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Top 5 Reasons to Apply to be an IMCP Designated Community

Today, the Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced the next round of competition for designation as a “Manufacturing Community” under the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) initiative. IMCP is designed to revolutionize the way federal agencies leverage economic development funds. It encourages communities to develop comprehensive economic development strategies that will strengthen their competitive edge for attracting global manufacturer and supply chain investments. Through IMCP, the federal government is rewarding best practices – coordinating federal aid to support communities’ strong development plans and synchronizing grant programs across multiple departments and agencies.  

Here are 5 reasons your community should consider applying for the designation: 

  1. A compass for navigating the bureaucracy: If you are designated as a manufacturing community, it can be like getting a machete to cut through red tape! While communities don’t receive money for being designated, you will be given elevated consideration from 10 federal agencies for more than $1.3 billion in available grant and program funding. No, you’re not guaranteed to suddenly be awarded every grant you apply for, but you get the opportunity to apply with that designee seal of approval. Moreover, you will have a dedicated federal liaison from one of the participating agencies that can serve as a resource to help you navigate the federal grant application process.

  2. IMCP will take your manufacturing strategy to the next level: Manufacturing is experiencing a renaissance. Over the past 5 years, American manufacturing has created nearly 800,000 jobs. The low-paid, gritty, back-breaking labor of the industrial revolution looks nothing like today’s manufacturing.  For the first time in more than 10 years, both manufacturing output and employment are growing. Today’s manufacturing workforce are innovative, highly skilled, well paid employees in highly technical industries, with workers earning 17 percent more than similar workers in other sectors. This resurgence is great for the economy as a whole. For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, the sector generates $1.32 for the U.S. economy.

  3. Increased cooperation among your region: At the core of the manufacturing community designation is the idea that your region is forming effective partnerships and working across sectors (public, private, academic) on issues relating to workforce development, supply chain, research and innovation, trade and international investment, and access to capital. Making these connections is invaluable for strengthening your local economy, attracting investment, and creating jobs. We witnessed an incredible buzz and enthusiasm among designated communities, applicants, and other participants at our IMCP Summit held last October. It was a showcase of economic collaboration at its best.

  4. You’re in good company: The 12 communities designated in the first round of competition are doing some incredible innovative work! From automotive to aerospace, flooring to photonics, these diverse economic development plans are being implemented to boost the economies of regions across the country. To learn more about each community’s work and vision and the success of the designation, visit: http://www.eda.gov/challenges/imcp/index.htm

  5. You win by just applying: This may be a competition, but there are no “winners” or “losers” here. Everyone who applies benefits from the coordination and planning that is part of the application process. But don’t take our word for it – we heard from several of our first round applicants who were not designated that they found the process of simply applying to be very helpful. They were able to make new connections and access tools and resources to help start meaningful planning for their manufacturing sectors that has helped positioned them for success.   

These are just a few of the reasons to apply to be a designated manufacturing community. If you’re looking to strengthen your community’s manufacturing sector and regional economy, find your reason and start building your partnerships now. The deadline to apply is April 1, 2015. For more information visit: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-01-29/pdf/2015-01763.pdf

U.S. Census Bureau Releases Key Statistics for Super Bowl XLIX

U.S. Census Bureau Releases Key Statistics for Super Bowl XLIX

Super Bowl XLIX will be played Feb. 1 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. This will be the second time the NFL’s championship game will be held in Glendale and the third time in the Phoenix metropolitan area. To commemorate this event, the U.S. Census Bureau has compiled a collection of facts examining the demographics of the host metropolitan area, as well as the metro areas represented by the two participants — the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks.

New England (Patriots)

10th                             

Where Boston ranked on the list of the nation’s most populous metropolitan areas. The estimated population of the Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.-N.H., metro area on July 1, 2013, was 4,684,299. The Boston metro area gained 42,204 people from July 1, 2012, to July 1, 2013. At the time of the Patriots’ first season in 1960, the 1960 Census population for the city of Boston was 697,197.

Seattle (Seahawks)

15th                             

Where Seattle ranked on the list of the nation’s most populous metropolitan areas. The estimated population of the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., metro area on July 1, 2013, was 3,610,105. The Seattle area gained 57,514 people from July 1, 2012, to July 1, 2013. At the time of the Seahawks’ first season in 1976, the 1970 Census population for the city of Seattle was 530,831.

Host Site

12th

Where Phoenix ranked on the list of the nation’s most populous metropolitan areas. The estimated population of the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz., metro area on July 1, 2013, was 4,398,762. The Phoenix area gained 71,130 people from July 1, 2012, to July 1, 2013.

For more information, please go to the Census Bureau's Facts for Features or go to <http://quickfacts.census.gov> for more statistics about the cities involved. 

U.S. Manufacturing Attracts Foreign Investment

U.S. Manufacturing Attracts Foreign Investment

By Mark Schmit, National Accounts Manager, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership

The United States is an attractive destination for foreign investment dollars for a variety of reasons, including a large economy with diverse consumer markets, a skilled labor force (thanks to community colleges with skill-development missions as well as research universities) and a predictable and stable regulatory system. These reasons and more explain why the U.S. has been the world’s largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) since 2006 according to an October 2013 White House report, Foreign Direct Investment in the U.S.

Working for NIST’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), I wasn’t surprised to learn that the manufacturing industry is the largest beneficiary of FDI in the United States, accounting for more than one-third of that investment, according to data from the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. “Made in America” is, after all, a de facto stamp of approval the world over. We are a manufacturer’s dream!

And investments in manufacturing have powerful multiplier effects on the U.S. economy. Every $1 spent in manufacturing generates $1.35 in additional economic activity. Since 1988, MEP has been committed to strengthening U.S. manufacturing and individual manufacturers, contributing to the growth of well-paying jobs, the development of dynamic manufacturing communities, and the enhancement of American innovation and global competitiveness. 

MEP delivers its own high return on investment to taxpayers. For every dollar of federal investment, MEP clients generate nearly $19 in new sales, which translates into $2.5 billion annually. Last year, MEP centers served more than 30,000 manufacturing clients—a subset of which are foreign-owned. For example, since 2012, MEP centers worked on 900 projects with 322 manufacturers in the U.S. that have ownership ties to other countries. These projects helped those companies create and retain more than $700 million dollars in sales, save about $77 million and create or retain more than 6,000 U.S. jobs.

Fast-Paced Foreign Direct Investment from India

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker (center), poses with Mr. Sidharth Birla, former president of the Federation of Indian Chambers for Commerce and Industry, and Dr. Jyotsna Suri, current President of FICCI and Bharat Hotels Chairwoman

Guest blog post by Vinai Thummalapally, Executive Director of the SelectUSA Program.

I recently had the great pleasure of participating in an exciting event with Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in New Delhi. Hosted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the event brought together business leaders, investors, and national business associations from across India. I had the opportunity to hear their ideas and share in their excitement about India’s fast-growing foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States.

India is now the fourth fastest-growing source of FDI into the United States, with a stock of $11 billion in investments as of 2013. As the latest available data show, FDI from India provides:

  • Jobs: U.S. subsidiaries of Indian firms employed more than 43,800 workers in the United States in 2012, with an average yearly compensation of $69,800, well above the national average.
  • Innovative R&D: In 2011, U.S. subsidiaries of Indian firms invested $46 million in research and development in the United States.
  • U.S. Exports: U.S. subsidiaries of Indian firms exported goods worth more than $2 billion from the United States in 2012.

These figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis represent real stories of thriving businesses creating real jobs. SelectUSA, the U.S. government-wide program created to facilitate investment in the United States, has assisted several Indian companies as they sought to set up operations locally.

For example, Shri Govindaraja Textiles, or SG Mills, is a third-generation, family-owned business. The group is the largest spinner in India with a total workforce of 30,000 employees.  Last year, SelectUSA and the U.S. Commercial Service office in New Delhi, helped company management develop and execute a work plan as they considered investing in the United States.  Recently, SG Mills opened its first U.S.-based operation in Eden, North Carolina, and announced plans to invest more than $40 million during the next two years. 

Honoring Our Outstanding Employees

Honoring Our Outstanding Employees

Guest blog post from U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews

Yesterday, I had the honor of presenting awards to outstanding employees at the Commerce Department’s 66th annual Gold and Silver Honor Awards ceremony. 

The Gold and Silver Honor Awards are the highest honor that the agency can give to a Commerce Department employee. They showcase the extraordinary skills and talents of the best and brightest employees of the Department. These employees strive to make a profound difference through their work by not just setting goals, but exceeding goals, and they are models of the very best in excellence in public service.  

While I was reading through the list of honorees before the event, I was struck by how many of the award winners are teams. Success is a team sport. And the winners worked together to move Commerce’s mission forward. That is what makes the Department of Commerce one of the best places to work in the entire federal government, as awarded by the Partnership for Public Service last year. 

It was an esteemed privilege to honor these exceptional employees who demonstrated their skill, commitment, passion and professionalism throughout the country. Through tireless trials and commitment to the improvement of the safety, security, prosperity, and quality of life of our citizens and our nation, this new legion of trailblazers developed rapid forensic DNA typing techniques that enables state of the art human identity testing and DNA biometrics to leading the development of an innovative consensus framework to improve the cybersecurity of our nation's critical infrastructure. They also (in a sheer show of heroism) performed a lifesaving rescue of an adult and dog trapped in an apartment fire. 

Whether by individual, agency, office, laboratory or team effort, they came together in support of a single historic mission – to improve the conditions for American businesses to grow, prosper, and create new jobs.  

The Gold Medal Award recognizes distinguished performance characterized by extraordinary, notable or prestigious contributions that impacted the mission of the Department of Commerce. The Silver Medal Award and second highest honor recognizes exceptional performance characterized by noteworthy or superlative contributions that have a direct and lasting impact within the Department. 

Both awards are given in the categories of leadership, personal and professional excellence, scientific/engineering achievement, organizational development, customer service, administrative/technical support, and heroism.  

Counties as Partners in Investment Decisions- NACo’s 2014 County Economic Tracker

Counties as Partners in Investment Decisions- NACo’s 2014 County Economic Tracker

Guest Blog post by Emilia Istrate, PhD, Director of Research and Outreach, National Association of Counties

County economies are the building blocks of regional economies (metropolitan areas and micropolitan areas), states and the nation. County governments ensure the functioning of these fundamental units of the U.S. economy by building and maintaining basic infrastructure assets, keeping communities healthy and safe and providing the social safety net for those in need. Counties invest almost $500 billion annually in the services provided to their residents and local communities.

To better understand the dynamics within each county economy, the National Association of Counties (NACo) released earlier this month the 2014 County Economic Tracker: Progress through Adversity, an analysis of the recovery patterns across the 3,069 county economies in 2014. The conditions of a county economy can constrain and challenge county governments, residents and businesses, while also providing opportunities.

The full analysis can be found at www.naco.org/countyeconomies. To access the companion interactive maps and the individualized county profiles, go to NACo’s County Explorer interactive map at www.naco.org/countyexplorer. The January update of NACo’s interactive tool features the economic data from the County Economic Tracker analysis.

The 2014 County Economic Tracker analyzes annual changes of four economic performance indicators— economic output (GDP), employment, unemployment rates and home prices — between 2013 and 2014 across the 3,069 county economies.  In addition, it explores 2012-2013 wage dynamics, taking into account the effect of local cost-of-living and inflation on average annual wages in county economies.

We saw significant growth in 2014.   The economic output (GDP) in 55 percent of all county economies recovered or did not decline over the last decade. Home prices were in a similar situation. Job growth accelerated and 63 percent of county economies witnessed faster job gains than in 2013. This job growth helped unemployment decline in almost all county economies during the last year. However, there is still work that needs to be done to help the economy recover to pre-recession levels, when it comes to unemployment rates.

The economic recovery is starting to spread.   

Secretary Pritzker Focuses on Strengthening Bilateral Commercial Relationship, Increasing Foreign Direct Investment During Trip to India

Secretary Pritzker Focuses on Strengthening Bilateral Commercial Relationship, Increasing Foreign Direct Investment During Trip to India

Secretary Pritzker today concluded a three-day trip to India, where she was honored to join the U.S. delegation traveling with President Obama. During the trip, she announced the expansion of the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue to a Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD), reflecting the two countries’ commitment to strengthening commercial and economic ties. Secretary Pritzker will chair the new commercial components of the Dialogue.

 The elevated S&CD establishes a framework that will strengthen the U.S.-India relationship and create new avenues of cooperation between our governments, our businesses and our peoples. The new commercial element of our most important bilateral dialogue will focus on our shared priorities of growing our economies, creating good jobs, and strengthening our middle class. 

While the S&CD will be used to produce concrete results, the dialogue will also ensure that American and Indian businesses – small, medium and large – are in a position to capitalize on abundant opportunities that exist in both countries. In addition, the United States and India will use the dialogue to promote more trade and investment between both nations and to identify new opportunities for economic and commercial cooperation that will improve the lives of American and Indian citizens. 

To build upon this announcement, Secretary Pritzker led a SelectUSA discussion with Indian CEOs interested in increasing their investments in the United States. The event was hosted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), India’s largest and oldest business organization, which was established in 1927. FICCI draws its membership from the public and private sectors, as well as various regional chambers of commerce. During the discussion, Secretary Pritzker emphasized that there is no better time to invest in the United States. She also highlighted the role that organizations such as FICCI and its member companies play in supporting SelectUSA’s efforts to promote more foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States. SelectUSA is a government-wide program, housed within the Department of Commerce, and will be hosting the SelectUSA Investment Summit on March 23-24, 2015. 

Caroline Atkinson, Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics, Arun Kumar, Director General of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, and Vinai Thummalapally, Executive Director of SelectUSA also joined Secretary Pritzker at the SelectUSA event. 

DOC Operating Status for January 27, 2015

Categories:

This message applies to Tuesday, January 27, 2015.

In accordance with the Office of Personnel Management’s Operating Status, Department of Commerce offices in the Washington, DC area are OPEN under 2 hours DELAYED ARRIVAL and employees have the OPTION FOR UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK. Employees should plan to arrive for work no more than 2 hours later than they would be expected to arrive.

Non-Emergency Employees who report to the office will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for up to 2 hours past their expected arrival time. In accordance with their bureau/operating unit’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements (as consistent with law), non-emergency employees may notify their supervisor of their intent to use:

  1. earned annual leave, compensatory time off, credit hours, or sick leave, as appropriate;
  2. leave without pay;
  3. their alternative work schedule (AWS) day off or rearrange their work hours under flexible work schedules; or
  4. unscheduled telework (if telework-ready).

(Employees who request unscheduled leave will be charged leave for the entire workday.)

Telework-Ready Employees who are regularly scheduled to perform telework or who notify their supervisor of their intention to perform unscheduled telework must be prepared to telework for the entire workday, or take unscheduled leave, or a combination of both, for the entire workday in accordance with their bureau/operating unit’s agency's policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements (as consistent with law).

Pre-approved Leave. Employees on pre-approved leave for the entire workday or employees who requested unscheduled leave for the entire workday will be charged leave for the entire day.

Emergency Employees are expected to report to their worksite on time unless otherwise directed by their agencies.

More information and details on Operating Status can be viewed online at http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/snow-dismissal-procedures/current-status/,

Personnel may also contact the DOC Status Line at 202-482-7400 for recorded updates regarding changes in the Department of Commerce’s operating status.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Joins President Obama in Calls for More Trade and Investment with India

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Joins President Obama in Calls for More Trade and Investment with India

As part of President Obama’s official delegation to India, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker joined the President and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi at the U.S.-India Business Summit where they addressed a large group from both the U.S. and Indian private sectors on ways to expand market access and increase opportunities for U.S. firms through improvements in India’s business climate. Secretary Pritzker specifically addressed how Commerce can play a role in helping U.S. companies gain access to the Indian market and announced the expansion of the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue to now become the U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue. Along with Secretary of State John Kerry, Pritzker will lead this new diplomatic effort with the Indian government designed to promote more trade and investment between the two countries. 

Today at the U.S.-India Business Summit, President Obama, Prime Minister Modi, and Secretary Pritzker spoke with more than 40 CEOs and officials during a roundtable meeting. They discussed the business and investment climate in India and ways to increase commercial and economic cooperation. During the roundtable, President Obama touted burgeoning U.S. exports to India and said the two countries are moving in the right direction, while calling for even more trade and investment. Obama also stressed the factthat U.S. companies want consistency and clarity in the regulatory and tax environment in India. Prime Minister Modi and President Obama expressed confidence that continued bilateral collaboration will increase opportunities for investment, improve bilateral trade and investment ties and lead to the creation of jobs and prosperity in both economies. Secretary Pritzker joined both the President and Prime Minister in discussing ways in which U.S. companies could improve India’s infrastructure. 

Recognizing the important role that both countries play in promoting peace and security in the Asia-Pacific Region, President Obama and Minister Modi announced a India-U.S. Delhi Declaration of Friendship. The declaration specifically calls on India’s Minister of Trade and Commerce and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to work together towards strengthening commercial and economic ties to advance mutual prosperity, regional economic growth and stability. 

Earlier in the day, Secretary Pritzker joined the President and Prime Minister at India’sannual Republic Day Parade and in a wreath laying ceremony in memory of unknown soldiers. Following the day’s business summit and dialogue, Secretary Pritzker hosted a private reception with U.S. and Indian business leaders and discussed next steps for improving U.S. access to the Indian market.  

In July 2014, Secretary Pritzker participated in the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue, along with Secretary of State John Kerry, the first U.S. Cabinet-level visit to India since Prime Minister Modi’s election. There, she led discussions on helping strengthen economic ties between the two nations. 

New Technologies Bring New Opportunities and New Risks: Vetting Mobile Apps

New Technologies Bring New Opportunities and New Risks: Vetting Mobile Apps

By Tom Karygiannis, Computer Security Researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology

Understanding what mobile apps do and how they have been implemented is the first step toward understanding their security and privacy impact on an agency’s data and IT infrastructure.

Just as consumers are enjoying productivity gains from the use of smart phones and the myriad of mobile apps available today, so are government employees enjoying the convenience of being able to use apps to check weather, increase office productivity, update social media and more while on the go and outside the confines of their office. These technologies introduce new capabilities and even new ways of conducting business, but they also may introduce new risks that must be carefully assessed by security and privacy professionals.

Today NIST published guidance to help government agencies perform security and privacy assessments on mobile apps. Special Publication 800-163 - Vetting the Security of Mobile Applications, while intended for a government audience, can also benefit private industry app developers and enterprise security professionals.

The document is designed to help organizations understand the process for vetting the security of mobile applications, plan for the implementation of an app vetting process, develop app security requirements, understand the types of app vulnerabilities and the testing methods used to detect them, and determine if an app is acceptable for deployment on the organization's mobile devices.

The guidelines describe vulnerabilities and poor programming practices for both Android and iOS devices. Many of these vulnerabilities can be addressed through other security technologies, but each agency may have a different risk tolerance level depending on its mission. Ultimately, each must establish its own mobile app security and privacy policies. The decision on whether an app is suitable for an organization’s employees begins by understanding the app—for example, what personal information it collects and with whom it is shared, or if the app can access the microphone, track the user’s location or access the user’s contact list. Once this is understood, security and privacy officers can take steps to mitigate these risks, educate their employees and make informed decisions.

The guidance was developed with input from government agencies, software assurance tool vendors, original equipment manufacturers, telecommunication carriers, universities and security practitioners. Not every agency or organization may have the in-house expertise to evaluate the security of each mobile app, which is why collaboration is so important and why guidance such as this is valuable.

Having guidelines on how to test mobile apps helps software assurance analysts avoid ad hoc manual testing, helps industry respond to government requirements, and helps the people responsible for keeping data safe understand the risks of using mobile apps.

When users download apps to their personal devices, they are usually willing to accept some risk, rarely read the app privacy policies and certainly cannot be expected to be software assurance experts. But government employees who are trusted with sensitive data must make sure that data they collect, share and store is protected against unauthorized disclosure. NIST SP-800-163 provides the guidelines that can help an agency make informed decisions to strike a balance between potential productivity gains and any new privacy or security risks that may result from the installation and use of the mobile app.