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Blog Category: John Fernandez

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

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'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

Secretary Locke Addresses 78th Annual Meeting of U.S. Conference of Mayors

Image of conference video clip with president of mayor conference and LockeU.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited Oklahoma City for the 78th annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors held at the Cox Convention Center. Locke addressed the crowd on the final day of the conference, and Commerce’s Assistant Secretary for Economic Development John Fernandez and Census Bureau Director Robert Groves spoke over the weekend. The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. Each city is represented at the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.

On Sunday, a special session highlighted the conference with mayors from Gulf Coast cities dealing with the BP oil spill and its devastating after-effects. During the session, mayors discussed a resolution put forth by the mayors of Baton Rouge, La., and Tallahassee, Fla., that calls for increased federal efforts to access, mitigate and recover from the environmental and economic damage of the disaster and work closely with other local officials in all phases of the national response. Locke visited the Gulf Coast region last Thursday and spoke with local businesses that have been impacted economically by the oil spill. Remarks  Secretary's Conference video

Gainesville Region Receives Additional EDA Grant, University of Florida Breaks Ground for New Tech Business Incubator

Officials with shovels at groundbreaking ceremonyU.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced a $1.670 million U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to Santa Fe College and the District Board of Trustees of Santa Fe College of Gainesville, Florida to build a biotechnology laboratory and classroom addition to the new Emerging Technologies Center. The project is expected to create 270 jobs and generate $380 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.  More from Santa Fe College

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez participated also in the groundbreaking ceremony for the University of Florida’s Innovation Hub in Gainesville, Fla.  The project received $8.2 million in funding from Commerce's EDA last year to help build the tech business incubator, which will serve as a catalyst for emerging and existing start-up companies seeking to bring to market technologies developed by the university and its research partners.  The project is expected to create 300 jobs and generate $30 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.