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Blog Entries from November 2011

Executive Fleet Vehicles

On May 24, 2011, the President issued a Presidential Memorandum on Federal Fleet Performance. Furthering the Administration's goals to cut oil imports by one-third by 2025 and to put one million advanced vehicles on the road by 2015, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum today directing agencies to implement governmentwide fleet management practices that will ensure the Federal Government is leading by example in fuel efficiency and innovative technology.

The Memorandum required that within 180 days of the date of the Presidential Memorandum, any executive fleet vehicles that are larger than a midsize sedan or do not comply with alternative fueled vehicle requirements must be disclosed on agency websites.

Below is the Department of Commerce list as of Dec. 1, 2014:

Boston MBDA Business Center Opens to Assist Minority Businesses

Dr. Frederick McKinney, President & CEO, Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and MBDA National Director David Hinson

On Tuesday, David A. Hinson, National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) joined legislators, dignitaries, and business owners in celebrating the opening of the new MBDA Business Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

The new center will receive a five-year $1,375,000 federal grant from MBDA to operate in the Boston area to assist minority businesses to successfully compete globally and domestically, and to gain access to contracts, capital and markets. The center will be operated by the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council (GNEMSDC).

PEC Commends Administration Progress on Trade

Burns, Bryson and McNerney

Today, Secretary John Bryson met with members of the President’s Export Council (PEC) to discuss a number of issues, including workforce readiness, export control reform, and Middle East/North Africa commercial engagement.  In addition, Secretary Bryson, along with other Cabinet members and Senior White House officials, provided updates on the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings, Trans-Pacific Partnerhsip Agreement and Russia WTO Accession.  In response to such updates, the private-sector members of the PEC issued the  following statement and recommendations regarding the administration’s progress on the international trade agenda.

Dr. Rebecca Blank Testifies Before Senate Committee on Nomination

Blank with microphone before the audience (Photo: NOAA)

Acting Deputy Secretary Dr. Rebecca Blank testified yesterday before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on her nomination to be Deputy Secretary of Commerce. Dr. Blank addressed her goals that, if confirmed, include initiatives to support American businesses and job creation, increasing efficiency and retaining a skilled and motivated workforce.

She is currently the Acting Deputy Secretary where she is focused on matters of management and policy for the department’s 12 bureaus, functioning as Commerce’s chief operating officer. Since 2009 Dr. Blank has served as the Secretary's principal economic adviser as Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, overseeing the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. From August 2011 through October 2011, between the end of Secretary Gary Locke’s tenure and the beginning of Secretary John Bryson’s term, Blank served as Acting Secretary of Commerce. During that time, she worked to promote the Obama administration’s efforts to improve the economy.  Biography

Secretary Bryson Meets With Key Business and Industry Groups

Secretary Bryson with key business leaders (Photo: U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

Today Secretary Bryson attended three meetings with key businesses and industry groups. In the morning, Bryson met with trade association leaders to discuss their top priorities and challenges and how the Commerce Department can help their member businesses grow and succeed.   

After that meeting, Bryson met with the Business Roundtable (BRT) Executive Committee to discuss the issues affecting their membership and how Commerce can help their companies grow and succeed. BRT is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with over $6 trillion in annual revenues and more than 14 million employees.

Bryson finished the day at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Two days prior to heading to China to meet with the American and Chinese business communities and participate in annual trade talks, Bryson participated in a roundtable discussion with U.S. and Chinese CEOs, as well as former government leaders, at the annual meeting of the Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-China CEO Dialogue. The Dialogue is co-chaired by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue, and the China Center for International Economic Exchanges Chairman and former Chinese Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan.

Census Bureau Reports Mover Rate Reaches Record Low

Chart Depicting Geographic Mobility

The U.S. Census Bureau reported today the percentage of people who changed residences between 2010 and 2011 was 11.6 percent, the lowest recorded rate since the Current Population Survey began collecting statistics on the movement of people in the United States in 1948. The rate, which was 20.2 percent in 1985, declined to a then-record low of 11.9 percent in 2008 before rising to 12.5 percent in 2009. The 2010 rate was not statistically different than the 2009 rate.

“Taken together, these products paint a vivid picture of a nation on the move and tell a more complete story than any one of them can separately,” said Alison Fields, chief of the Census Bureau's Journey-to-Work and Migration Statistics Branch. “The record low mover rate was driven by a drop in the likelihood of people moving from one location to another within the same county. The last time this rate was so low, the overall mover rate also reached a record low.”

Secretary John Bryson ceremonially sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden

Secretary of Commerce John Bryson shakes hands with Vice President Joe Biden

Yesterday afternoon, Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially swore in John Bryson as the Secretary of Commerce. The ceremony took place in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

At the end of October, the Senate confirmed John Bryson to head the U.S. Department of Commerce by a 74-26 vote, with 21 Republicans and two independents joining all the Democrats in support.

Before assuming his position as commerce secretary, he was the Chief Executive Officer of Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison and Edison Mission Group, for almost 18 years, where he led the company through times of both opportunities and crisis.

Learn more about John Bryson.

Commerce Secretary Bryson Announces Grant to Stimulate Job Growth and Business Development

Photo of Harris Corporation

U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson today announced a $2.8 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to the city of Palm Bay, Fla., to make critical roadway infrastructure improvements needed to help a major local employer expand its operations. The project is expected to create 180 jobs and generate $100 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

“The Obama administration is committed to helping stimulate job growth and business development,” Bryson said. “This grant will fund vital infrastructure in the community and help bring high-quality jobs and economic growth to Palm Bay.”

Putting Americans back to work is President Obama’s top priority. His American Jobs Act would put more money in the pockets of American families and do so without adding a dime to the deficit. In Florida, 410,000 firms would receive a payroll tax cut under the American Jobs Act, and a typical household in Florida, with a median income of around $46,000, would receive a tax cut of around $1,430.  Release

Commerce Veteran Hiring at 16-Year High

Alternate Text

Commerce is proud to announce that in the last year, veteran hiring reached a 16-year high, raising the total representation of veteran new hires to 12.5 percent.

Two years ago, on November 9, 2009, President Barack Obama issued Executive Order 13518: Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government. This Executive order charged all Cabinet-level departments with establishing a Veterans Employment Office, developing an operational plan, and providing mandatory annual training to hiring managers and senior human resources practitioners on veterans preferences and special appointing authorities for veterans.

In response to the President’s Executive Order, Commerce hired Sean Lenahan, former U.S. Coast Guard officer, as their Veterans Employment Program Manager to head the Veterans Employment Team and lead all Department-level veterans hiring initiatives. The Department’s Veterans Employment Team consists of members from the Census Bureau, the Patent and Trademark Office, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

“Our Veterans Employment Team has worked tirelessly to enhance employment opportunities for veterans throughout the Department,” said Bill Fleming, Director of Human Resources, Department of Commerce.  Mr. Fleming, a U.S. Army veteran, is one of the many veterans that hold key senior leadership positions within the Department.  Michael Phelps, Director, Office of the Budget, and Barry Berkowitz, Director, Office of Acquisition Management, are both highly decorated, retired officers of the U.S. Air Force.

Highlighting Opportunities in India’s Renewable Energy Market

Sanchez on podium (video image)

Guest blog post by Francisco J. Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Secretary, Department of Commerce

India has a bright future in solar energy.

Its renewable energy market is currently valued at $17 billion dollars, and is growing at an annual rate of 15 percent.  And remarkably, there is potential for even bigger things.

According to one estimate, to keep economic growth at current levels, India will need to add 150 gigawatts of capacity over the next five years. Clearly, there is both a market and a need for clean energy in India.  And, U.S. companies have the technology and products to meet these needs and help spur economic development. 

It’s a natural partnership.  

That’s why, yesterday, during my keynote speech at SOLARCON India 2011, I urged all parties to consider new partnerships with each other so that we can build a clean future together.  

Hosted in the city of Hyderabad, the trade event brought together a wide-range of business leaders, academics and government officials to exchange ideas about the clean energy sector. Although estimates about the attendance are unavailable at this time, just last year, it drew over 4,000 people from over 30 countries.    

This year, there was incredible energy and excitement in the air. For U.S. firms, India’s solar market represents a huge opportunity to get involved in a booming sector in a growing market, resulting in thousands, if not millions, of jobs for people in both countries.