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Secretary Locke Wants Your Questions on the Future of American Manufacturing

Today Secretary Locke will be testifying before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation about the Future of American Manufacturing: Maintaining America's Competitive Edge.  Secretary Locke will be answering questions from Senators during the hearing, but afterwards he wants to hear from you. We invite you to watch the hearing and submit questions about manufacturing via comments on this post, Twitter (use hashtag #LockeChat) and on our Facebook page. As the Secretary’s schedule permits, he’ll answer some of the questions throughout the day.

As a primer, watch the video below. In it 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.  |  Senate testimony

See video

Secretary Locke, USPTO Director Kappos Highlight Support for Patent Reform Legislation

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and USPTO Director David Kappos hosted a conference call with reporters today to discuss the administration’s support for pending patent reform legislation and why the administration believes patent reform is critical to promoting innovation and creating jobs.

“Passage of this legislation is essential to America's economic competitiveness and our ability to innovate,” Locke said. “As President Obama said recently, we need to out-innovate the rest of the world if we’re going to win the future. An efficiently operating patent system is critical to this goal.”

On Monday, the Senate began consideration of S.23 – now known as The America Invents Act – and the administration released a Statement of Administration Policy expressing support for the proposed legislation.

While the USPTO has made significant strides in reducing its backlog of more than 700,000 unexamined patent applications and the time it takes to process a patent, reforming the patent system is critical to speeding the transformation of an idea into a market-making product that will drive the jobs and industries of the future.

White House Releases First Comprehensive Federal Report on the Status of American Women in Almost 50 Years

Cover of report

Report released on first day of Women's History Month

Today, the White House released a new report entitled Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being, a statistical portrait showing how women are faring in the United States today and how their lives have changed over time.  This is the first comprehensive federal report on women since 1963, when the Commission on the Status of Women, established by President Kennedy and chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, produced a report on the conditions of women. Women in America Report.

Women in America focuses on five critical areas: people, families and income; education; employment; health; and crime and violence.  The administration will be honoring Women’s History Month throughout March, and will highlight a different section of the report every week.

“The Obama administration has been focused on addressing the challenges faced by women and girls from day one because we know that the success of women and girls is vital to winning the future,” said Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls Valerie Jarrett. “Today’s report not only serves as a look back on American women’s lives, but serves as a guidepost to help us move forward.”

“This collection of data from across the federal government offers the most comprehensive look at women in America since the 1960s,” Acting Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank said. “With this report, this administration can more effectively manage programs that support women and girls and America’s families, and foster the growth of the U.S. economy.” 

The Office of Management and Budget and the Economics and Statistics Administration within the Department of Commerce worked together with federal statistical agencies to create Women in America in support of the Council on Women and Girls. The information informs the efforts of the Council and is aimed at providing facts to a broad range of interested parties, including policymakers, journalists and researchers.  |  White House press release  |  Presidential proclamation

Spotlight on Commerce: Michelle Duff- Mitchell, Deputy Director for the International Trade Administration's National Export Initiative

 Michelle Duff-Mitchell, Deputy Director for the International Trade Administration's National Export Initiative

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 Duff- Mitchell is the Deputy Director for the International Trade Administration's National Export Initiative at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Last year, President Obama launched the National Export Initiative (NEI) during his State of the Union Address, as a key component of his economic recovery agenda, setting the ambitious goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015 in order to support and sustain millions of American jobs.

In my role as Deputy Director for the NEI, I have the distinct pleasure of working on an issue that is very dear to me: ensuring America's competitiveness today and in the future.  And it's important to remember that at the center of this ability to compete are the contributions of African-American inventors, entrepreneurs, and intellectuals -- who we celebrate and honor during Black History Month and every month.

Today as the global marketplace expands and takes shape, it gives me great pleasure to continue in the legacy of my African-American forefathers and mothers through my work on the NEI.   As Deputy Director, I have the ability to help American companies find new and innovative ways to grow their sales in international markets and create employment opportunities for American workers.  As Secretary Locke often says, “As American companies sell more of their goods and services abroad, they will need to produce more, which means more good-paying American jobs for our workers.”  With only 1 percent of American companies exporting and only 58 percent of those businesses exporting to just one market, there is tremendous opportunity for America to strengthen our economic footing through the expansion of exports—meaning we aggressively compete for every contract and every job.

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.

Spotlight on Commerce: Rick Wade, Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff

Wade speaking from lectern

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.

Rick Wade is a Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff for Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

During his recent State of the Union address, President Obama reminded us that in order to be competitive as a country, we need to “out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.”  One of the best ways we can celebrate Black History Month is to revive the spirit of past African American inventors and invest more in innovation and entrepreneurship.

It was back in 1907 when Booker T. Washington said, “every member of the race should strive to be successful in business, however humble that business might be.”  My work at the Department of Commerce provides me an opportunity to help businesses start, flourish and create high-skill, high-wage jobs.

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

New Investment by Embraer in Florida Creates New Opportunities and New Jobs

Participants in ribbon-cutting ceremony

Guest blog post by Francisco J. Sánchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Yesterday I was honored to participate in the opening ceremony for the new Embraer assembly facility in Melbourne, Florida. Embraer is a Brazilian manufacturer of commercial, general aviation, and defense aircraft, and this new plant will employ up to 200 people from the area.

The ceremony embodied what I believe in about the future:

  • Exports create jobs;
  • The key to the future of the American economy is international trade; and
  • Economic integration among the nations of the hemisphere is how all of us remain competitive in the face of rising global competition.

The aircraft assembled in the new facility symbolize the growth of the hemispheric market and represents how international trade brings the economies of the hemisphere closer to each other.

Brazil and the United States understand that hundreds of millions of new consumers are giving birth to a new global market that will demand quantity as well quality.  Quantity and quality almost define Embraer itself.

Defining the future, too, are the United States and Brazil, which is why President Obama will be travelling to Brazil next month.  The gathering of dignitaries yesterday in many ways can be looked upon as part of the President’s visit to Brazil, for it incorporates the spirit and intention of the journey.

The United States is also interested in launching an Aviation Cooperation Program with Brazil.  We see this as a way of elevating and deepening our relationships with the Brazilian government and industry. 

All of us should embrace Embraer’s decision to build this assembly plant in Florida.  It foreshadows the greater future that lies before us and Florida – and before the United States and Brazil as well.

Spotlight on Commerce: David Hinson, National Director of MBDA

David Hinson, Director of MBDA

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.

David Hinson is the National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency.

As I travel around the country, I am in awe of the tenacity and the indomitable spirit of minority business owners and their unwillingness to quit in the face of overwhelming odds. That’s the spirit that makes America great.

As the National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), I am proud to be a part of this Administration and a part of an Agency where our work helps to expand the U.S. economy and create new jobs through the historically underutilized minority business community.

I have the privilege of serving on the senior staff of the Secretary of Commerce and serving as Bureau Chief of MBDA, as well as engaging with various stakeholders, members of Congress, minority-owned and operated businesses, and nonprofit organizations that support minority business development across the nation.

MBDA is a national organization with more than 46 business centers in five regions, which generates nearly $4 billion in contracts and capital for minority-owned businesses. We also create thousands of jobs for all Americans and help save thousands of existing jobs.

Minority-owned firms are an engine of job creation for the U.S. economy, outpacing growth within the general business community for most of the last decade. Collectively, minority-owned businesses generate $1 trillion in economic output and create nearly 6 million jobs. They also possess almost $2.5 trillion in buying power.

My first introduction to business was as a child growing up in St. Louis, MO. I learned lessons about entrepreneurship from my next door neighbor who ran a small cookie distribution company from his home.  He taught me about the importance of inventory and business efficiencies. While I was a dreamer, who often thought about what people were doing in other countries, my parents’ neighbors and teachers taught me that simply dreaming wasn’t enough. Making dreams come to fruition requires true grit and determination.

Secretary Locke Appoints New Deputy Director at the USPTO

Teresa Stanek Rea was appointed by Secretary Locke as the new Deputy Director of the Commerce Department's U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) this week.

Serving alongside USPTO Director David Kappos, Rea will take charge of a Commerce office that is integral in encouraging innovation and technological advancement in the U.S., and helps businesses protect their investments, promote their goods, and safeguard against deception in the marketplace.

Rea is a leading attorney in the field of intellectual property with more than 25 years of legal experience and a past president of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA). She is currently a partner in Crowell & Moring LLP’s Washington, D.C. office, where she has focused on intellectual property and dispute resolution related to pharmaceutical, biotechnology and other life science issues.

“Teresa has an impressive track record of success across several disciplines and will be a tremendous asset to the USPTO,” Locke said. “Her leadership will be instrumental in the USPTO's efforts to foster economic growth and job creation by reducing the backlog of patent applications, enhancing patent and trademark quality, and becoming more efficient.”

Rea is a member of several technical and legal associations and has been a frequent lecturer and publisher on patent topics including biotechnology, nanotechnology, licensing, technology transfer, patent practice, export control and interferences. She received a Juris Doctor degree from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy from the University of Michigan.

Arriving at a critical time for the agency, Rea joins the USPTO just as Congress prepares to move forward with vital patent reform legislation that would enable the USPTO to better serve America’s innovators in bringing their products to market faster and, in so doing, help spur economic growth and job creation.