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April/May 2010 – Web Exclusive

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Superconductivity Research Gets Super-Funded

The University of Houston’s Texas Center for Superconductivity (TcSUH) has been awarded a $3.5 million grant from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund to boost superconductivity research.

“The University of Houston is a worldwide leader in superconductivity technology, and this grant will help expand their research capabilities while encouraging the commercialization of this promising technology,” says Gov. Rick Perry.

The grant will be used over five years to establish TcSUH’s Applied Research Hub, expanding the University of Houston’s role in superconductivity, which began with Professor Paul C. W. Chu’s 1987 discovery of the yttrium barium copper oxide family of superconductors, commonly called YBCO.

Superconductors are materials that can, at very low temperatures, conduct electricity with essentially no resistance. They’re useful for a variety of technologies including those related to energy, medical equipment, industrial processes, communications and transportation. The research hub hopes to develop and commercialize a second-generation superconducting wire that would improve the efficiency, security, stability and environmental compatibility of the electric power grid.

(Tracey Lamphere)

Houston Loses Construction Jobs

According to a report from the Associated General Contractors of America, the number of construction jobs in the Houston/Sugar Land/ Baytown area fell from 203,900 in December 2008 to 178,400 jobs in December 2009, a 13 percent fall. In all, the metro area lost 25,500 construction jobs over the period, more than any other metropolitan area in the nation.

While Houston had the largest total job loss in the construction sector, other metro areas had higher percentage decreases, according to the association. Only four of 337 U.S. cities added construction jobs in 2009.

Construction job losses reflect the downturn in building permits issued in the Houston area. The Greater Houston Partnership, which tracks economic data for the region, reported that the total number of permits fell by 35.2 percent in 2009, while the number of new non- residential and residential building permits fell by 43.5 percent and 51.5 percent respectively.

(Tracey Lamphere)

A Boost for Nursing Programs

Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas Inc. (MHM) has awarded a $3.9 million grant to the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio to launch three nursing degree programs.

“We found that many more children were taking high-level math and science courses in school with the intention of going into the healthcare field, but there were not enough slots available,” says Kevin C. Moriarty, MHM president and CEO. Investing in local nursing programs to meet that demand just makes sense, he says.

The new degree programs – an accelerated bachelor’s degree, an accelerated online master’s degree and a doctorate in nursing practice (DNP) – also will help the growing demand for registered nurses.

According to labor market information, the number of registered nursing jobs in the San Antonio region is expected

The accelerated bachelor’s degree in nursing, which is scheduled to begin in May with a class of 70 students, is for people who already have a degree in another field. The online master’s degree program, which begins January 2011 with 46 students, is for those who already have a nursing associate’s degree. The doctorate program is aimed at producing highly educated clinical nursing specialists, executive leaders and clinical faculty members. The DNP program will begin in January 2011 with 10 students.

Learn more about the School of Nursing at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.

(Tracey Lamphere)

Moviemakers Love Austin

Austin is one of the nation’s best cities for the film industry, according to a recent ranking by MovieMaker magazine.

The trade publication moved Austin to the No. 5 spot for 2010, up from 10th place in 2009. The state capital has been on the list for 10 consecutive years.

MovieMaker praised Austin for its film community, local crew base and the full-fledged support of city and state officials.

“This is an award that is well deserved for Austin,” says Gary Bond of the Austin Film Commission. “The film community has worked hard to increase amenities and services for filmmakers working in the area. With incredible cooperation between the Austin Film Festival, Austin Film Society, Austin Studios and South by Southwest, we’re able to get the word out about just how vibrant a film city Austin is.”

Bond also credited the city’s expansive repertoire of film festivals, citing Fantastic Fest and the Austin Asian American Film Festival among the events that keep Austin on the map with filmmakers.

Albuquerque ranked at the top of MovieMaker’s list, followed by Los Angeles, Shreveport, La., and New York City.

(Karen Hudgins)

Hillwood Tops Among
Trade Zones

The U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones Board named Hillwood’s Alliance Global Logistics Hub as the nation’s top foreign trade zone for the third consecutive year.

Foreign trade zones are special areas in which foreign goods can be imported and processed without paying U.S. customs duties, to encourage economic development.

In fiscal 2008, $5.4 billion in foreign-made products passed through the Fort Worth-area foreign trade zone, eclipsing the $4 billion admitted through the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which came in second.

Hillwood officials expect the value of products passing through the zone to grow. Companies including Motorola, Lego and Hyundai occupy the site.

For more information on foreign trade zones, visit International Trade Adminstration.

(Tracey Lamphere)

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