ISSUE 239 | January 11, 2024

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From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News

Borough Receives Loan for Infrastructure Improvements

Exeter Borough has just received an $8.7 million loan to overhaul its sewer system, which has plagued residents with overflow for the last 40 years.

The loan, granted by the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program, is expected to take one year to complete, will help address spillage as well as road problems resulting from runoff.

The funding is also going to cover road repairs across Route 11. 

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PA to Begin Using Artificial Intelligence


Pennsylvania has partnered with OpenAI, becoming one of the first states in the nation to use artificial intelligence in its operations.

This program, adapted by the creators of ChatGPT, will be used for copyediting, drafting job descriptions, and updating documents.

OpenAI also implements additional security measures to protect against hacking and other security breaches. 

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Local Libraries Will Benefit from Funding Increase

New funding totaling $70 million has been allocated to support local libraries in this year’s budget.

Libraries have shown to be valuable community components, providing free access to education, technology, and other supports.

The funding will go directly to local library systems across the state and provide residents with access to several key resource center libraries.

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From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News

CHIPS and Science Act Presents Landmark Workforce Opportunity


The CHIPS and Science Act, originally established as an industrial strategy incentive program, can also be used to stimulate the workforce and open new industrial opportunities.

A recent Brookings report highlights the measure's overlooked yet valuable potential to spark innovation.

By using the CHIPS and Science Act, the U.S. could create up to 3.8 million STEM jobs by 2030, while addressing issues such as gender disparities, lack of funding, and other obstacles to advanced industry growth.


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USDA Program Aims to Assist Historically Underserved Farmers


The Biden administration is spending $3.1 billion on the Climate-Smart Commodities Program, a new series of grants that target Black and other minority farming communities.

The goals of this program are to help farmers and ranchers reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon in the ground, while repairing centuries of systemic discrimination by the USDA against Black, Native and other "historically underserved" farmers.

The historical preference against underserved farmers has jeopardized trust on the part of the farmers, and ensuring their awareness of the available support must be considered as part of the program's equity goals.

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Tax Credits Could Spark Progress Toward Hydrogen Economy

New rules enacted by the Department of Treasury will dictate how clean energy plants can qualify for subsidies under the Inflation Reduction Act.

The rules follow the establishment of several hydrogen hubs, two of which include operations in Pennsylvania.

This legislation does face some backlash from organizations such as the American Petroleum Institute, who say that the rules are too rigid for fair operation. 

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