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Blog Category: Jobs

Secretary Locke Joined President Obama for First Meeting of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness

President Barack Obama meets with the members of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Feb. 24, 2011. From left are; General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, chair of the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness; President Obama; Chief of Staff Bill Daley; and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today, Secretary Locke joined President Obama at the White House for the first meeting of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Today’s meeting served as a forum on how to continue the dialogue between government and the private sector. The Council is focused on finding new ways to promote growth by investing in American business to encourage hiring, to educate and train our workers to compete globally, and to attract the best jobs and businesses to the United States. The Council’s members represent various sectors of the economy, bringing diverse perspectives on how the government can best promote growth, spark innovation, create new jobs, and invest in American competiveness so we can out-compete the rest of the world.  As part of the effort to bring diverse perspectives to the table, two of the Council Members are small business owners, representing the critical role small businesses play as the backbone of our economy and in securing America’s future prosperity.

The President and Secretary Locke talked with the Council about:

  • Helping entrepreneurs get the financing they need to get started and helping existing business owners get the financing they need to expand their businesses,
  • Ensuring that our workforce is equipped with the skills they need to out-compete the rest of the world,
  • And bolstering job growth at home by promoting American exports across the globe, especially in 21st century industries like clean energy.

See more in this White House blog post.

Secretary Locke Kicks Off 'Compete to Win' Address Series in Columbus

Locke at podium with large projection screen behind him

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke traveled to Columbus, OH, today to deliver the keynote address at the 2011 Columbus Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting.  This event launches Locke’s “Compete to Win” address series – an ongoing outreach effort to Chambers of Commerce across the country in which Locke will listen to the ideas and concerns of members of the business community and highlight Obama administration economic policies that are designed to spur growth and support job creation.

During his address, Locke highlighted President Obama’s plans to strengthen the economic recovery, create jobs, help businesses succeed, and position America to win the future by out-innovating, out-educating and out-building our global competition.  He specifically discussed the administration’s focus on infrastructure and research and development investments, tax code reform and export promotion as top priorities that will help American businesses become more innovative, more competitive and more successful.  Locke also talked about Columbus’ own regional economic development strategy, Columbus2020!, and how administration policies will support and complement this initiative.   
 
Locke is scheduled to address the Dallas Regional Chamber on March 8 and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce on April 12.  Remarks

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

Secretary Locke visits Arc Energy in Nashua, New Hampshire

Secretary Locke speaks during a question and answer session

Yesterday, Secretary Gary Locke traveled to New Hampshire and met with regional business leaders and toured Arc Energy, a renewable energy equipment manufacturer that specializes in solid state lighting technologies.

One day after President Obama delivered his State of the Union address, Locke reinforced the importance of strengthening America’s competitiveness by out-innovating, out-educating and out-building the rest of the world.  He discussed how a more competitive America will help rebuild the economy, create more jobs and prepare the country for challenges ahead.

Locke also discussed how the recently-passed tax cut package, which reduces the payroll tax, expands the Earned Income Tax Credit and allows businesses to temporarily expense 100% of their capital investments in 2011, benefits companies like Arc Energy.  The tax cuts package provides tax relief to 800,000 people in New Hampshire and extends unemployment benefits to 12,627 residents whose benefits would have otherwise expired.

Arc Energy develops cutting-edge technologies that substantially reduce the cost of LED lighting.  It exports products to several countries, including China and Korea, and has signed multiple contracts worth several hundred million dollars in 2011.  President Obama visited Arc one year ago and since then the manufacturer has experienced significant growth – expanding its workforce by 300 percent.  Because of the industry’s expansive supply chain, for every person Arc Energy hires, roughly four to five additional jobs are created elsewhere in the United States.

Commerce Department Highlights the Role of Intellectual Property in U.S. Innovation, Competitiveness

Kappos on podium at the Newseum in Washington with U.S. Capitol in background

The Commerce Department’s David Kappos, Under Secretary for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), stressed intellectual property’s vital role in the innovation economy and its importance to increasing America’s global competitiveness today at a Patents, Innovation and Job Creation conference at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Patent-related industries make up the most dynamic parts of our economy, he said, and as a share of gross economic value, the United States invests more in intangible assets than any of its major trading partners.

As our country seeks to regain the jobs lost during the recession, inventions that could spark new businesses and jobs are waiting in the USPTO’s backlog. The Harvard Business Review recently described the USPTO as “the biggest job creator you never heard of.”  Reducing the time it takes to examine those applications is one of the highest priorities for Director Kappos and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

Kappos and the USPTO have launched several initiatives to shorten patent pendency and improve patent quality, and the agency will soon outline yet another plan that would give applicants the option to accelerate examination of a patent application. In his remarks today, Kappos also applauded the efforts of Congress to continue pushing for bipartisan legislation that would help the USPTO improve the patent system, expressing the agency’s strong support for patent reform.  |  Director's remarks

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

America's Broadband Opportunity: Today the Administration is Freeing Up a Chunk of New Wireless Spectrum

This morning an opinion editorial co-written by Secretary Locke and Larry Summers ran in the Wall Street Journal. It explains the value of opening up additional wireless spectrum for innovation and economic growth.

Read the Ten-Year Plan, the Fast Track Evaluation, and learn about opening up more spectrum.

****
Wireless Transmission TowerRarely is there an opportunity to simultaneously catalyze private-sector investment, help create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and increase much needed government revenue. President Obama is seizing just such an opportunity with his commitment to nearly double the amount of available commercial wireless spectrum over the next 10 years. Today, the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will take the first step by announcing a plan to free up 115 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum.

Spectrum is fast becoming a pillar of America's digital infrastructure. It has enabled the mobile broadband revolution. All of our smart phones, netbooks, and the "apps" they support depend on the availability of wireless spectrum.

But while demand for America's spectrum resources is increasing at rapid rates—the amount of information flowing over some wireless networks is growing at over 250 percent per year—there has not been a corresponding increase in supply. This congestion has led to more dropped calls and slower data rates.

Secretary Locke Discusses Sustainable Economic Growth at APEC SME Summit in Japan

Secretary Locke Speaks at the APEC Small And Medium Sized Business Summit

Delivering remarks at the Asia-Pacific Cooperation (APEC) Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Summit in Yokohama today, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke spoke about the efforts APEC is making to build an environment more conducive to job growth and innovation, and how business leaders must assume more responsibility to do the same.  

The Summit was hosted by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), which represents 515 local chambers of commerce and industry and boasts 1.35 million members all over Japan. More than 95 percent of its members are SMEs.

As the U.S. representative to the APEC SME working group, Locke highlighted the steps the U.S Commerce Department is taking to promote opportunity and job creation throughout the Asia-Pacific region – from cultivating the development of small- and medium enterprises to addressing innovation and intellectual property rights.  He also called on the assembled business leaders to get more involved in communicating to political leaders and other stakeholders what they do, how they contribute to their community, and what policies they need to succeed.  The Secretary also talked about the increasing importance of corporate social responsibility in helping businesses prove their value to the communities where they operate.

Secretary Locke Speaks with Silicon Valley Leadership Group on Obama Administration's Efforts to Foster Innovation

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered remarks at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG)’s annual luncheon today, emphasizing the steps the Obama administration has taken to turn around the U.S. economy and create jobs. Locke stressed the administration’s efforts to build a stronger foundation for long-term growth and prosperity by investing in research and development, a 21st century infrastructure and manufacturing, and underlined Silicon Valley’s role as the epicenter of technological innovation.

Sec. Locke wanted it to be known that “when it comes to new ideas, our only criterion is efficacy. It doesn’t matter if they come from the left or the right, the boardroom or academia. We simply will not rest until every American who wants a job can find one.”

Locke emphasized that President Obama’s proposed 2011 budget, while freezing domestic discretionary spending overall, actually increases funding for civilian R&D by nearly 6 percent. Also, he noted President Obama’s support a new business tax cut that will allow small businesses to deduct the full amount of new capital investments immediately.

Locke also highlighted President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI), which aims to double U.S. exports over the next five years in support of several million American jobs. The NEI will provide more funding, more focus and more Cabinet-level coordination to increase U.S. exports, and represents the first time the United States will have a government-wide export-promotion strategy with focused attention from the president and his Cabinet.

Remarks