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Jobs of the Future Today

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Guest blog post by John Fernandez, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is investing to create the jobs of the future today. 

In Fresno, California, for example, EDA provided $1.9 million to help the Central Valley Business Incubator, Inc. (CVBI) build the Claude Laval Water and Energy Technology (WET) Incubator located on the campus of Cal State Fresno.  This vital incubator provides start-ups access to active research within the university’s labs and state of the art facilities to advance cutting edge research in the use of water to support the agricultural sector while helping grow small businesses.

Since opening their doors four years ago in 2007, WET has helped create and sustain over 15 start-ups that are developing water and energy technology innovations. They are generating real returns, creating hundreds of new jobs for Central Californians and spurring $17 million in private sector investment to help fuel the nation’s economy. One of WET’s graduates recently sold its business for $30 million.

Startups and entrepreneurs like these bring an unparalleled wealth of transformative innovations to market, especially over the past three decades — think of everything from the airplane to the automobile to Amazon.com.  These small businesses are tackling the nation’s challenges in clean energy, medicine, national security, and other fields. They will build the leading industries and jobs of the 21st century.

As the nation’s economy recovers, the Obama Administration has taken decisive action to accelerate growth and remove barriers for entities, such as WET, to create the jobs of the future.

Supporting a culture that is conducive to entrepreneurship and startups is a core component of the President’s National Innovation Strategy for achieving sustainable growth and quality jobs, particularly in the growing green sector.

Recently, the Brookings Institution, in collaboration with Battelle’s Technology Partnership Practice, released a report entitled “Sizing the Clean Economy: A National and Regional Green Jobs Assessment,” which provides an encouraging and challenging assessment of the green economy and green jobs.

The report is an important resource as we work to create the industries and jobs of the future and invest in the wet labs, technology parks and incubators that are working to solve some of the toughest challenges we face as a nation.

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