Texas: An In-Depth Look at the Southern States
The Southern states are thriving, thanks to entrepreneurs with innovative high-tech ideas, strong public and private investment, and enthusiastic support from state and local governments.
Mali R. Schantz-Feld (Southern Tech Sites 2007)
Texas is cultivating six specific industry clusters as part of Governor Rick Perry's long-term strategic job creation plan: advanced technology and manufacturing; aerospace and defense; biotechnology and life science; energy; information and computer technology; and petroleum refining and chemical products
According to the American Electronics Association's (AeA) Cyberstates 2007 report, Texas ranks second nationwide in the number of high-tech workers, in the size of high-tech payroll, and in the number of businesses. Texas ranked first nationally in computer training employment and second in engineering services jobs, computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing employment, and semiconductor manufacturing jobs.
Texas's high-tech industry is back on track after a national downturn in 2001. The AeA reports that the average tech industry wage in the Lone Star State pays 84 percent more than the average private sector wage, and high-tech venture capital investments rose by 28 percent in Texas in 2006.
The Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF), created by the State Legislature in 2005 at the governor's request, expedites the development and commercialization of new technologies and recruits research talent. The grants are applied to investments that will result in the creation of high-quality new jobs in the state if tied to emerging technology, or if the potential exists to result in a medical or scientific breakthrough. The $200 million TETF received renewed funding of $75 million in new general revenue. In addition to previous TETF balances and interest, more than $165 million will be available for 2008 and 2009.
In June, Governor Perry announced more than $1.3 million in awards to two emerging technology companies, Resonant Sensors Incorporated of Arlington and PrincipleSoft, Inc. of Plano. To date, the TETF has allocated $89.1 million in grant funds to Texas companies and universities. In addition, Photodigm, Inc. of Richardson was awarded $749,829 in May for further development of advanced laser technology which will result in more affordable and efficient laser systems for equipment used in communications, digital imaging, defense, and medical devices.
In March, the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) received $3.5 million in TETF grants to recruit Ravi Sandhu, Ph.D., a nationally recognized leader in cyber security. Dr. Sandhu will serve as founding executive director and chief scientist of the UTSA Institute for Cyber Security Research.