Green “Economic Gardening” Innovation should be measured in several ways, all of Economic Gardening is a new approach within economic which are tied to education. The number of engineering development, focusing exclusively on home growing com- graduates as well as those with specific training in green or panies. It is an inside-out economic development strategy advanced manufacturing should be tracked, and the num- often executed as a partner with business attraction - the ber of “capstone” projects, representing the culmination of outside in strategy. an engineering education, that reach some level of imple- In RI, green economic gardening will have two applica- mentation should be tracked, with both metrics sharing a tions: accelerating existing high growth companies and target of continuous increase. Finally, while there are iso- starting new entrepreneurial companies. High-growth po- lated public school programs that address skills needed for tential companies are defined as having at least $1 million advanced manufacturing, there is no systemic curriculum. annual revenue. For high growth companies, Economic The alignment of state standards for K-12 education with Gardening mobilizes market intelligence and best prac- economic growth sectors should be tracked with a target of tices, connects growth companies together and fosters a 50 percent of middle schools offering hands-on curricula culture of entrepreneurship to help these companies grow in manufacturing engineering. rapidly to scale. For new entrepreneurs, Economic Garden- ing will map the resources of existing business develop- Policy External Conditions Immediate and Emerging - - - - v 1.0 ment services and mount a public campaign as a call for entrepreneurs to step up and start green companies. However, too many questions remain unanswered to commit to a major project that implements this approach. Rather, RIGEN members should continue to monitor this emerging approach and its applicability to Rhode Island. IV. Initiative-Specific Action Plans Thermoform packaging from Nelipak in Norway. Advanced Manufacturing Goals 1. Provide guidance on indicators for sustainable manu Manufacturing businesses seeking to grow the green facturing, developing and promoting standards that help economy in Rhode Island face many challenges. The manufacturers use existing indicators to improve environ current tax policy creates a general disincentive to growth, mental performance. and energy policies discourage the use or installation of 2. Identify promising sustainable manufacturing policies alternative energy generation, making up-front costs high that allow manufacturers and their suppliers and customers and the return far in the future. In addition, our native to innovate products and processes to improve sustainabil workforce lacks adequate training in advanced manufactur- ity, developing and promoting a set of best practices. ing to make rapid growth feasible without importing labor. 3. Build a common vision for sustainable manufacturing Rather than attracting new manufacturing operations, com- that unites manufacturers, suppliers, customers and com panies are leaving the state in search of better conditions, munities, developing and promoting shared metrics and hurting the state’s tax base. This, in turn, is creating some significant milestones. level of unrest in the taxpayer community. 4. Develop a common definition and a scoreboard. Workforce Training / Education In brief, the green economy lacks two crucial aspects of 5. Create a partnership between manufacturing and aca- workforce training and education: the educational process demia to increase learning and workforce development. and the workforce. Key Metrics for Five-Year Targets In a Rhode Island Manufacturing Extension Services Any measure of growth in advanced manufacturing must (RIMES) and Rhode Island Manufacturers Association rely on quantifiable performance measures that distinguish sponsored study of critical skills in Rhode Island manufac- advanced from traditional manufacturing. At present, no turing, problems with the education process are exposed, such data set is available. This roadmap includes a project as survey results indicate that 45 percent of manufacturers dedicated to resolving this issue. report finding entry level workers is getting more difficult. Advancing the Green Economy in Rhode Island 9
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