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Fact Sheet: Department of Commerce FY 2011 Accomplishments

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CONNECTING U.S. BUSINESSES TO COMMERCE SERVICES  
Launched in 2009, the Department of Commerce’s Commerce Connect program has helped businesses more easily access the 70+ programs at the Department of Commerce. In 2011, CommerceConnect extended its local reach to a total of 17 locations across the country. CommerceConnect engaged over 770 business clients (vs. 90 clients in FY 2010); and provided over 1,160 referrals (vs. 333 referrals in FY 2010) to Department and other Federal, state, local, and non-profit programs that address their specific needs. Approximately 75 percent of the referrals made have been acted upon by clients.

PROMOTING U.S. EXPORTS AND PROTECTING UNFAIR TRADE PRACTICES
The International Trade Administration (ITA) continued to strengthen the economy by promoting exports and protecting against unfair trade practices. In 2011, ITA assisted over 20,000 companies with export transactions worth over $54 billion. Additionally, ITA successfully removed 56 trade barriers in 31 different countries that have directly benefitted U.S. industry and competitiveness, and has issued 268 anti-dumping and countervailing duty determinations covering a variety of products. On average, every government dollar invested in this program has generated $172 of exports.

COORDINATING FEDERAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS
The Economic and Development Administration (EDA) championed two interagency funding competitions:  the i6 Green challenge and the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. The i6 Green Challenge combined the resources of six different agencies in order to encourage and reward innovative approaches to accelerating technology commercialization, new venture formation, job creation, and economic growth across the United States. The Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge leveraged the resources of 16 different federal agencies to support the development and implementation of locally driven economic development strategies that foster the development of high-growth clusters and accelerate the benefits of regional innovation cluster-based economic development.

DEVELOPING AND DEPLOYING ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES
With a focus on measurement science, standards, and technology, the laboratories and programs of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provide the tools and infrastructure critical to enable the innovation, development, and deployment of advanced technologies. In 2011, NIST published a set of approved procedures for testing information technology (IT) systems for electronic health records which are necessary to create confidence in and accelerate deployment of the technology. NIST also issued draft recommendations for securely configuring and using technologies for cloud computing. NIST also led government efforts on developing standards for data portability, cloud interoperability, and security.

EXPANDING BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS AND ADOPTION
Early in 2011, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), in collaboration with the Federal Communications Commission, launched the National Broadband Map. This map publicly displays the geographic areas where broadband service is available; the technology used to provide the service; the speeds of the service; and broadband service availability at public schools, libraries, hospitals, colleges, universities, and public buildings. The map will be a valuable tool in bridging the technological divide and expanding economic opportunities.

REALIZING A 21ST CENTURY PATENT SYSTEM
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) continues to work toward a 21st century patent system that is smarter, better, faster, and stronger for all stakeholders. For the first time in several years, the number of patent applications awaiting first action dropped below 700,000—an important milestone that shows USPTO is helping to usher technological innovations from the drawing board into the economic sphere more quickly. USPTO also issued its 8,000,000th patent, an important signal of the technological vigor and creative industry underpinning a healthy and highly-productive U.S. intellectual property system.

PROVIDING ACCURATE AND TIMELY ECONOMIC AND DEMOGRAPHIC DATA
The Bureau of Economic Analysis and the U.S. Bureau of the Census continued to upgrade the quality and availability of critical economic and demographic information for policymakers, business leaders, and the public.

In FY 2011, for the first time ever, the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey released five-year estimates, comprised of data collected from 2005 to 2009. These estimates are now available for every state, county, city, town, place, American Indian Area, Alaska Native Area, and Hawaiian Home Land, as well as for census tracts and block groups across America.

In FY 2011, ESA released reports on women’s economic and social well being, foreign direct investment, intellectual property and patent reform, broadband usage, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) employment.

PROTECTING LIVES, PROPERTY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) exceeded warning performance targets for the May 22, 2011 violent tornado that devastated a large portion of Joplin, MO. NWS first forecasted severe weather for the Joplin area three days in advance, and issued a Tornado Watch four hours prior to the tornado and a Tornado Warning with lead time of 24 minutes before the tornado entered Joplin, which exceeded average warning lead times for all tornadoes occurring in FY 2011 by ten minutes.

NOAA, the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the new industry-led “Partnership to Retrieve Derelict Fishing Gear in Oregon” in August 2011. The original ARRA-supported project, from June 2009 to June 2011, supported approximately 10,000 hours of work for commercial fisherman, state employees, and other project partners in Oregon coastal communities. Of the crab pots recovered, 98 percent were returned to their owners and therefore those fishermen did not need to buy replacement gear – at an average savings of approximately $200 per pot. The rest were recycled through the Fishing for Energy program. Recognizing the benefits provided to fishermen and the community, the industry decided to continue funding this program in partnership with NOAA after the ARRA funds were expended.