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Blog Category: Economic Development Administration

Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration Invests in Advanced Manufacturing in the Midwest

The Economic Development Administration today awarded $2 million to the Council on Competitiveness, a non-partisan group of CEOs, university presidents and labor leaders that works to advance economic prosperity – to help small- and medium-sized manufacturers in the Midwest compete in the 21st century global economy. The grant will be matched by $2.5 million from private-sector partners and help to catalyze development of state-of-the-art technologies that accelerate the design process, allowing small- and medium-sized companies to become more competitive.

With the funding, the Council on Competitiveness will form the new National Digital Engineering and Manufacturing Consortium, which will develop software, purchase time on supercomputers, and train small- and medium-sized manufacturers in the use of this technology, enabling them to design their own advanced manufacturing processes and products. This will be done in close collaboration with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers of these companies, thus ensuring that this cutting-edge technology will help both OEMs and their supply-chain partners in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.

“As U.S. manufacturers work to keep their competitive edge, government and the private sector are working together to foster a vibrant advanced manufacturing sector in the United States,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez. “This important public-private partnership to strengthen manufacturing in the Midwest is an example of the type of investment that can help America win the future by out-innovating and out-competing the rest of the world.”

Today’s announcement was made at a meeting with small business and manufacturing leaders at the White House with Fernandez, Assistant to the President for Manufacturing Policy Ron Bloom, and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra. The new public-private partnership was formalized with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in support of the project. |  Press release

Build It Here: American Manufacturing

During the course of our economic recovery since the end of the Great Recession in 2009, domestic manufacturing has been a star. In the past, manufacturing output and job growth have typically lagged behind the economy’s overall recovery in the United States. But this time, manufacturing has led the way.

Manufacturing activity expanded in January at its fastest pace in seven years, recording its 18th month of growth, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s January manufacturing index. As Commerce Department Chief Economist Mark Doms noted recently in his new blog, manufacturing jobs are associated with relatively high wages, hence the commonly used phrase “good jobs” in reference to those created in the industry.

In the video below, U.S. companies from a wide range of industries from health care to plastics talk about why they manufacture their goods in America. The United States offers a highly educated workforce, strong intellectual property protections, and a business climate that supports and encourages innovation. For ET Water, Labcon, Supracor and others, manufacturing in America just makes smart business sense.

See video

Startup America Kickoff at the White House

Secretary Locke participated in the White House launch of the “Startup America” initiative today in Washington, D.C. with U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills, Director of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors Austan Goolsbee, and a number of America’s top entrepreneurs and business leaders.

“Startup America” is a national campaign to promote high-growth entrepreneurship across the country with new initiatives to help encourage private sector investment in job-creating startups and small firms, accelerate breakthrough research, and address barriers to success for entrepreneurs and small businesses. The launch follows President Obama’s State of the Union commitment to winning the future by out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building the rest of the world.

To support this effort, the Department of Commerce plans to build on the success of last year’s inaugural i6 Challenge with i6 Green, a second competition this year focused on both regional economic development and environmental sustainability. The program aims to accelerate technology-led economic development in pursuit of a vibrant, innovative clean economy. The department is also developing the Three Track program at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which would give innovators more control over application processing and support a more efficient market for innovation.  

Today’s event was one of a number of events the White House will hold this week to focus on innovation and how we can create the jobs and industries of the future by investing in the creativity and imagination of the American people. Learn more about Startup America by viewing the complete fact sheet, and learn about the independent and private-sector led campaign to mobilize private-sector commitments at Startup America Partnerships.  |  Remarks

Laying a Foundation to Double Our Exports, Increase Competitiveness

Today Secretary Locke wrote an op-ed posted in The Hill with a focus on how the administration and the Commerce Department are working to increase America's global competitiveness and create U.S. jobs by selling more American-made goods and services around the world.

Cross posted at The Hill

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As 2011 begins, the American economy is stronger than at any time since the Great Recession began in December 2007.

Retail sales just had their strongest quarterly gain since 2001. Private sector employment grew every single month in 2010, with the manufacturing sector posting its first increase in annual employment since 1997.

These are strong indications that the steps President Obama took to foster economic recovery are working — beginning with the Recovery Act and continuing through the December 2010 tax-cut package.

But that’s not to suggest that anyone within the administration or the Commerce Department is satisfied — not with unemployment still over 9 percent.

As we move forward, policymakers should remember that the most important contest is not between Democrats and Republicans, but between America and countries around the world that are competing like never before for the jobs and industries of the future.

Making the U.S. more competitive will require us to focus on two things: supercharging innovation and selling more American-made goods and services around the world, so that U.S. firms can hire more workers and reinvest in the research and development they need to keep growing.

Although the private sector will take the lead on innovation, we can’t forget that the government has always had an important, supportive role to play, and the Commerce Department is engaged in a variety of areas.

Commerce Department Invests $4.4 Million in Green Energy Growth in Southern Idaho

This week the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced a $4.4 million grant to the College of Southern Idaho (CSI) in Twin Falls to help build an Applied Technology and Innovation Center that will provide training for local technicians in wind, solar, hydro and geothermal energy; green construction; and the biofuel industry.

Driving the demand for skilled employees in green energy are recent energy development projects in the region, including the construction of more than 450 wind turbines, the development of the Raft River geothermal electrical power project, and the planned installation of a 150,000 panel solar energy array.

The Center will be a 29,600-square-foot, high-technology LEED certified facility located on CSI’s campus that will help CSI meet the ever-increasing demand for a trained workforce to fill the region’s jobs in alternative energy and applied industrial mechanics.  The building will have green energy components such as exposed mechanical systems, measurement and verification equipment, solar photovoltaic and wind energy components, day lighting, natural ventilation, and geothermal heat.

The grant is one of many investments EDA makes in support of regional competitiveness and growth. The agency focuses on economically distressed communities to help create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.  EDA Release

Secretary Locke Delivers Remarks at CES to Highlight Administration’s Efforts to Promote Innovation, U.S. Exports

Locke at booth inspecting new devices and equipment

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) today, where he delivered remarks on the Obama administration’s efforts to foster innovation and the President’s National Export Initiative (NEI), which seeks to double U.S. exports by 2015, supporting several million American jobs. 

Locke also discussed Commerce’s International Buyer Program (IBP), a key component of the Department’s export promotion effort. The IBP matches international buyers with U.S. companies that want to export. The Program recruited 34 delegations, consisting of 700 delegates from key markets such as China, Brazil, Vietnam, and Indonesia, to this year’s show – an increase of over 30 percent from the 2010 show.

During the CES, Locke also visited the booths of some small- and medium-sized businesses that have increased their sales to foreign markets with the help of the Commerce Department.

The CES is an annual event hosted by the Consumer Electronics Association, the preeminent trade association that represents more than 2,000 businesses to promote growth in the consumer technology industry.  This year’s CES has more than 2,500 small- and medium-sized businesses showcasing their products and services, as well as presentations by key industry leaders, such as Microsoft, Ford and Verizon.  Remarks

What the America COMPETES Act Means for the Department of Commerce

This week, President Obama signed the America COMPETES Act, signifying the importance of science, education and technology to America’s ability to innovate and remain competitive in the 21st century. The America COMPETES Act reauthorizes spending across the federal government on a variety of programs at agencies like the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and here at the Department of Commerce.

The act authorizes our National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to receive funding that would double its core science and technology budget by 2017, and elevates the position of the director of NIST to include the additional title of Under Secretary for Standards and Technology. It better equips our National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to conduct cutting-edge research and further innovation in oceanic and atmospheric technology development. And it establishes a new Regional Innovation Program to be administered by our Economic Development Administration that encourages and develops regional innovation strategies like clusters and science and research parks that help businesses grow and take advantage of regional strengths. Finally, the new legislation reaffirms the mission of our Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship – first announced in September 2009 – which works to unleash and maximize the economic potential of new ideas by more quickly moving them from the research lab to the marketplace.

This renewed commitment to science, education and technology illustrated through bipartisan Congressional support for the America COMPETES Act will greatly benefit the work done at the U.S. Commerce Department, and help fuel U.S. job growth, economic development and global competitiveness. |  Locke statement | White House blog | NIST release

 

Commerce Department’s Clean Technology Trade & Investment Mission Moves to Brussels, Belgium

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Brian McGowan (right) meets with U.S. Ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman at the Ambassador’s residence during the U.S. Cleantech Trade and Investment Mission to Belgium.U.S. community and business delegates participating in the joint U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA)/International Trade Administration (ITA) Clean Technology Trade & Investment Mission moved on to Brussels, Belgium on Thursday after spending three very productive days exploring opportunities to increase exports and attract foreign direct investment in the United States while in Lyon, France at Pollutec, a tradeshow that featured the world's leading international exhibit for the environment and sustainable development markets. 

Upon arriving in Brussels, the delegation participated in a reception hosted by U.S. Ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman at the Ambassador’s residence.  The event, hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce Brussels (AmCham) and Xerox gave the delegates an opportunity to make important international connections with companies involved in the clean technology sector.

Ambassador Gutman; AmCham President Scot Beardsley; EDA Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Brian McGowan; and Xerox Director of Global Services Phillipe Janssens addressed the delegation during the function.

Commerce Department’s Clean Technology Trade & Investment Mission Kicks off in France

Community and Business Delegates of the EDA/ITA Clean Technology Trade and Investment Mission in Lyon, France, with U.S. Ambassador to France Charles Rivkin, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Brian McGowan.The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and International Trade Administration’s (ITA) Commercial Service kicked off its Clean Technology Trade & Investment Mission in Lyon, France, on Monday at Pollutec, a tradeshow that features the world's leading international exhibit for the environment and sustainable development markets. 

The Clean Technology Trade & Investment Mission brings together a mix of U.S. community delegates and businesses to explore overseas opportunities to increase U.S. exports and attract foreign direct investment to the United States, with a focus on advancing the green economy and creating jobs at home. The week-long trip will conclude in Brussels, Belgium, where the delegation will attend a U.S. Embassy reception, NATO cleantech roundtable, and other networking opportunities.

The mission supports President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which aims to help U.S. firms sell their goods and services abroad with a goal of doubling U.S. exports over the next five years in support of several million American jobs.

Click here to read the press release.

Commerce Department’s EDA Highlights West Coast Projects Supporting Regional Development and Innovation

i6 award winnersU.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez visited Portland, Ore., today to recognize the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) i6 Challenge winners from EDA’s Seattle region. The Oregon Translational Research & Drug Development Institute, the Oregon Nanoscience & Microtechnologies Institute, and the Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center are joining forces to create the first comprehensive innovation infrastructure – the Oregon Innovation Cluster – to address gaps in the commercialization continuum for three broad industry/technology clusters. The program is receiving $1 million through the i6 Challenge, which represents a key component of President Obama’s innovation strategy - to move great ideas from the lab to the marketplace to create jobs and economic growth. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced all the winners of the i6 Challenge from six different regions of the country in September.

Fernandez also highlighted two additional EDA investments today. In Portland, he announced a $1.267 million grant to Portland State University’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences to remodel and upgrade several on-campus science laboratories and train students for work in clean technology and other science-related industries.

In Vancouver, Wash., Fernandez toured the EDA-funded Vancouver Crescent Industrial Area, which received $3 million from EDA to provide roadway infrastructure needed to redevelop the area in support of research and development and small manufacturing companies.