Today, three days after attending the president’s State of the Union address, Commerce Secretary and former CEO John Bryson traveled to Columbus, Ohio, where he toured Entrotech, a manufacturing facility, and met with local business leaders. The Secretary also toured EWI before giving brief remarks about the Department of Commerce’s focus on supporting American manufacturers so they are able to build their products in America and sell them everywhere around the globe.
Following his remarks, the Secretary participated in a White House Business Council Roundtable discussion with business leaders. The final stop was at the Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, directly adjacent to Ohio States campus, where the Secretary saw old innovations, such as one of the first Xerox copiers, to the latest technologies in development.
The Commerce Department’s SelectUSA program is helping ensure that more domestic and foreign firms are investing here in the U.S. We want to build on the momentum that we see in bringing jobs back. That’s exactly what companies like Entrotech are poised to do. They are generating innovative ideas on product design and development that can change entire industries, making them more globally competitive.
Secretary Bryson noted that business leaders across the country say it is difficult to find skilled workers. Education and training was a key part of a report that Commerce just released on how America can unleash more innovation and competitiveness. The reports found that in recent years, only about 13 percent of U.S. college graduates got degrees in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM). This is much lower than other countries like Korea and Germany, at 25 percent.
In order to help increase the number of STEM students, the administration continues to push to make college more affordable, including preventing an increase in student loan rates as well as making permanent a tax credit for tuition. And companies like Entrotech, which runs a great intern program giving students from Ohio State University invaluable real world experience, are helping to build an American workforce that will be able to do the jobs of tomorrow.
Only with a sharp focus on innovation, and on an educated workforce to support that innovation, will we build a 21st century economy that allows American businesses to flourish in an increasingly competitive global market.