NLEP Aims For Retention Of Talented Workers

July 24, 2014

By: Alexandria Burris
Via: The Shreveport Times

The North Louisiana Economic Partnership unveiled its five-year strategic plan Wednesday. And while economic development remains a top priority, the organization is aiming to direct more time to the retention of talented and skilled workers and advocating for a unified North Louisiana.

“Aligning your resources behind a single vision for this area, that’s tough business. But that’s part of what NLEP is good for to help make sure everybody is on the same page as we talk about North Louisiana because your biggest competition is South Louisiana right now,” said Tom Stellman, president and CEO of Austin-based TIP Strategies, which helped NLEP develop its plan.

NLEP is a public-private partnership that works to foster economic development initiatives, support existing businesses and bring new jobs to the 14 parishes of North Louisiana. The organization unveiled its plan to the group of investors and public officials at the petroleum club.

The organization also is launching Regional Works 1.5 an investment campaign that it says will help with the implementation of the plan.

Scott Martinez, NLEP president said 2,000 jobs have been announced in North Louisiana this year. While the number is impressive, Martinez said more can be done. “I think we can do better with our road map for what can do with our future,” he said.

NLEP intends to target transportation, industrial machinery, petrochemicals and cyber security, data centers and defense intelligence businesses. The businesses fall into one of three industries NLEP intends to target for North Louisiana. Those industries are: advanced manufacturing, professional services and information technology.

The vision outlined in the plan is a North Louisiana that is a thriving region and a destination for high-quality talent, innovative companies and global industry. Stellman said the goals include fostering economic development, influencing the pipeline of talent and advocating for the region as a unified region.

NLEP must be a voice in making that skills produced in the region align with labor demands.

“Not only is this a pressing need for today it’s going to be pressing need for tomorrow,” Stellman said. “As baby boomers reach retirement and start moving out of the workforce you’ve got to have secession plans for fulfilling their skill sets and their experience.”

Governor De Jongh Signs Contract for Business Development Study for St. Croix

July 17, 2014

Via: Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr.

Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr. has signed an agreement with TIP Strategies, Inc., for the development of a Comprehensive Targeted Competitive Industry Study primarily for St. Croix. The scope of the project includes the examination of potential opportunities for recruiting and developing new businesses that promote both job creation and private investment in the territory. The study will be completed and submitted by November 1, 2014.

“Economic development and diversification has been the cornerstone of my administration,” explained the Governor, “and combination of the Great Recession and closing of oil refinery has reinforced our need for a competitive industry report to serve as an industry, and especially as a blueprint for St. Croix’s financial future.” He added, “I am confident that the study commissioned by the Bureau of Economic Research will provide invaluable information and ideas for the expansion of our economic base, with special focus on St. Croix.”

As outlined in the agreement with TIP Strategies, the deliverables include identifying needed technologies for St. Croix and the Virgin Islands, recommended public infrastructure and private capital needed, required supporting industries, industry support strategies to promote private investment in St. Croix and the territory and identify emerging opportunities to enhance existing firms on St. Croix. “The need for this competitive analysis was heightened by the HOVENSA closing and its benefit will be in the diversification of industries that we can attract to especially to St. Croix, while also putting in place support for our existing businesses in capitalizing the opportunities that we identify,” said Wharton Berger, Director of Bureau of Economic Research.

TIP (Theory into Practice) Strategies is a privately-held economic development consulting firm, based in Austin, Texas. The company, which was established in 1995, is dedicated to finding quality solutions for both public and private clients. The compensation for the development of the Comprehensive Targeted Competitive Industry Study is not to exceed $138,268 including travel and administrative expenses.

FDI Matters…For Reasons Beyond Capital And Jobs

July 15, 2014

By: Kenan Fikri and Devashree Saha
Via: Brookings

[The Brookings Institution] recently released a new paper on foreign direct investment (FDI) in U.S. metro areas that reported that foreign-owned companies employ 5.6 million workers across the United States. [They] wouldn’t fault even [their] most worldly followers for asking “So what?” though. What makes this subset of companies active in the U.S. market special?

The answer is that these companies make inordinate contributions to national and regional economic development. In today’s rapidly globalizing economy, their importance is poised to increase.

At the most basic level, FDI represents a direct infusion of capital into the U.S. economy from abroad. At a time when U.S.-based companies remain reluctant to invest in productive capacity at home, foreign firms have filled some of the gap. In 2011 they accounted for an outsized 15.2 percent of annual investment into the country’s capital stock, compared to their 6.2 percent share of total value added. Important qualitative characteristics lie just below these top-line numbers too:

  • Manufacturing. In 2012 alone over $80 billion dollars’ worth of FDI—48 percent of the total for that year—flowed into the manufacturing sector, shoring up the country’s eroding production base. Over 18 percent of all U.S. manufacturing workers—that’s nearly one in five—now work for a foreign company, up from 12.5 percent in the 1990s. 

  • R&D. Foreign-owned companies contribute 18.9 percent of all corporate dollars spent on R&D in the United States—over three times their share of value added. This $45 billion dollars annually adds fuel to the entire country’s innovation enterprise.

  • Exports. In 2011 foreign firms exported nearly $304 billion worth of goods from the United States, accounting for one-fifth of all U.S. goods exports. What is more, FDI indirectly boosts exports by influencing the export decisions of local firms, suppliers, and competitors. 

  • Productivity spillovers. When foreign companies enter a market, they bring with them new production technologies, knowledge, and management practices. These generate what economists call spillovers as they spread through supply chains, labor markets, product markets, and to competitors. Economists estimate that such spillovers from FDI alone accounted for 12 percent of U.S. productivity growth between 1987 and 2007.

FDI via mergers and acquisitions offers a distinct set of micro-level benefits too. Such transactions can provide needed capital for expansion and technology development. Productivity, job quality, and management practices all improve. Exports often increase with access to the parent company’s international distribution network, and local outlooks become global. 

Finally, FDI matters for important but less tangible reasons of global engagement. In a world where competition is increasingly global and innovation can happen anywhere regions need to engage actively and directly with the global economy not only to get ahead, but also to prevent falling behind. FDI plays no small part in integrating U.S. regions into global networks. And with 85 percent of global growth through 2019 projected to occur outside the United States, global engagement means big opportunity. 

Best Places For STEM Graduates

July 12, 2014

By: Sreekar Jasthi
Via: NerdWallet

In today’s economy, knowledge in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) has become incredibly lucrative. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean wage for a STEM job is $79,395 — nearly 71% higher than the national annual average wage across all occupations and industries. Over the past couple of decades, some cities in the U.S. have become more attractive to STEM graduates for a variety of reasons.

NerdWallet crunched the numbers to find the best places for STEM graduates by analyzing the following factors in the 75 largest U.S. metropolitan areas:

1. Income levels for STEM jobs: We looked at the annual mean wage for STEM occupations in each metro area. We also factored in median gross rent as a cost of living metric to see how far the average income goes in each place.

2. Size of STEM industries: We included STEM occupations as a percentage of all jobs in a city to measure the robustness of the STEM industries and gauge availability of STEM jobs.

For more information on affordability in each of these places, check out NerdWallet’s cost of living calculator. For similar studies and more, visit NerdWallet Cities.


1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California
The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area is the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, the home of thousands of technology companies. Although the cost of living is high, the region’s annual average STEM wage of $111,746 is also the highest on our list. As well, the valley has the highest percentage of STEM occupations in the country. Computer networking giant Cisco Systems is the largest employer in the area, and other companies, such as Intel and Adobe Systems, also employ a large number of STEM graduates. Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology and Society aims to help social entrepreneurs by connecting them with technology mentors.

2. Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Washington

The Greater Seattle area is a hub for the aerospace, information technology, clean tech and life sciences industries, so it isn’t a surprise to see a high average wage for STEM jobs and also a significant percentage of those occupations in the local economy. Top employers in the region include Boeing, Microsoft and Amazon. Washington STEM is an organization that strives to drive growth in STEM education statewide.

3. Washington, D.C., Arlington-Alexandria, Virginia-Maryland-West Virginia

In addition to the plethora of political and government employment opportunities in the nation’s capital, the region is also home to many jobs in technology and scientific research. Each spring, Washington, D.C., hosts the USA Science & Engineering Festival, an educational event that seeks to stimulate interest in the STEM fields. The DC STEM Alliance, another group that serves a similar purpose, provides resources to support STEM education in local schools.

4. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas

People working in STEM occupations in the Greater Houston region enjoy a high average income of $94,766, and a relatively low cost of living to boot. Major industries in Houston include advanced manufacturing and technology, aerospace, biotechnology and life sciences and energy. The University of Houston STEM Center helps attract and retain students in STEM careers, both locally and nationally.

5. San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, California

As the home to major companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Oracle, and a countless number of technology startups, the San Francisco Bay Area is major hub for STEM jobs. The region offers the second-highest average annual wage for STEM occupations behind the nearby San Jose metro area. UC Berkeley’s Center for STEM Innovation, Leadership and Diversity is an incubator for college students in these burgeoning fields, while the California STEM Learning Network is a statewide organization that seeks to increase STEM knowledge and skills for younger students.

6. Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, Texas

Austin has seen significant growth over the past decade, especially as a technology center. The region is home to the headquarters of Dell, and also regional offices of Google, IBM, Intel, Texas Instruments and other major companies. The University of Texas at Austin contributes significantly to the area’s STEM workforce and its Center for STEM Education supports education and research.

7. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Massachusetts-New Hampshire

Thanks to its major health care and research industries, the Boston area has a healthy demand for STEM graduates. Top employers include several hospitals and research institutions at Harvard, Boston University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Boston STEM Network advocates for STEM education and growth in schools, higher education and businesses. The Boston Area Girls STEM Collaborative works to increase young women’s participation in STEM fields through various programs.

8. Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina

As a major center for technology and research, the Raleigh metro area is an attractive place for those pursuing STEM careers. The region is home to companies such as SAS. North Carolina State University has a Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education that produces graduates to teach STEM classes to help prepare students for the Greater Raleigh area’s workforce.

9. Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, Colorado

Aerospace, energy and health care are among the prominent industries in the Denver metro area, making it a great place for STEM graduates. And the University of Denver recently launched a STEM initiative to expand its existing engineering and computer science programs, which will allow the student and faculty population to grow 30%.

10. Dayton, Ohio

The Dayton metro area earns its place on our list primarily because of a very low relative cost of living — its median rent of $714 is the lowest of all the top 10 places. STEM graduates are in demand here to work at aerospace, health care and information technology companies, which are all major players in the local economy. Top employers include hospitals as well as technology corporations such as LexisNexis. STEM education also receives attention in Dayton — organizations such as the Dayton Regional STEM Center and the University of Dayton School of Engineering provide programs for STEM students and teachers.

Top 20 Places for STEM Graduates

Rank Metropolitan area Annual mean wage for STEM jobs Median gross rent STEM jobs as a percentage of all occupations Overall score
1 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA $111,745.95 $1,560 17.31% 75.00
2 Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA $95,731.03 $1,079 12.73% 66.00
3 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV $99,237.45 $1,424 11.99% 56.07
4 Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX $94,766.01 $873 7.09% 53.16
5 San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA $101,280.87 $1,399 10.49% 52.89
6 Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX $79,493.62 $978 9.76% 51.89
7 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH $89,110.05 $1,162 9.89% 51.75
8 Raleigh-Cary, NC $77,340.37 $877 8.92% 50.92
9 Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO $84,380.42 $961 8.16% 49.49
10 Dayton, OH $76,843.68 $714 6.78% 48.25
11 Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX $81,215.74 $877 7.45% 48.02
12 Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI $80,059.98 $813 6.98% 47.72
13 Albuquerque, NM $76,691.02 $781 7.10% 47.40
14 Baltimore-Towson, MD $87,700.72 $1,089 7.72% 46.18
15 Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, CA $83,105.21 $1,022 7.56% 45.36
16 Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA $78,149.94 $934 7.41% 44.98
17 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI $77,907.70 $895 6.95% 44.44
18 Columbus, OH $73,344.48 $791 6.64% 44.15
19 Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT $81,932.00 $948 6.61% 43.78
20 San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA $85,685.96 $1,253 8.51% 43.40


The overall score for each metro was calculated from the following measures:

  • STEM jobs as percentage of all occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2013 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates (50% of overall score)

The annual mean wage for STEM jobs and median gross rent were each half-weighted. The study analyzed the 75 largest metropolitan areas in the country.

Jobs Charted By State And Salary

July 10, 2014

Via: Flowing Data


The chart [above] shows what people do and what they get paid. These vary depending on where you live. Select a state in the drop-down menu, and use the slider to adjust the median annual salary.

Prominent industries in a state can say a lot about an area. Is there a lot of farming? Is there a big technology market? Couple the jobs with salary, and you also see where the money’s at. You see a state’s priorities.

For example, look at California. You see an increased prominence of farmworkers and laborers, whereas the farming, fishing, and forestry sector is nearly nonexistent in many other parts of the country. I expected a lot more in the midwest states, but relative to the other occupations in those states, the farming sector doesn’t seem that big from an employee perspective.

For a drastic change, switch to Washington, D.C., where people who work in the legal and business sectors are much more common. I realize it’s a comparison between a city and states, but whoa, that’s a lot of lawyers packed in one place.

Move the median salary up a bit, and you get a sense of overall salaries (and a correlating cost of living, kind of) as you check out different states.

Anyway, it’s an interesting first look at employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What 8 States Are Doing To Build Better Pathways From High School To Careers

July 8, 2014

By: Katherine Mangan
Via: The Chronicle of Higher Education

Photo Credit: Computer Lab by Jonathan Reyes Via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Eight states are tackling a growing disconnect between the nation’s education system and its economy by exposing more middle-school and high-school students to jobs, making education relevant to careers, and beefing up alternatives to the four-year college degree, according to a new report from the Pathways to Prosperity Network.

The network, which began in 2012, works with 10 states to build pathways that connect the final years of high school with the first few years of career training in fields facing worker shortages, including information technology, health care, and advanced manufacturing. Led by the nonprofit group Jobs for the Future and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the network is trying to increase the number of high-school graduates earning a postsecondary credential that will lead to a decent-paying job.

“There’s a lot of momentum around the idea of providing a much stronger set of career pathways for young people,” said Robert Schwartz, a professor emeritus at the Harvard education school.

Mr. Schwartz, one of several experts on work-force training who discussed the new report in a conference call with reporters on Monday, is a co-author of a 2011 report, “Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century.”

That report, which he said had galvanized support for a national network, concluded that Americans put too much emphasis on getting a degree from a four-year college, which it said fewer than one-third of young adults accomplish by age 25. It called for more focus on alternative paths that include career-focused education and apprenticeships.

The new report outlines the steps taken so far by California, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee. (Arizona and Delaware joined the network last month.) Their efforts, which include early-college high schools, technology-focused schools, and mentoring partnerships with local businesses, are a response to “the growing disconnect between our education system and our economy,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, a research professor and director of Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. Mr. Carnevale is a national expert on work-force training whose studies about the economic value of various degrees are widely cited.

The landmark 1983 report “A Nation at Risk” was the impetus for providing solid academic offerings to every public-school student, he said, instead of steering underprepared students into vocational education. “We’re at the point where it’s too much of a good thing,” he added. As curricula became more academic and less applied, students were less likely to see the relevance of much of their learning, he said.

Dropping out or opting out of further education has serious consequences for today’s youth, who can’t just head to a factory to get a job the way their parents could have, he said. Automation has eliminated many of those jobs, and the only ones left “are the ones their bosses used to do,” said Mr. Carnevale. By integrating academic and skills training, “we’re providing the missing middle in American higher education.”

Among 2012 high-school graduates who didn’t enroll in college the following year, only 45 percent found work of any kind, the report notes, and only half of those jobs were full time.

Contributing to the problem is the “disengagement of American businesses” from the task of educating the next generation of workers, said Nancy Hoffman, a vice president and senior adviser at Jobs for the Future and the author of the state-progress report.

Early-college high schools, which allow students to start earning college credits while they’re in high school, are one way to provide momentum, she said.

Companies like IBM are struggling to fill jobs when many applicants come straight from high school and are underqualified, or have Ph.D.’s and are overqualified, said Maura Banta, director of citizenship initiatives in education for IBM. Businesses need to be more actively involved in providing mentors and internships to help cultivate more qualified workers, said Ms. Banta, who is also chair of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Darrell Steinberg, president pro tempore of the California State Senate, said he had helped secure $500-million over two years for a “career-pathways trust” that seeks to re-engineer the state’s high schools to make education more relevant to the needs of regional businesses.