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Blog Category: Economic Development Administration

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. 

Commerce Department Continues Focus on Expanding Markets for U.S. Exports

Secretary Gary Locke will join President Obama in India this week, where they will work to deepen bilateral economic cooperation between the two countries on a regional and global level. Continuing to expand bilateral economic ties with India is an important step toward achieving the goals of the president’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports within the next five years in support of several million U.S. jobs.

While in Mumbai, Locke will participate in the U.S.-India Business and Entrepreneurship Summit. He will then travel to New Delhi, where he will give a keynote address at a Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the American Chamber of Commerce event.  In 2009, U.S. trade with India totaled $37.6 billion, and trade this year has already reached $32.4 billion through August.

Watch this video to hear from small business owners about their experiences partnering with the Department of Commerce.

Commerce's EDA Announces Winners of the Innovation in Economic Development Awards

U.S. EDA Innovation Awards 2010 logoU.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez today announced the winners of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) 2010 Innovation in Economic Development Awards during the Southeast Workforce and Economic Development Conference co-hosted by EDA and the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration. The recognition contest is in its 10th year.

"The 2010 Innovation Award winners showcase some of the nation’s best practices for promoting economic development through collaborative initiatives and highlight outstanding examples of regional success in the global marketplace," said Fernandez.  "I congratulate all the winners for their tremendous contributions to strengthen our nation's economy."

Formerly known as the Excellence Awards, this year's awards encompass four categories: Innovation in Regional Innovation Clusters (RICs); Innovation in Commercialization; Innovation in Global Export Promotion; Innovation in Green Technology. Winners included CONNECT, La Jolla, Calif.; Bluegrass Business Development Partnership (BBDP), Lexington, Ky.; Pennsylvania Center for Trade Development "Envoy Program," Harrisburg, Pa.; University of Arizona Tech Park's "Solar Zone"; Tucson, Ariz.  Release

Commerce Makes Comments Publicly Available on How Government Can Support the Advancement of Innovation and Technologies

Each year, the federal government makes substantial investments in research and development that takes place at our nation’s colleges and universities.  In 2008, federally funded university investments totaled over $31 billion.  Together with academia and the private sector, the Obama administration is working to support research and development and drive new innovations and technologies to market to create U.S. jobs and economic growth.

Recently, the Commerce Department hosted several University Innovation Forums in collaboration with university presidents addressing the roles of universities in innovation, economic development, job creation and the commercialization of federally funded research.  These forums built upon a national dialogue Secretary Locke began in February when he engaged university leaders and key stakeholders in a discussion about how the Obama administration can help move ideas from the lab to the marketplace. From these efforts, the Commerce Department is gathering input on best practices in university technology commercialization and making recommendations for federal government policy.

Space Coast Task Force Delivers Economic Strategies Report to President Barack Obama

Secretary Locke and NASA Administrator Bolden provide blueprint for job creation and innovation to propel regional economy

Obama at NASA giving remarks; NASA photoThe President's Task Force on Space Industry Workforce and Economic Development, co-chaired by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr., today released its report to the president with recommendations to enhance economic development strategies along Florida’s Space Coast. The Task Force was charged with developing a plan for how best to invest $40 million in transition assistance from the federal government in the Space Coast region as the Space Shuttle program winds down.

Locke, Bolden, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and several other senior administration officials have visited the region multiple times since the creation of the Task Force to meet with area workers and experts.

“Over the past few months, we have worked diligently with local government officials, economic development agencies, and affected corporations and employees to develop a comprehensive plan that will create high-skill, high-wage jobs and a strong economic base in the Space Coast,” Locke said. “Space is a key driver of the 21st century American economy and that’s why the president believes so strongly in empowering NASA to pursue new avenues of discovery.”  Release  |  Report  |  NASA Space Coast Task Force