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Walton Family Foundation: With Room to Grow, Heartland States Lag behind Coastal States in the Innovation Economy

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-Minnesota Top-Ranked Heartland State; Arkansas Most In Need of
Investment-

With innovation as a linchpin to growth in today's economy, the Walton
Family Foundation released new rankings of the Heartland states'
participation and preparedness in the innovation economy. Of the 19
Heartland States, Minnesota ranked highest in the measurement, whereas
Arkansas ranked last. Read
the research here
.

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The Walton Family Foundation released new research ranking the 19 American Heartland states on their ...

The Walton Family Foundation released new research ranking the 19 American Heartland states on their preparedness and participation in the innovation economy, with Minnesota ranking at the top and Arkansas in need of more investment. Source: Milken Institute

"Innovation is the connective tissue needed to economically compete and
thrive at the local and state levels," said Ross DeVol, lead researcher
and a Fellow at the Walton Family Foundation. "Our research shows that
technology and innovation is absolutely necessary for communities to
thrive and have outlined strengths and weaknesses as well as mapped out
ways to close the economic gap between the Heartland and the coastal
states. Investing more in Science, Technology, Education and
Mathematical (STEM) occupations and creating more post-secondary
graduates are critical policy areas."

DeVol used the State Technology and Science Index (STSI), which he
helped create at the Milken Institute and the Information Technology &
Innovation Foundation's (ITIF) State New Economy Index to augment the
rankings. The STSI measures states' participation and preparedness in
the innovation economy through several key indicators, including:
Research and Development Inputs; Risk Capital and Entrepreneurial
Infrastructure; Human Capital Investment; Technology and Science
Workforce; and Technology Concentration & Dynamism.

DeVol's recent research defined the New American Heartland based on the
four U.S. Census Bureau's regions and includes the East North Central
(Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin); West North Central
(Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota and North
Dakota); East South Central (Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and
Mississippi); and West South Central (Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana).

DeVol's research is part of a one-year tenure at the foundation, where
he will assess opportunities for regional innovation ecosystems that
foster job creation, wage gains and economic growth for Middle America
residents. Learn
more about DeVol here
.

About the Walton Family Foundation

The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation.
The children and grandchildren of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton,
lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and
communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education,
protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and
investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the
Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. In 2017, the foundation awarded more than
$535 million in grants in support of these initiatives.

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