers of Excellence in Melbourne and St. Augustine in Florida are expected to add 920 and 80 new jobs respectively.

“We are grateful for Northrop Grumman’s existing presence in our state and that they have chosen to establish two new centers of excellence here – one in St. Augustine and one in Melbourne,” said Florida Gov. Rick Scott. “More companies continue to move here from other states like New York and California because Florida is committed to cutting taxes and eliminating regulations to help job creators succeed at creating more jobs.”

The Manned Aircraft Design Center of Excellence will be located in Melbourne, Fla., and will include aircraft design work currently being performed at the company’s Bethpage, NY facility in Long Island.

The company said it would be moving 850 jobs out of Long island by next year. Some of the displaced workers at Bethpage will be offered transfers to Florida or California.

“Northrop Grumman’s continued investment in the state is a testament to Florida’s competitiveness and supportive business climate,” said Gray Swoope, FL Secretary of Commerce and president and CEO of Enterprise Florida. “The importance of having strong strategic partners cannot be overstated: Governor Scott, Enterprise Florida and the professional economic development teams in both communities and the region made it possible to move quickly and to put together a competitive case for Northrop Grumman to grow its presence in Florida.”

The company has additionally designated two Aircraft Integration Centers of Excellence, one in Palmdale, CA, and the other in St. Augustine, FL. The Unmanned Systems Center of Excellence will be located at the company’s Rancho Bernardo facility in San Diego, CA. The last one is an Electronic Attack Center of Excellence in Bethpage, NY.

“Consolidating these centers of excellence will improve our strategic alignment with our customers’ need for increasingly innovative and affordable products, services and solutions,” said Wes Bush, chairman, CEO and president of Northrop Grumman. “We continuously examine our operational capacity to determine how we can leverage it in the most efficient and cost-competitive manner. Given the current budget environment, it is imperative that we act to enhance future performance, innovation and affordability for our customers.”

As part of the austerity measures being taken, Northrop Grumman announced plans to close an Information Systems sector facility in Dominguez Hills, California. Work being done there will be transitioned in phases to other company facilities beginning in 2013. Northrop Grumman also announced plans to complete the closure of an electronic systems facility in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Pacific Institute Study – Sustainable Water Jobs

The Oakland, California-based Pacific Institute has released a study that analyzes the jobs created through sustainable water management and the potential for increasing opportunities for disadvantaged communities.

Sustainable Water Jobs - Pacific Institute

Sustainable Water Jobs – Pacific Institute (photo – pacinst.org)

The study, titled, “Sustainable Water Jobs: A National Assessment of Water-Related Green Job Opportunities,” identifies 136 different kinds of jobs involved in implementing sustainable water strategies, from plumbers to landscapers, engineers to irrigation specialists.

Thirty-seven of these job types are also projected to have high growth in the overall economy, with each projected to have more than 100,000 job openings across industries by 2020.

Jobs in 27 of the 37 occupations with 100,000 job openings by 2020 do not require bachelor’s or graduate degrees. They can be obtained with on-the-job training, associate’s degrees or technical training.

“This research indicates that water policy can expand demand for workers without bachelors or advanced degrees if occupational training programs and pathways to jobs are created,” said Eli Moore of the Pacific Institute. “However, the occupations with median wages below the national median demonstrate that measures to improve job quality must also be a priority.”

The study also found that an investment of $1 million in alternative water supply projects yields 10-15 jobs; in storm water management, 5-20 jobs; in urban conservation and efficiency, 12-22 jobs; in agricultural efficiency and quality, 14.6 jobs; and in restoration and remediation, 10-72 jobs.

The report is accompanied by six case studies including Groundwork Portland in Portland, Oregon, and Sustainable South Bronx in the Bronx, New York.

The BEST Academy at Sustainable South Bronx has trained people to work in river restoration, construction of rain gardens, and other water related fields. “Preparing people who need work to install and maintain water-saving devices and projects can heal our communities environmentally and economically,” said Annette Williams, director of BEST Academy.

The report also provides some interesting data on the demographics of the water jobs workforce. The racial make-up ranges from the predominantly white agricultural managers to the disproportionately Latino and African American laborers and truck drivers. Women are underrepresented in all but four of the 15 occupations for which data was available.

The study conclusion says that “the existing training and education programs preparing workers with the skills needed in sustainable water fields appear nascent and small-scale.”

One of their recommendations is that water utilities, state water agencies, planning departments and other public entities funding and managing sustainable water projects should implement “high-road” strategies that consider job quality, training, and targeted hiring as an integral component of project design and implementation.

This should include local hiring and minority hiring requirements and incentives that increase contracting and hiring with individuals from local and disadvantaged communities.

Read the full Sustainable Water Jobs study or the executive summary.

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