Why America Needs an Arctic Ambassador

New legislation would help America protect important interests in the Arctic.

New government data finds that the amount of Arctic sea ice this year is at its lowest level ever – another possible indicator of climate change and rising sea levels around the world.

The accelerating melt also poses another risk: a potential global battle – that America may be ill-equipped to win – for the vast natural resources once buried under the now-disappearing Arctic ice.

Continued at the Washington Monthly…

In Kentucky, Angel Investor Tax Credits Woo Small Business Investors

The state’s expanded credit is now among the more generous incentives nationwide.

Eric Ostertag is the kind of entrepreneur states love.

A physician with a doctorate in molecular biology, Ostertag has launched three ventures: Transposagen, a genetic engineering company; Vindico Pharmaceuticals, which specializes in nanotechnology; and Hera Testing Laboratories, Inc., another biotechnology firm.

The companies began in Philadelphia, but all three are now based in Lexington, Kentucky. The state offered Ostertag a matching grant for high-tech companies that win federal Small Business Innovation Research awards. “I moved my companies because of the incentives,” Ostertag said.

Now the state is offering Ostertag’s investors an incentive too: a generous new tax credit for “angel” investors who invest in Kentucky-based small businesses.

Continued at Republic 3.0…

Are Apprenticeships the Answer for Struggling Millennials?

German-style apprenticeships are gaining momentum as a way to help America’s young workers.

In America, the rite of passage that comes with turning 16 is to get a drivers’ license. In Germany, it’s to become an apprentice.

Since the 1970s, nearly two out of three young Germans opt at age 16 to enter the country’s apprenticeship system, which covers roughly 350 different occupations from mechanics to hairdressers, electricians to office workers.

Continued at Republic 3.0 and UPS Longitudes…

Online Learning Goes the Distance

Why the future of college will be online.

Over the past ten years, online education has become an increasingly mainstream part of the higher education landscape.

Since 2002 – when roughly 1.6 million college students had taken at least one course online – enrollment in online education has more than tripled. Nearly three-fourths of all four-year colleges now offer online classes, including at elite schools, and the vast majority of public two-year colleges now offer online coursework as well.

Casual observers may equate online education with the free open online classes that some schools, along with high-profile startups such as Coursera, have offered with much fanfare (so-called “massive open line courses” or “MOOCs”). But the growing ubiquity of online education is tied to its evolution in a wide variety of formats and contexts, including classes that “blend” online coursework with traditional classroom settings and a growing role in workforce training and development.

Continued at the Washington Monthly…

Can Boomers and Millennials Save America’s Start-Up Engine?

The Kauffman Foundation’s Jason Wiens talks about how these two demographic groups will chart the future course of entrepreneurship.

Unemployment rates are dropping, consumer confidence is growing, and the economy is finally picking up steam.

Yet there’s a soft spot in the nascent recovery: the rate of new business creation.

Even before the onset of the Great Recession, reports the Kauffman Foundation, American entrepreneurship has been declining.

But the Kauffman Foundation also argues that two groups of Americans – the Baby Boomers and the Millennials – could potentially reverse this trend. Together, the Boomers and the Millennials include nearly 140 million Americans.

Continued at GE Ideas Reports and Republic 3.0

Maryland’s International Incubator Woos Foreign Startups

Maryland’s state-sponsored “International Incubator” woos foreign investment by helping entrepreneurs get their start.

If you’re a foreign entrepreneur looking to break into the U.S. market, the State of Maryland wants to help.

On the third floor of a nondescript office building perched on a busy commercial strip in College Park, Maryland, foreign-owned start-ups can get a boost at the Maryland International Incubator, a first-of-its-kind incubator focused exclusively on foreign companies settling in the United States.

Since its start in 2009, the incubator – a partnership between the University of Maryland and Maryland state officials – has helped launch more than 30 foreign-owned ventures in the state.

Continued at Republic 3.0…

A Unique Teacher Residency Transforms Both Teaching and Learning

The Center for Inspired Teaching’s innovative model boosts both teacher retention and student performance.

On a sunny July morning at Washington, D.C.’s Capital City Public Charter School, 30 aspiring teachers sit cross-legged in small clusters on the floor of a brightly decorated classroom. Music plays softly from classroom speakers.

This is not your traditional teacher preparation program. Instead of textbooks and quizzes, teaching fellows will step into a classroom as “residents” working with experienced teachers.

Today is day three in an intensive, three-week long teacher training seminar. Moderator Monisha Karnani has asked the groups to share their best experiences as students and to write on Post-It notes what made their teachers memorable.

The Post-Its pile up quickly: “Engaging.” “Cares about students.” “Helps overcome obstacles.” “He made history fun,” one woman tells her group. “I was having a hard time in class, and he helped me through it.”

The 30 members of this group are fellows with Center for Inspired Teaching, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit founded in 1995 that’s long been on the leading edge of transforming how both teachers and students are taught.

This is not your traditional teacher preparation program.

Continued at Republic 3.0…

The Invention of Index Funds and the Growth of the Middle Class

The S&P® 500 is a household name. But few Americans may realize its profound impact on how Americans build wealth.

If you own a 401(k) retirement savings account or are entitled to a pension from your company, the odds are high that your portfolio or company’s pension fund includes shares in an “index fund.”

Index funds “track” a particular index – such as the S&P 500® – by holding stocks that mirror the makeup of the index. Since their invention in the mid-1970s, index funds have become popular investments for Americans looking for a relatively low-risk, inexpensive way to invest in the market.

Among the best known index funds, for example, are the Vanguard 500, which was the world’s first index mutual fund and still among the world’s largest, and the SPDR® S&P500® – an “exchange-traded fund” (ETF) that trades like a stock.

But what made these investment products possible is the invention of the index itself. In 1923, Standard Statistics (now Standard & Poor’s) published its first stock market index, which covered 233 U.S. companies and was computed weekly. Today, S&P publishes one million different indices, including the S&P 500®. Other countries have also developed their own benchmark indices, such as the Nikkei Index in Japan and the British FTSE 100.

Alex Matturri, Chief Executive Officer of S&P Dow Jones Indices, argues that the concept of indexing is a transformational innovation in the history of finance. Indexed investment products, he says, opened up the stock market to ordinary Americans and “democratized” opportunities to build wealth. According to Matturri, index funds now account for about 12 percent – or more than $2 trillion – of the value of the publicly traded companies in the S&P 500®.

Continued at Republic 3.0…