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The Commerce Blog

NTIA Administrator Strickling Addresses Broadband Program Progress

Administrator Stricking on podium
At an event in Washington, D.C. today, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling described the progress of broadband stimulus projects, noting that Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grantees have thus far installed more than 4,000 computers for public use and provided computer training to more than 65,000 people.
“These Recovery Act projects are already providing an essential link to economic and educational opportunities for thousands of Americans,” said Strickling. 

Winning the Future Through Education and Commerce

Undersecretary Sanchez

Guest blog post by Francisco J. Sánchez who is Under Secretary for International Trade in the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration.

When we think about the vast work the Commerce Department does with exports, what do we picture? Food, perhaps. Textiles. Cutting-edge technologies. But what many don’t consider are the legions of international students who attend American colleges and universities. It might sound odd, but they are considered “exports.” Indeed, education plays a critical role in the work we do every day in the International Trade Administration.

That’s why I’m so pleased to announce that starting April 2, 2011, I will lead the largest education and services trade mission in the history of the U.S. Department of Commerce.  Accompanied by 56 U.S. colleges and universities, we will travel to Indonesia and Vietnam to expand U.S. educational opportunities for international students.

America is home to the best opportunities for higher education in the world.  More students come to the U.S. to study than any other country on the planet. International students’ tuition and living expenses alone brought almost $20 billion to the U.S. economy in the 2009-2010 academic year.

Our goals for this trip are extensive. Expanding U.S. educational opportunities for international students will have some direct benefits to our national economy.  By increasing domestic jobs and aiding innovation and research while strengthening our relations and ties abroad, the fact is that sharing our colleges with foreign-born students will make America that much more rich and robust.

U.S. Census Bureau Completes Delivery of State 2010 Census Population Totals for Legislative Redistricting

The U.S. Census Bureau announced this week that 2010 Census population totals and demographic characteristics have been released for communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico – ahead of the April 1 deadline. The data have provided the first look at population counts for small areas and race, Hispanic origin, voting age and housing unit data released from the 2010 Census. With the release of data for all states, national-level counts of these characteristics are now available.

In April, the Census Bureau will release the National Summary File of Redistricting Data, providing the same population, housing unit counts and demographic characteristics for the United States and other cross-state geographies, such as regions, divisions, metropolitan areas and American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian areas.

Census data are now being used by state officials to realign congressional and state legislative districts in their states, taking into account population shifts over the last decade.

Find more information about the redistricting data program or to find news releases and data for your state.

Secretary Locke and the Department of Commerce Celebrate the Accomplishments and Legacy of the Late U.S. Commerce Secretary Ron Brown

Secretary Locke and Others Watch the Unveiling of Ron Brown Way

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke participated in a ceremony this morning dedicating a stretch of 14th Street in front of the U.S. Commerce Department building as Ron Brown Way.

With Secretary Brown’s wife, Alma, his children Michael and Tracy and their families as honored guests, Locke joined in paying tribute to the late Secretary who, with 34 others, lost his life while on a trade mission to Croatia 15 years ago.

“This is a fitting tribute to a man who was born in Washington, D.C. and spent his life working to deliver economic and social justice for people in this city, across America and, indeed, around the world,” Locke said. “The dedication of Ron Brown Way will help ensure that what Ron Brown did and what he stood for won’t ever be forgotten.”

Speakers at the celebration of Brown’s legacy included Ron’s son Michael, who is D.C. Councilmember at Large, and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray.

Following the dedication ceremony, the Brown family joined Locke at the Commerce Department for a presentation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) flag that was flown aboard the NOAA ship Ronald H. Brown, and a ceremonial wreath laying. Locke spoke of Brown’s trailblazing efforts to extend economic opportunity to all, and of his fierce advocacy for the Department and the great people who work here.

Locke said that Brown’s work endures through the hundreds of dedicated Commerce employees who still believe in his mission for the department and work hard each day to continue his legacy of service.

Spotlight on Commerce: Michelle O'Neill, Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade

Michelle O'Neill, Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of winning the future through their work.

Michelle O'Neill has been serving as Deputy Under Secretary for International Trade since November 2005.

I started my career in ITA as an intern in 1983 -- looking up tariff rates in Latin American countries for companies that called in.  Many of you are probably amazed that anyone could spend so many years in one organization, but during this course of time, I have moved around quite a bit across ITA – at least eight official jobs spanning our five business units.  These experiences have given me a deeper appreciation of what we can do as an organization to advance U.S. business interests globally.  Five Administrations, 11 Secretaries of Commerce, and 12 Under Secretaries of International Trade later, I am still as passionate for advancing fair and free trade today as when I first arrived in Washington.  (And I never imagined that I would be part of the organization’s leadership team!)

When I started my career in international trade, U.S. exports were $205 billion. Today, we export more than five times that amount, totaling more than $1 trillion worth in goods and services exports.  While we remain the number one exporter of goods and services, the volume of global trade has grown substantially over this period of time, and with that comes some challenges – and in many ways, the same challenges.  Back in the 1980s, the big concern was the $58 billion trade deficit and what we could do about it; today our trade deficit is nearly $380 billion – still a concern.  It’s been very interesting for me as a career civil servant, implementing and shaping trade policy across five Administrations. In many ways, I think the importance of international trade has stood the test of time with bipartisan support for increased trade liberalization, to varying degrees, across every Administration in my career. When I officially started ITA in 1987, the Uruguay Round had just begun; now we are in the midst of trying to bring a close to the Doha Round.  There was only one Free Trade Agreement in place with Israel. Now we have 17 FTAs in force – and hopefully three more in the horizon.  While the issues we debated have evolved -- reflecting changes in industry, new business models, and future technologies -- there has been general agreement that an open and competitive global marketplace is good for citizens, consumers, businesses, and governments.

Secretary Gary Locke visited NOAA's Science Center to Highlight Education as a Key Pillar for Enhancing American Competitiveness

Secretary Locke Talks with a Student at NOAA's Science Center in Silver Spring, MD about His Research

Secretary Gary Locke visited the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Science Center in Silver Spring, MD today, to highlight the importance of education in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields in enhancing the United States’ global competitiveness.  He emphasized President Obama’s strategy of results-driven education investments, which will allow the U.S. to out-educate, out-innovate and out-build the rest of the world. 

Locke participated in the NOAA Education Partnership Program’s Annual Cooperative Science Center Directors meeting, where he heard a presentations by NOAA-sponsored undergraduate, Master’s and Ph.D. STEM students about their latest research and findings.  He also held a roundtable discussion with the NOAA Science Center Directors and some of the NOAA Cooperative Institute Directors to exchange ideas about how to bolster STEM education programs for undergraduate and graduate students across the country.  Graduates of these programs are the workforce of the future and will contribute to the recovery and growth of America’s economy. 

The NOAA Education Partnership Program supports five Cooperative Science Centers, housed in Minority Serving Institutions in Washington D.C., Maryland, New York, Florida, and North Carolina.  These Cooperative Science Centers have awarded over 800 Bachelors, Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in the STEM fields in the last 10 years; over 600 of these graduates are from under-represented minorities.

U.S. Census Bureau Releases New Race and Population Data Based on Findings from 2010 Census

2010 Census Population Distribution

New U.S. Mean Center of Population Announced for 2010

Today the U.S. Census Bureau released the first two of a series of 2010 Census briefs that offer a closer look at race and population in the United States: Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010 and Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010.

Population Distribution and Change: 2000 to 2010 analyzes the nation’s population change for the United States as a whole as well as its regions, states, metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, counties and places. It shows that over the past decade, the U.S. population increased by 9.7 percent – a rate slower than recent decades – but surpassing the 300 million mark to reach 308.7 million people. The South and West accounted for 84.4 percent of the U.S. population increase from 2000 to 2010, enough for the population of the West to surpass that of the Midwest during the decade. Between 2000 and 2010, all 10 of the most populous metro areas grew, and almost two-thirds of the nation’s counties and nine of the 10 most populous cities gained population.

Looking at our nation’s changing racial and ethnic diversity, Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010 shows that the Hispanic and Asian populations in the United States have experienced the fastest growth over the past decade. While the non-Hispanic white population is still numerically and proportionally the largest major race and ethnic group in the United States, it is growing at the slowest rate. The rise in the Hispanic population accounted for more than half of the 27.3 million increase in the total U.S. population. But more than any other race group, the Asian population grew the fastest, increasing by 43 percent.

The new mean center of population for the United States was also announced today; as of April 1, 2010, it is near Plato, Mo. The Census Bureau calculated this point as the place where an imaginary, flat, weightless and rigid map of the United States would balance perfectly if all 308,745,538 residents counted in the 2010 Census were of identical weight. The center of population tells the story of America, following a trail across the country ─ across Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Missouri ─ that reflects our history of settling the frontier, manifest destiny, waves of immigration and regional migration.

Spotlight on Commerce: Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary and Administrator for NOAA

Dr. Lubchenco Oversees Seafood Sampling After the Deepwater Horizon Spill

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of winning the future through their work.

Dr. Jane Lubchenco is the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

At NOAA, science underpins all that we do. One reason that I am so proud to serve as the under secretary for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator is the track record of excellent science at our agency, our focus on delivering essential services based on that science, and the Obama Administration’s commitment to making policy and management decisions informed by the best science available.  

When I first met with then President-elect Obama in mid-December 2008, we discussed ways that NOAA could provide America the best climate change science, restore her ocean’s vitality, provide the best possible weather forecasts and disaster warnings, and help our nation transition to more sustainable ways of living. After asking some very perceptive questions, his comment was simply, “Let’s do it!” Now, how refreshing is that?

As NOAA administrator, my responsibilities include promoting and enabling the science of oceans and the atmosphere; using science to provide services to save lives and property and enable the creation of jobs; and using science in our mission to be good stewards of oceans, coasts, the atmosphere and the planet.  

Spotlight on Commerce: Dr. Rebecca Blank, Acting Deputy Secretary and Undersecretary for Economic Affairs

Acting Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank speaks to Census 2010 crowd

Ed. Note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series, which highlights members of the Department of Commerce who are contributing to the president's vision of winning the future through their work.

Dr. Rebecca Blank is the Acting Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce and Undersecretary for Economic Affairs

As the Acting Deputy Secretary, I focus on matters of management and policy for the Commerce Department’s 12 bureaus, functioning as the department’s chief operating officer.  In this role, I oversee the central departments that coordinate DOC’s work on budgets, acquisitions, human resources, facilities, and other management issues.  I also retain my role as Undersecretary for Economic Affairs and head of the Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA), in which I oversee a talented staff of demographers, statisticians, and others at the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The statistical agencies within Commerce collect and analyze data that help to give us an accurate and complete picture of America and guide social and economic policy in the United States.

Since taking the role of Acting Deputy Secretary at the department, I feel even more responsible for helping America to “Win the Future.” This will require effective work by Commerce’s agencies to assist in growing U.S. exports, promoting domestic economic development, encouraging innovation, collecting and disseminating vital economic data, and advancing a sustainable environment in America’s oceans and atmosphere.  In the midst of tight budgets, we all recognize the need to make responsible choices about the services and programs that government provides.  But we also recognize that many of these services and programs are central to helping America’s businesses and consumers grow and stay competitive.

Last Day to Apply for Commerce Department Trade & Investment Program to HANNOVER MESSE 2011

Hannover Messe

From April 3-8, 2011, the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) and International Trade Administration (ITA) will travel to Hannover, Germany to help lead a U.S. Trade & Investment Program to HANNOVER MESSE 2011, the world's largest industrial technology showcase.  By leading regional business clusters abroad, the Department of Commerce is supporting the Obama administration’s National Export Initiative (NEI) and working to attract U.S. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), by giving participating communities the opportunity to promote their regions as ideal locations to do business.

HANNOVER MESSE 2011 will provide the industrial community the opportunity to promote business initiatives in 13 industries – Industrial Automation; Motion, Drive & Automation; Energy; Power Plant Technology; Wind; MobiliTec; Digital Factory; ComVac; Industrial Supply; CoilTechnica; SurfaceTechnology; MicroNanoTec; and Research & Technology.

U.S. program participants will consist of state and local government officials focused on economic development, university officials engaged in economic development, and other non-profit economic development practitioners.  Today is the last day to apply to participate in the program. 

Get additional information about registration fees and how to apply for the U.S. Trade & Investment Program to HANNOVER MESSE 2011.