NIST Announces NMII Competition

Paytas-Blog-20160405Recently, The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced the competition to award its first National Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NMII).  Proposers may focus on any advanced manufacturing technology area not already addressed by another institute or open competition. Seven institutes have been funded to date with two currently moving through the review and negotiation process. After attending the Proposer Day session on March 8, 2016, it is clear that many proposal teams have already been formed. Continue reading “NIST Announces NMII Competition”

Big Visions Get Big Dollars in Indiana

IndianaBlogImageOn Tuesday, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) announced $126 million in state matching funds to support three regions in pursuing their visions for growth. The Regional Cities Initiative was developed based on a study of regions that have experienced transformational growth, performed last year by Fourth Economy, and is being funded by a tax amnesty program. Tuesday’s announcement was the culmination of months of planning on the part of Indiana’s regions, and Fourth Economy was fortunate enough to facilitate and advise on the strategy for two of the winning regions in those efforts – Northeast Indiana (home to Fort Wayne) and Michiana (home to South Bend). Here are a few lessons learned from our work helping multi-county, cross-sector partnerships identify and prioritize quality-of-life investments meant to attract and retain population.
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Three Ingredients to Support Market Opportunities – Moving Beyond Industry Clusters

ProvidenceBlogImageFourth Economy recently concluded a Cluster Development Strategy project for the City Council of Providence, RI. The analysis, conversations and excitement that was demonstrated during the process underscores the need to think beyond traditional Industry Clusters and be open to identifying emerging sectors that may still require definition.

The City of Providence is an example of many communities throughout the country, especially in the Midwest, Northeast and New England, where economies that once were led by industrial dominance are still searching for the right mix of legacy and emerging businesses and organizations to regain strength. While finding an easy strategy to replicate in these communities remains elusive if not impossible, I offer 3 ingredients that must exist in order to advance an approach that embraces Market Opportunities.
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Fourth Economy Helps Launch North Dakota-Minnesota Regional Action Plan

Valley-Prosperity-Partnership6 Key Priorities Shape the Economic Development Agenda

Regional industry, especially homegrown industry, must be an integral stakeholder in the development of strong and effective regional economic development partnerships. It cannot be said enough. This was emphasized once again in Fourth Economy’s recent engagement with our friends from the Red River Valley in North Dakota and Minnesota.

By far the Valley Prosperity Partnership (VPP) is one of the strongest industry-led efforts we have seen, both in terms of time and money.  In addition to industry, it included two of the region’s regional economic development organizations and, oh yeah, two states.  For those who have worked in regional efforts like this, you know it is no small task. Continue reading “Fourth Economy Helps Launch North Dakota-Minnesota Regional Action Plan”

Pennsylvania Life Science Industry – A Quick Check on the Numbers

LifeSciencesTwo year’s ago this month the Fourth Economy team completed an assignment for the Pennsylvania Life Science Leadership Advisory Council. At a news event in May 2012 we participated in the release of “Life Sciences Leadership for the Next Decade: Nurturing a Life Science Ecosystem for Job Creation and Economic Development in Pennsylvania”. This report highlighted five steps and related actions that the life science community could undertake to maintain the economic impact of the life science industry in the state. Continue reading “Pennsylvania Life Science Industry – A Quick Check on the Numbers”

Makers, Starters, and Youngsters – The Evolution of Pittsburgh’s Workforce Development

Burgh-BridgeAs chairperson of the Workforce Development, Jobs, and Human Capital Subcommittee of the Economic Development Transition Team assembled by our new Mayor, Bill Peduto, I had the opportunity to meet with some of the high-level leaders driving workforce development in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. While our short time frame prevented me from interviewing all the persons of interest, executives at UPMC, the Allegheny Conference, TechShop, the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, the Coro Center for Civic Leadership, the Workforce Investment Board, the Youth Policy Council, the Small Business Development Center at Pitt, the New App for Making it in America, and others were able to make time to meet with members of our sub-committee on extremely short notice. Beyond the executive level input we received from the community, our subcommittee was highly qualified to make recommendations to the administration on the merit of our own qualifications. We were made up of small business owners, consultants, labor union executives, student researchers, and native Pittsburghers. From my experiences interacting with this collection of experts, three segments of workforce development opportunities emerged that are dominating the market today and into Pittsburgh’s future. Continue reading “Makers, Starters, and Youngsters – The Evolution of Pittsburgh’s Workforce Development”

Witnessing Collaboration Across the Nation

131022-Regional-CollaborationRight now, Fourth Economy is fortunate enough to be working in two communities on private sector-led regional economic development. The first is a group of self-organized group of private sector and higher education leader in the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota (the major metropolitan areas are Fargo-Moorhead and Grand Forks-East Grand Forks).  This group known as the Valley Prosperity Partnership is looking in to identify regional economic security interests and leverage the booming energy economy in Western North Dakota. The second community involves a group of private sector stakeholders convened by the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation and the Rhode Island Foundation to inform both the Statewide Sustainable Communities planning and the work of the sponsoring organizations. Continue reading “Witnessing Collaboration Across the Nation”

What’s New in Economic Impact

131022-What's-New-in-Economic-ImpactHaving personally conducted and written more than 75 comprehensive economic impact studies using linear cash flow models for higher education and health care clients over my 16+ year career, I thought it would be interesting to look more closely at how the focus of economic impact reports has changed over the years.  Continue reading “What’s New in Economic Impact”

This is What I Have Always Wanted To Do: On The Economy, Jobs, and Student College Majors

130828-Always-WantedLast week, college students- freshmen through PhDs- embarked on yet another semester of working toward graduation. But to what end? How will they benefit from a college degree? Simultaneously, how will our economy benefit from having college graduates in the workforce? Economically, the question of why individuals choose specific skill sets is important to ask when considering workforce development and economic growth in a region. Employers demand certain skill sets for the jobs they are trying to fill and college graduates need jobs to pay for their mounting student loans. Despite the lower unemployment rates among college graduates, there remains a mismatch between what job skills employers need and what students “want” to select as majors. Employers remain desperate and scrambling for individuals with the skill sets needed to fill job openings and allow employers to grow their businesses. Continue reading “This is What I Have Always Wanted To Do: On The Economy, Jobs, and Student College Majors”

Inside International Immigration in Pittsburgh: A look at High-Skilled High-Paying Occupations

Pittsburgh-ImmigrationRecently we were working on a grant about how to better prepare our workforce for the jobs available to them. During this process, I was asked to investigate H1-B Visa applications. What I found altered my perception about the nature of the highly-skilled, highly-paid immigrant worker population in Pittsburgh. Between October 2012 and March 2013, one thousand five hundred and twenty-four (1,524) immigrant visa applications were approved through the Department of Labor. All 1,524 H1-B Visa are for highly-skilled, highly-paid, and hard-to-fill positions. The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H). It allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. Continue reading “Inside International Immigration in Pittsburgh: A look at High-Skilled High-Paying Occupations”