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Spotlight on Commerce: Sara A. Rosario, U.S. Census Bureau

Spotlight on Commerce: Sara A. Rosario, U.S. Census Bureau

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting members of the Department of Commerce and their contributions to an Economy Built to Last in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month

Guest blog post by Sara A. Rosario Nieves, U.S. Census Bureau

As the Census Scientific Advisory Committee coordinator, I help determine Census Bureau operations and programs that need scientific advice. By working with the committee — established by the Secretary of Commerce as an advisory body to the Census Bureau director — I help engage some of the nation’s top economists, statisticians, researchers, geographers, sociologists, engineers, political scientists, demographers, and operations managers on ways to advise us on streamlining processes without compromising quality and use proper technologies all while saving taxpayer money.

The President’s State of the Union Address this year centered around three key principles: opportunity, action, and optimism. I too will use these three words to describe my 10-plus years as a federal employee.

Opportunity: While pursuing my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Puerto Rico, I noticed that years of specialized experience were required for entry-level positions on the island. I was astonished but continued studying and looking for work opportunities. Part of my studies included a semester-long industrial management internship with the master scheduler of Bristol-Myers Squibb pharmaceutical in Mayaguez. One of my professors then told me about a summer internship opportunity with the Department of Commerce, which led me to Washington, D.C., in 2001. Upon completion of my MBA, I accepted a job with the Census Bureau. Though I was eager to learn new things and yearned to hear fresh ideas, this geographical move was not an easy decision but thinking back now on the incredible experiences I have had and the professional growth I have gone through, I know I made the right decision. While at the Census Bureau, I have completed the DOC Aspiring Leaders Development Program and obtained a Masters Certificate in Project Management from George Washington University. In 2011, the Department of Commerce honored me with its Gold Medal Award for helping lead the 2010 Census partnership program, which engaged 257,000 national and local organizations with $1.2 billion in value-added contributions to the overall census effort.

Action: One of the most enjoyable aspects of my civil service work is mentoring young individuals who are looking to expand their skills and for advice on how to reach their maximum potential. Last month, I was a panelist for the Paths for Success session of the Government Leaders for Tomorrow (GL4T), where nationwide selected science and technology students with diverse economic, social, academic and cultural backgrounds come to D.C. to learn about life as a federal government employee. The conversations with the mentees, along with recruits I regularly meet on campus, help me understand the vast capacity of the next generation to work alongside seasoned and experienced talent and contribute to the department’s innovation and reengineering goals. 

MBDA National Director Alejandra Castillo Challenges Young Latina Entrepreneurs to Think Big

MBDA National Director Alejandra Castillo speaks at the Latinas Think Big Conference

Last week, Alejandra Castillo, the first Hispanic American woman appointed as the National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency, participated in a panel discussion at the Latinas Think Big Innovation Summit at Google’s Mountain View Campus. The Summit brought together thought leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators and influencers to exchange ideas, address important issues, and connect attendees to high-caliber networks.

Created by Dr. Angelica Perez-Litwin, PhD, Latinas Think Big™ is a progressive platform and national tour created to bring together innovative ideas and groundbreaking projects of Latinas around the country. “I created Latinas Think Big™ to showcase the innovative ideas, talents and groundbreaking projects of Latinas around the country. I wanted to bring talented Latinas and thought leaders to the stages of well-regarded institutions like Columbia University and powerful companies like Google, for the world to 'see' how Latinas are contributing to the country's social and economic well-being,” said Dr. Perez-Litwin.  

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners, between 2002 and 2007 Hispanic-owned businesses increased by 43.7 percent to 2.3 million, more than twice the national rate of 18 percent between the same period of time. Hispanic women-owned businesses are the fastest growing business demographic, increasing 43 percent between 2002 and 2007.

Latinas Think Big creates a space in which young women have access to speak to professional women across all sectors. At the event, Castillo talked to the audience of young Latinas about the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation. “As entrepreneurs, you need to understand that 95% of the world’s consumers live outside of the U.S. borders. The fact that you speak Spanish, the fact that you are Latinos, and the fact that you understand the business culture of Colombia, Dominican Republic, and El Salvador, positions you in a very unique place to be able to tap into those markets. When thinking about entrepreneurial ideas, think about how to go global,” stated Castillo.

Spotlight on Commerce: Efrain Gonzalez, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer, BusinessUSA

Efrain Gonzalez, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer, BusinessUSA

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting members of the Department of Commerce and their contributions to an Economy Built to Last in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month

Guest blog post by Efrain Gonzalez, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer, BusinessUSA

I currently serve as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer at BusinessUSA, a Presidential Initiative and partnership between the Department of Commerce and the Small Business Administration. Our mission is to help American entrepreneurs, businesses owners and executives successfully start and grow their business by making it easier for them to find and access the right government resources. Put simply, my role as part of BusinessUSA is to make sure people, money and strategy come together to achieve this mission.

From my first days at Commerce, I have been privileged to serve on initiatives and projects aimed to either directly serve the needs of businesses or assist the agencies that directly serve U.S. businesses. Prior to joining BusinessUSA, I served as Chief of the Office of Business Development for the Minority Business Development Agency where I worked on the Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Recovery Projects and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. For me, it’s this type of mission-driven work that we do here at Commerce that connects me to my roots as a first-generation American growing up in East Los Angeles and Montebello, California, a suburb just east of LA.

My father was an entrepreneur who owned a service station. Like many kids of hardworking business owners in this country, I spent my weekends working with him to support the family business. I watched him succeed, and I watched him struggle. I saw his commitment to his employees and how the responsibility of making his payroll sometimes weighed on him. Later, when I took over managing the business for a short time, I felt the weight of that responsibility myself. But, I think that just like many Mexican immigrants to this country, my dad thought that all those long days and weekends were a fair price for the opportunity to build a better life for his family. His hard work gave me the opportunity to attend good schools and eventually graduate from the University of Southern California (USC). My years running the family business helped to build the foundation that my career at Commerce and before that, at USC, has been built on.

President’s Export Council Espouses Commercial Diplomacy

Robert Wolf, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of 32 Advisors

Guest blog post by Robert Wolf, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of 32 Advisors.

As a member of the President’s Export Council (PEC), I had the good fortune of going to Poland and Turkey with a group led by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker along with CEOs from Archer Daniels Midland, Lockheed Martin, Marriott, UPS, Vermeer and Xerox as well as representatives from other member firms.  The PEC, comprised of companies with an aggregate market capital of over $850 billion, chose Poland and Turkey for our inaugural trip with the Secretary as we view these countries, first and foremost, as high priority economically important growth markets in addition to being strategically significant.

During the trip I wore two hats: one as an ambassador for US businesses broadly promoting the President’s National Export Initiative and US foreign direct investment priorities and, second, as a businessman in representing a cross-border advisory on a fact finding mission to explore Poland and Turkey as good places to enhance our business relationships and our client’s growth initiatives.

I learned that both Poland and Turkey want many of the same things as the US: transparency, public/private partnerships, infrastructure investment, an all-in energy approach and a skilled labor force/education.

What I found while visiting with both public and private leaders was that there are some incredible market opportunities for US businesses. Given the impressive strides both countries have made in recent years, I am not particularly surprised.

Eighth-Grade Students Explore S.T.E.M Careers and Opportunities On Manufacturing Day

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Darlene Mullen (in yellow), technology and pre-engineering teacher for Friendship Academy at Cherry Hill in Baltimore, MD, is joined by her students at a Manufacturing Day 2014 event

Guest blog post by Darlene Mullen, technology and pre-engineering teacher for Friendship Academy at Cherry Hill in Baltimore, MD.

 

I have worked in the manufacturing and engineering environment for many years prior to becoming an educator for the Baltimore City Public School System. I am passionate about exposing our youth to the many career choices they can make in a manufacturing environment. My participation with several S.T.E.M. programs have afforded me the opportunity to broaden my students exposure to many manufacturing and engineering roles and how focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics will give them the foundation they need to thrive in the fields of manufacturing and engineering.  S.T.E.M. is woven into the schools’ fabric. We offer Gateway to Technology, a pre-engineering program and Smart Lab Creative Learning Systems to our middles school students. As always S.T.E.M. is embedded in our everyday curriculum.

If our eighth-grade students are exposed to S.T.E.M careers and opportunities while they are in middles school, they will be able to make sound decisions when choosing a high school to attend next academic school year. They will be able to choose high schools that offer the sciences and mathematics classes needed to pursue engineering and technology degree upon completion of high school. Many of our eighth graders are already talking about pursuing technical fields that will allow them to become essential employees of the manufacturing environment.

Our school, Friendship Academy at Cherry Hill is located in the Southwest area of Baltimore City, with a population of five hundred plus students, who are always willing and ready to learn. My students and I are very excited about spending time at Northrop Grumman during Manufacturing Day to gain an up close and personal understanding of the importance and operations of manufacturing.

EDA Announces $1.9 Million Grant to Support Advanced Manufacturing in Recognition of Manufacturing Day

EDA Announces $1.9 Million Grant to Support Advanced Manufacturing in Recognition of Manufacturing Day

Guest blog post by Jay Williams, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development

When I was growing up, manufacturing work was all about having a strong back and a strong work ethic. These days, manufacturing has changed. The first Friday in October each year marks Manufacturing Day, and today more than 1,500 manufacturers nationwide are opening their doors to host open houses, public tours, career workshops, and other events, in order to show people what manufacturing is – and what it isn’t. There is a lack of understanding of present-day manufacturing environments, which are highly technical. Manufacturing Day provides manufacturers with the opportunity to address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry. 

In honor of Manufacturing Day, I was joined by Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and faculty members for an event at Wichita State University (WSU) in South Kansas. The region is a leader in manufacturing, and the University is a key member of the South Kansas Manufacturing Community consortium, which U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced as one of the 12 Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) designated communities in May. While there, I announced a $1.9 million EDA grant to WSU to support advanced manufacturing. According to the grantee, the project will create 500 jobs and further regional capabilities in advanced manufacturing, with an emphasis on automated additive manufacturing innovation, and will provide competitive advantage for the transportation equipment manufacturing industry. These innovative technologies will also be applied to the emerging medical equipment manufacturing cluster in the region. 

While in Wichita, I got to see first-hand the sort of operations that have made South Kansas a leader in manufacturing. I was treated to a Manufacturing Day tour of the Wichita Operations of Bombardier-Learjet facility, where a critical EDA investment helped expand operations in 2012. The facility is truly impressive – as is the finished product

President Obama, the Commerce Department, and EDA are all committed to supporting manufacturing, because manufacturing creates good jobs with the largest multiplier effect of any part of the economy. In the last fiscal year, EDA invested in 89 manufacturing projects, totaling nearly $78 million. The projects were diverse, representing different industries, different geographies, and different community needs. Half of these projects were construction projects, which created more than 7,000 jobs and generated nearly $4.3 billion in private investment.

BEA Stats Offer Interesting Nuggets about U.S. Factories in Recognition of Manufacturing Day

BEA Stats Offer Interesting Nuggets about U.S. Factories in Recognition of Manufacturing Day

Today is Manufacturing Day and that’s the perfect time to brush up on your factory factoids. Here are some data nuggets produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis that might surprise you:

The first two facts come from BEA’s GDP by industry data, which are now available on a quarterly basis. The next installment comes out Nov. 13. The third one comes from BEA’s GDP accounts. And, data on exports of manufactured goods can be found in the monthly trade report produced jointly by BEA and the U.S. Census Bureau.  

Want to know where manufacturing plays the biggest role in state and regional economies? You can rely on BEA data to answer that question.   

In 2013, Indiana ranked highest in the concentration of manufacturing, followed by Oregon, Louisiana, and North Carolina. According to the BEA’s GDP by metropolitan area data released Sept. 16, the Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana and Kokomo, Indiana metro areas had the highest manufacturing concentration in the nation, followed by the Lake Charles, Louisiana metro area.

Providing businesses and individuals with the statistics they need to compete in the global marketplace is one way that BEA is helping to unleash the power of data for American businesses. The Commerce Department’s ‘Open for Business Agenda’ prioritizes unleashing more data and making it more accessible so it can catalyze the emergence of new businesses, products, and services. Data from the Commerce Department, America’s data agency, enable start-ups, move markets, and power both small and multi-billion dollar companies. 

Resources to Help Manufacturers Understand Export Controls

On October 3, on Manufacturing Day, American manufacturers will be celebrated for the contributions they make toward U.S. job creation, innovation and a strong, competitive U.S. economy.  With the recent creation of more than 700,000 new manufacturing jobs, the increased growth rate experienced by the U.S. manufacturing sector is almost twice the rate of growth in the overall economy.  To accelerate this growth even more, manufacturers may sell their products in international markets, which comprise two-thirds of the world’s purchasing power.

Many commodities and technologies manufactured in and exported from the United States are used only for commercial purposes, but some also have military applications.  Items with recognized civilian and military applications include, for example, numerically controlled machine tools, advanced electronics, and high-performance computers.  The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) licenses the export of such commodities, as well as related software and technology.  BIS administers export control laws and regulations to strengthen U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives, such as preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction. 

Currently, BIS is at the forefront of changes to the U.S. export control system related to the Administration’s Export Control Reform initiative.  A key element of the reform is moving tens of thousands of items—mostly parts and components—from the State Department’s jurisdiction to the Commerce Department, which will provide greater flexibility for U.S. companies to engage in export trade.      

On the BIS website, there are several resources to help manufacturers and exporters understand the licensing system, changes under Export Control Reform, and how to set up effective compliance safeguards.  Here are a few resources to help manufacturers export your items:

Secretary Pritzker and CEOs from the President’s Export Council Explore Market Opportunities with Turkish Business Leaders

Secretary Pritzker and CEOs from the President’s Export Council Explore Market Opportunities with Turkish Business Leaders
After a productive stop in Poland, Secretary Pritzker traveled to Turkey with CEOs from the President’s Export Council (PEC) to explore opportunities for U.S. firms interested in the market and address outstanding challenges to expanding bilateral trade and investment. 
 
While the United States and Turkey have sustained deep strategic and diplomatic ties for decades, both countries want to expand their economic and commercial relationship. In 2009, President Obama visited Turkey and established the Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation (FSECC) with then-Prime Minister of Turkey Tayyip Erdogan. The two leaders tasked the U.S. and Turkish governments to create a framework to help substantially increase the trade and investment flows between both countries to help strengthen the economic dimension of our partnership. Now, Secretary Pritzker and the PEC CEOs -- serving as commercial ambassadors -- are working to expand and strengthen this relationship through meetings with Turkish government and business leaders in Istanbul and Ankara.
 
In Istanbul, Secretary Pritzker delivered remarks to more than 200 Turkish business leaders and guests at the AmCham/American Business Forum in Turkey (ABFT) 10th Anniversary gala. She noted that progress has been made in the U.S.-Turkey commercial relationship, with total bilateral trade in 2013 just under $20 billion.  

She also stressed three challenges U.S. businesses face in the Turkish market that must be addressed: greater transparency in government procurement; commercial offsets – a policy that forces companies to produce locally; and the ability to obtain Good Manufacturing Practices certification. Ilker Ayci, President of Turkey’s Investment Promotion Agency, also shared Secretary Pritzker’s sentiment that the United States and Turkey must work together now to address current obstacles.

Oct. 3, Manufacturing is in the Neighborhood

Oct. 3, Manufacturing is in the Neighborhood

Guest blog post by Mark Schmit and Zara Brunner, National Institute of Standards and Technology

The first Friday of the month might not normally stand out, but the first Friday of October is a very big deal to us at the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP) program. Every day we help small and mid-size manufactures innovate and grow, but tomorrow we help them celebrate Manufacturing Day (MFG Day).

On MFG Day, the public gets the chance to see what modern manufacturing is all about and we’re hoping you’ll join us at one of more than 1,500 open houses, factory tours, job fairs and other events across the country. There’s a good chance there’s something exciting happening not far from your own neighborhood.

Manufacturing plays an important role in our economy at both the national and local levels. It’s responsible for 12.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and every day, more than 16 million of our neighbors go to work in manufacturing. Many of them have been hard at work for months planning MFG Day activities with their companies, local MEP centers and communities.

MFG Day reflects the diversity of manufacturing. Manufacturers are hosting events in fields as ranging from consumables, textiles, cosmetics, optics, electronics, aerospace, energy, robotics, to nanotechnology and more. Visitors will learn how they make everything from ukuleles, jeans and jewelry, motorcycles, and airplanes, to one million cookies an hour.