Middle Bit: Public universities have $11.8B impact on state economy

Iowa’s public universities provided $11.8 billion in additional income to the state economy in the 2017-18 budget year, according to a new study conducted by Idaho labor market analytics firm Emsi.

The economic impact report, commissioned by the Board of Regents and unveiled last week, found that Iowa public university activity supports nearly 150,000 jobs, or one in every 14 jobs in the state.

The University of Iowa in the 2017-18 budget year added $6.5 billion in income to the Iowa economy. That’s equal to 3.4 percent of the state’s total gross product and amounts to 81,073 jobs, according to the report.

Iowa State University in the 2017-18 year added $3.4 billion in income to Iowa’s economy, amounting to 1.8 percent of the state’s total gross product and supporting 42,640 jobs.

UNI added $1.6 billion to the Iowa economy, equal to nearly 1 percent of the state’s gross product or 21,979 jobs.

Click here to read the entire economic report.

New St. Luke lab allows staff to create healthcare inventions inside the hospital

St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids opened its new innovation lab on Thursday.

The “Generate Health Technology Fabrication Lab” in Cedar Rapids is MakerHealth’s third space like this in the country, and is the first in the Midwest.

If hospital staff have an idea that they think can help their care, they can brainstorm with a product engineer, then build their product with 3D printers, laser cutters and other technology.

Prior to the permanent lab opening, the hospital ran a similar operation through pop-up labs in empty rooms at the hospital. Through that, staff members created nearly 60 different projects, 11 of which are currently used at St. Luke’s and its clinics.

In addition to the lab at St. Luke’s Hospital, there will also be two smaller, satellite labs at Witwer Children’s Therapy in Cedar Rapids and Hiawatha.

Kirkwood STEAM Institute set for Nov. 25-26

Kirkwood Community College’s Workplace Learning Connection (WLC), a work-based learning program for middle school and high school students, has partnered with more than a dozen regional businesses and organizations to host the Johnson County STEAM Institute on Nov. 25-26.

The two-day event will provide seventh-grade students from Johnson, Benton, Cedar and Iowa counties a chance to learn about various opportunities in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) careers. More than 1,750 students are expected to take part in more than 5,000 unique STEAM experiences.

The experiences are designed to spark interest in middle school students and inspire them to pursue job shadows and internships while in high school. In recent years, WLC has experienced a spike in student job shadow and internship placement at local businesses. The organization attributes this growth to strong community partnerships and hands-on events like the STEAM Institute.

The event will be held 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa.