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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Visits Silicon Valley to Highlight Administration Support for Innovation Economy

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Innovation is the key driver of U.S. economic competitiveness and job creation. That is why it is a key pillar of the Department of Commerce’s innovation agenda. On Monday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker made her first trip as Secretary to Silicon Valley to advance the Obama Administration’s efforts to encourage innovation.

Secretary Pritzker made her first stop in Sunnyvale at the Plug and Play Tech Center, a business accelerator for tech startups. After touring Plug and Play, Secretary Pritzker delivered remarks at an event hosted by the Churchill Club, highlighting the Administration’s commitment to spurring U.S. economic growth, innovation, and competitiveness. She described the Commerce Department’s work to invest in digital infrastructure, strengthen intellectual property protections, and support advanced manufacturing, among other initiatives.

Secretary Pritzker also announced two new Commerce efforts to unleash more federal data for entrepreneurs and businesses, which are being spearheaded by the Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Census Bureau. NOAA has released a Request for Information to explore the feasibility of a public-private partnership to release more of the 20 terabytes of environmental and weather data that the agency collects each day. And the Census Explorer, an interactive map of demographics, is adding new tech workforce and payroll data, which will allow employers to see where the workers they need are living.

Noting the significant progress that the Administration has made to support science and technology, she even detailed how President Obama has done more for innovation than any other American President. “Simply put, I believe that President Obama has done more for innovation than any other President in history.”

After her remarks, Secretary Pritzker participated in an open conversation with LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, during which she expressed her desire to serve as a bridge between the Obama Administration and the business community. They also discussed Secretary Pritzker’s work to address long-term unemployment and the need to work collaboratively with the business community to help workers acquire the skills needed to do 21st century jobs.

Following the event at Plug and Play, Secretary Pritzker met with executives at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park and took a tour of the company’s offices. They discussed the factors driving growth and investment in the technology sector, and what needs to be done to expand access to overseas markets.

Secretary Pritzker is not the only Commerce leader in Silicon Valley this week. In fact, a whole Commerce team joined the Secretary, including Pat Gallagher, Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology; Larry Strickling, Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration; Michelle Lee, Deputy Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; and Joe Klimavicz, CIO of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. These individuals and many others at the Department work hard to help create the conditions that make innovation possible.

Today, Secretary Pritzker continues her visit to Silicon Valley at a breakfast with business leaders to discuss issues facing the tech industry. Later today, she will also meet with executives from Google, eBay and PayPal.

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