Guest blog post by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Development and Chief Operating Officer for Economic Development Administration Matt Erskine
Hundreds of small business owners, community leaders, and state and local elected officials in Atlanta, Georgia, convened during the first in a series of White House Community Partnership Summits today for the opportunity to meet face to face with senior Obama administration officials and discuss key local issues.
I had the pleasure of representing the Commerce Department and engage participants about steps the administration is taking to promote economic and job growth in Georgia and across America. I especially enjoyed the open space dialogues where participants set the agenda and identify action steps with officials.Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and General Services Administration Administrator Martha Johnson highlighted key aspects of the president’s economic agenda. More than 60 federal officials met with summit participants to address pressing issues facing their community. I focused on job creation, economic recovery and workforce development and shared information about federal resources, such as Commerce's Atlanta CommerceConnect  center: a one-stop-shop initiative to cut through red tape and simplify access to services and resources that can help companies grow, create jobs, and become more efficient.
The Obama administration continues to make significant investments—particularly in manufacturing—throughout Georgia to accelerate economic recovery, spur small business expansion and get people back to work. Advanced manufacturing is a critical component of Atlanta’s economy and will enhance the region’s capacity to make products locally and sell them everywhere. Administration investments in emerging sectors have helped to increase regional competitiveness.
An i6 Challenge  investment to the Global Center for Medical Innovation  (GCMI) from Commerce’s Economic Development Administration in 2010 has generated a significant return on investment and leveraged millions in private sector investment. A public-private partnership, GCMI has leveraged the federal funds to build and equip a prototyping design and development facility that will accelerate the commercialization of next-generation medical devices. The company is a partnership of four of Georgia’s leading research and health care organizations: the Georgia Institute of Technology, Saint Joseph’s Translational Research Institute (SJTRI), Piedmont Healthcare, and the Georgia Research Alliance.
Through the work of GCMI, researchers and entrepreneurs across Georgia and the Southeast have access to technology to quickly turn their ideas into medical device products and create new jobs. Regions around the country are working to link education and industry to create innovative products and grow the advanced manufacturing economy in their communities.
The administration is proud to partner with local leaders to help advance their economic recovery efforts and will use the White House Community Partnership summits to listen and further collaborate to identify solutions and increase opportunity for every American.