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Blog Entries from 2015

Former Secretaries of Commerce Urge Congress to Pass Trade Promotion Authority

Former Secretaries of Commerce Urge Congress to Pass Trade Promotion Authority

Guest blog post by William M. Daley, former Secretary of Commerce (1997-2000)

Free trade agreements are critical to strengthening American competitiveness, spurring economic growth, and bolstering job creation. With the trade agreements we currently have in place, U.S. exports hit a record-high for the fifth straight year in 2014, reaching $2.34 trillion and supporting 11.7 million American jobs. Goods exports to the 20 economies that have trade agreements with the United States reached a record $765.1 billion in 2014– an increase of 4.3 percent from 2013. 

As Commerce Secretary under President Clinton, I led a number of efforts to open new markets to U.S. goods and services, and to help American companies navigate the trade landscape in foreign countries. I visited more than 40 countries to promote U.S. exports, expanded the Department's overseas commercial staff to support U.S. exporters, and aggressively monitored the impact of trade practices of other nations on U.S. business and workers. I saw firsthand how free trade agreements benefited American businesses, and supported good-paying jobs for American workers.  

We must ensure that President Obama can utilize the same tools to negotiate and implement new trade agreements that have been afforded to every President since President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s. Along with nine other Commerce Secretaries whose tenures span back to 1973,  we all agree – passing Trade Promotion Authority is not a Democratic or Republican request; it is a bipartisan issue that Congress must address now.

The letter from the former Secretaries of Commerce is included below:

As former Secretaries of Commerce, we strongly support Trade Promotion Authority for President Obama. From our experience, it is critically important for American businesses to access new customer markets while staying competitive in the world economy. American companies grow and succeed in the global market place through high-quality high-standard trade agreements that help our firms gain access to new overseas markets. With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside the United States, we must not allow opportunities to pass us by.

The Innovative and Useful U.S. Cluster Mapping Tool (Video)

When you think of business and investment opportunities in the United States, where’s the best place to start?  America is made up of 50 states plus territories and each location has its own unique economic profile. The U.S. Cluster Mapping Tool, a combined effort of the Harvard Business School and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, is THE starting place for anyone looking to expand their business in the U.S. The free, online Cluster Mapping tool uses more than 50 million data records to help you identify industry regional clusters and make informed investment decisions.

USPTO to Host Patent Quality Summit March 25-26

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is holding a Patent Quality Summit on March 25 and 26 at its headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, and public participation is key to its success. The two-day event is an opportunity for the public to provide their thoughts about patent quality in order to guarantee the most efficient prosecution and processes, and to ensure the issuance of the highest quality patents. The event will include discussions with USPTO leadership, experts from the agency, industry, and academia, and sessions for brainstorming ideas to enhance patent quality.

The Patent Quality Summit is the kickoff event for the USPTO’s comprehensive new Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative, which supports three Enhanced Patent Quality pillars: (1) excellence in work products; (2) excellence in measuring patent quality; and (3) excellence in customer service. High quality patents contribute to maintaining a strong U.S. economy by providing inventors and companies the chance to develop their technologies, grow their businesses, and expand sales of their products.

“High quality patents permit certainty and clarity of rights, which in turn fuels innovation and reduces needless litigation,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee. “Our Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative will allow us to further improve patent quality through direct and ongoing engagement.”

Public feedback is pivotal in making both the Patent Quality Summit and Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative successful. The USPTO wants to hear from everyone, from longtime patent owners to Main Street retailers who may have only recently begun to focus on patents; from patent prosecutors to patent litigators; and from patent applicants to patent licensees. By engaging all stakeholders, the USPTO is working to build a world-class patent quality system together.

The Patent Quality Summit is free of charge and open to all. A variety of topics will be covered, and when registering, participants can specify whether they will attend in person or via webinar, and which sessions they would like to participate in. Those unable to participate in person or by webinar are encouraged to provide their ideas via email to WorldClassPatentQuality[at]uspto[dot]gov on or before May 6, 2015, and will also be able to view the recording of the event on the Patent Quality Summit page of the USPTO website. The USPTO is eager to hear public input on patent quality, and is planning additional events throughout the country in the upcoming year.

2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit Off to a Roaring Start

Secretary Pritzker welcomes President Barack Obama to the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit

With more than 2,600 people from more than 70 markets, and economic development organizations from all corners of the United States, the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit has record attendance. In fact, it is more than twice as large as the inaugural 2013 event and reflects growing global interest in the United States as a place to launch and expand operations, invest in research and development, and create jobs.

Day One of the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit just concluded and what an exciting day it was. We were honored to have President Obama speak and announce some new initiatives to make investing and expanding within the United States even easier.

He announced that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will increase clarity around the adjudication of the L-1B non-immigrant visa that allows international companies to temporarily deploy workers with specialized knowledge to the United States when launching or conducting operations here. This long-anticipated policy guidance is of particular interest to global companies participating in today's SelectUSA Investment Summit.

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker will establish the first-ever federal advisory committee to solicit formal input on the development and implementation of strategies and programs to attract and retain foreign direct investment in the United States.

Finally, SelectUSA will continue to improve investment tools, enhance trainings for investors, and expand partnerships with state economic development organizations. A new partnership platform will improve state-federal coordination, inform SelectUSA services and programs, and promote high standards in investment-promotion activities across the country.

Promoting Broadband Across the Federal Government

At the U.S. Department of Commerce, we have witnessed first-hand the power of broadband to drive economic growth and innovation, open up new employment opportunities for Americans across the income spectrum and expand access to everything from education to healthcare to government services.

That’s why we see investing in broadband – and digital inclusion – as a critical part of our ongoing push to sustain the economic recovery and build the critical infrastructure that our nation needs to remain competitive in the 21st century. A top priority of the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration is to work with communities across the country to ensure that all their citizens have access to high-speed Internet connectivity and the skills to use it to improve their lives.

Building on the Administration’s efforts to close the digital divide, the White House today announced a new interagency working group – called the Broadband Opportunity Council – to promote broadband investment and coordinate broadband policy across the federal government. The council will include representatives from 25 federal agencies and departments, and will be co-chaired by the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Agriculture. NTIA will spearhead work on the new program for the Commerce Department.

The Broadband Opportunity Council is the latest initiative in the Administration’s push to increase investment in our nation’s critical infrastructure, including roads, bridges, ports, drinking water and sewer systems and, of course, broadband networks.

A key mandate of the new council will be to survey government agencies to create a comprehensive inventory of federal programs, including federal funding options, that are currently available to support broadband or could be modified to do so. The council will also examine existing government policies and regulations, including permitting requirements and rights-of-way restrictions, to recommend changes to remove barriers to investment.

In addition, the council will solicit input from local officials, industry leaders and other stakeholders on ways that the federal government can incentivize broadband investment, drive competition and remove regulatory and policy barriers at the community level.

The Broadband Opportunity Council will complement the work of NTIA’s BroadbandUSA program, which is providing support to communities across the country seeking to expand broadband capacity and utilization. The BroadbandUSA initiative – highlighted byPresident Obama at an event in Iowa in January – builds on lessons learned and best practices from NTIA’s successful Recovery Actbroadband grant programs. Those programs have invested more than $4 billion in network infrastructure, public computer centers, digital literacy training and broadband mapping over the past six years. As of the second quarter of 2014, NTIA-funded projects had built or upgraded 113,500 miles of fiber and fixed wireless connections, hooked up 25,300 schools, libraries and other anchor institutions, and produced 671,600 new household broadband subscriptions.

Innovation and Software are the Reasons to Select the USA

Eric A. Spiegel, President and CEO, Siemens USA

Guest blog post by Eric A. Spiegel, President and CEO, Siemens USA

Today, as part of the Select USA Investment Summit, I had the honor of joining an impressive group of business leaders, international investors and experts for an in-depth conversation about how innovation and R&D is helping to fuel private sector investment, and why the United States is poised for tremendous growth. 

I’d like to applaud U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker for bringing together more than 2,500 participants representing 60 countries, drawing international attention to the U.S. as a premier country to invest in at such an optimal time.  International companies representing countries from around the globe, such as Germany, contribute largely to Federal Direct Investment (FDI) and find the U.S. an attractive place to invest.  And Siemens does too.

To give you a little bit of background, Siemens is one of the world’s oldest and biggest companies.  Having been in the U.S. for over 150 years, we currently employ nearly 50,000 people throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico.  We have more than 70 manufacturing sites in the U.S. and invest more than $1 billion annually in R&D here. 

The U.S. has become an innovation engine for Siemens.  It is not only our largest market, but is also an extremely vital production location, one of our most important research centers and a key base from which we export to the rest of the world.  Siemens has invested over $35 billion in America over the past decade, including over $10 billion in the past year alone.

So why invest in the U.S.?  As a global company, when we are looking for a new location to invest or to manufacture, we consider many factors and there are several which are unique to the U.S. market, giving it a leg up on the competition.

  1. Strong ecosystem for innovation and R&D
  2. World-class colleges and universities
  3. Leadership in software and the digital economy

It’s clear that the primary trait that sets the U.S. apart as a unique and unrivaled place to invest is an undeniable spirit of innovation. The U.S. has an environment of innovation, collaboration and talent that is unmatched anywhere in the world. 

International Trade Agreements Are Vital to Wisconsin Firm’s Continued Growth

International Trade Agreements Are Vital to Wisconsin Firm’s Continued Growth

Guest Blog Post by Jim Corkery, President of ACS

Recently I had the opportunity to meet Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and several US Senators and Representatives to talk about global trade. I strongly support the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation and want to share my views on how ACS has directly benefited from global trade.

We are an organization offering engineering, equipment fabrication and construction management solutions to companies who develop and test engines and vehicles for worldwide distribution. Our office employees are highly skilled college graduates, most with engineering and advanced engineering degrees, and our manufacturing employees have specialized skilled trades expertise.  Although we have fewer than 150 employees, the global nature of business today means we have offices in Wisconsin, Michigan and South Carolina as well as in the UK and China.   Getting the rules of international trade right is not just theory for my company; it will help accelerate our growth.

The first way we benefit from global trade is when our US-based clients develop products for sale globally – we benefit through contracts to design and construct our clients’ R&D/Manufacturing centers here in the U.S.  These opportunities allow ACS to hire more engineering, manufacturing and support employees to accomplish this work. For example, we recently contracted with Cummins to design and build their R&D and Manufacturing test facilities for a new High Horsepower engine to be designed and manufactured in Seymour, Indiana. This facility serves as the global headquarters for the design and manufacture of this new engine with exports forecasted to be 80% of overall sales.

We have also had opportunities to design and construct international R&D/Manufacturing centers for our US-based clients. Typically we provide preliminary design in the US and then travel to the project countries to oversee final design and construction by local designers and contractors. We have designed and built laboratories for Caterpillar in the US, England, Northern Ireland and China, for Whirlpool in the US, Mexico, Poland and China, for John Deere in the US and Mexico, and for Cummins in the US, England, Romania and China.

SelectUSA Works for Puerto Rico

Alejandro J. García-Padilla, Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

Guest blog post by Alejandro J. García-Padilla, Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

Almost a year after we announced that Lufthansa Technik would establish an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in Puerto Rico, we are getting ready to celebrate the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit.

With an estimated economic impact of $2.2 billion over a 30-year period, Lufthansa Technik’s decision to establish an MRO site in Puerto Rico is a major strategic advancement for the Commonwealth’s economic development plan. The facility is well under construction and has secured JetBlue and Spirit Airlines as customers. The MRO is expected to begin servicing customers later this year.

Since I took office in January 2013, I have sought to diversify Puerto Rico’s economy by attracting foreign direct investment like Lufthansa Technik, a leading manufacturer and independent provider of technical services for the aviation industry.

And make no mistake, investing in Puerto Rico is investing in the United States. That is why, with the help of the Commerce Department’s Select USA program, we sought out Lufthansa Technik to create jobs that capitalize on the highly skilled workforce that our Island’s university system trains.

The MRO facility is helping to grow Puerto Rico’s aerospace and aviation industry, create high-skilled jobs, and stimulate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. By 2016, up to 400 highly skilled workers will be employed there. Puerto Rico now has the infrastructure to train new aircraft mechanics, with the brand new Aerospace and Aviation Institute of Puerto Rico under development.

This deal was just the beginning of an exciting partnership between Puerto Rico and SelectUSA.  The Lufthansa Technik site is causing a positive ripple effect in the economy, spurring the growth of MRO suppliers.

I also recently announced that business technology consulting firm Infosys BPO will open a new center in Puerto Rico to serve the Island’s growing aviation sector. This investment is another example of foreign direct investment brought on by the ripple effects of the Lufthansa MRO. Infosys will utilize this new center to deliver complex order-to-cash business processes for clients in the aviation industry and create over 200 jobs. The company is looking to further expand its footprint in the region to service clients in the federal government sector and the healthcare industry.

I commend the work of President Obama’s Administration, which was instrumental in bringing Lufthansa Technik to the United States and creating hundreds of well paid jobs in Puerto Rico. I also express my deep gratitude to Vice President Biden, Secretary Pritzker and the SelectUSA Program for making these investments a reality.

The investment from Lufthansa Technik and its impact in the economy are proof that SelectUSA works. We look forward to a long partnership with SelectUSA.  

SelectUSA 2015 Investment Summit Highlighting United States As Premier Investment Destination

There is no time like the present to invest in the United States. In fact, the U.S. is rated #1 in the latest A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index for the second year in a row, with the highest net positive rating in the index’s 16-year history. 

With an incredibly attractive consumer market, a thriving culture of innovation, and the most productive workforce, the U.S. has shown itself to be an economic powerhouse. Companies of all sizes – big or small, startup or multinational– can benefit from the ideas, resources, and markets the U.S. offers in order to become a globally competitive nation. Because of these reasons, the U.S. proudly welcomes international investment. 

When deciding to invest in the U.S., firms can look at five factors: 

  1. Market: The U.S. is home to the most attractive consumer market and serves as a competitive export hub to the rest of the world. Free trade agreements with 20 nations give U.S.-based exporters better access to markets with more potential consumers.
  2. Economic Growth: During 2013 to 2014, Real GDP grew at a 2.8 percent annual pace. The private sector successfully expands with the longest streak on record for job growth.
  3. Business-Friendly Environment: The U.S. offers a transparent, fair and stable business environment and thriving capital markets to support developing companies.
  4. Innovation: As a world leader in research and development (R&D) and intellectual property protection, the U.S. provides a productive environment for innovation. Firms can improve their competitiveness by associating with research institutions and employing leading-edge manufacturing techniques.
  5. Resources: There is a manufacturing renaissance occurring due to the diversified resources, low cost energy and a well-educated workforce. 

These compelling factors and more will be on display at the 2015 SelectUSA Summit next week.   The two-day Summit, March 23-24, is the premier event for those considering an investment. The event will feature nearly 600 representatives from nearly every state and territory, providing ample opportunity for investors to find the information needed to make investment decisions and connect with the right people at the domestic level. Many states, territories, cities, and regions are also hosting booths in the Summit exhibition hall to connect directly with investors.

All year round, SelectUSA coordinates federal agencies to address investor concerns relating to federal regulations. This year, representatives from 20 federal agencies will be on-site at a U.S. Government Pavilion in the Summit exhibition hall to meet face to face with investors, as well as state and local representatives. 

The Summit is at capacity with more than 2,600 people registered from more than 70 markets, doubling the size of the inaugural event in 2013. President Barack Obama will give the keynote address on the first day.  Other Administration officials delivering remarks include Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of the Treasury Jacob J. Lew, Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. Some of the world's top CEOs will be there to discuss the advantages of investing in America and the jobs it creates. Among the executives speaking at the event will be Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, and David Rubenstein, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, the world’s largest equity firm.

MBDA Expands Economic Footprint of Minority Businesses—Strengthening the Economy

Guest blog post by Carmen West, MBDA Business Development Specialist

For over 45 years MBDA has been working aggressively to expand the economic footprint of minority business enterprises, also known as MBEs.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners, these MBE firms contributed $1 trillion in total economic output and employed nearly six million Americans. These findings highlight that the economic contribution of these firms has a significant impact on the national economy.

MBDA helps firms to realize their full economic potential through technical assistance, public and private contracting opportunities, advocacy, research and education, and by serving as a strategic partner for growth and development. MBDA is the only Federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of our nation's 5.8 million minority businesses.

Since 2009, MBDA has assisted clients in accessing nearly $26 billion in contracts and capital, while helping them create and retain more than 60,000 jobs.  The bulk of this work is accomplished through our nationwide network of MBDA Business Centers.  Each center provides businesses with services to assist them in accessing capital, contracts, and new markets, as well as helping them to grow in size and scale.

Access to Capital

In 2014 MBDA created a new access to capital team to introduce our clients to alternative capital sources.  This work has been two-fold:  to educate clients and firms about the types of alternative financing available and to advocate on their behalf with the kind of resource partners that minority owned firms lack access to: venture capitalists, angel investors, mergers and acquisitions firms, and internet based platforms. 

Increasing Exporting

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker recently issued a report showing that U.S. goods and services exports supported more than 11.7 million jobs in 2014 - a new record. The new data showed that exports strengthen our economy and create good jobs, paying up to 18 percent more than non-export related positions.  In partnership with Ex-Im Bank nine MBDA Business Centers became loan originators for Global Credit Express offering short-term working capital loans to small business exporters.  Our work with exporting initiatives like Look South and Doing Business in Africa, has resulted in an increase in client requests for assistance with exporting, which showcases another way MBEs are helping to strengthen the U.S. economy.

To learn more about how MBDA works with U.S. companies in creating economic growth and recovery, visit

Reinvesting in America’s Supply Chain Innovation

Reinvesting in America’s Supply Chain Innovation

Guest blog post by Sue Helper, U.S. Department of Commerce, Chief Economist

It’s springtime, and during this season of growth and renewal another important renaissance is underway: a remarkable resurgence in American manufacturing.  Powering this growth are the small- and medium-sized businesses that comprise the U.S. manufacturing supply chain. 

President Obama in his State of the Union address earlier this year committed to supporting these small businesses.  This week, in Cleveland, OH, he made good on that promise, announcing a series of key manufacturing initiatives.  Additionally, a new White House-Department of Commerce report was released that examines the importance of reinvesting in America’s supply chain to enable innovation.  The report, “Supply Chain Innovation: Strengthening America’s Small Manufacturers,” identifies potential barriers as well as solutions – laying the path toward sustained manufacturing growth and strength, at home and abroad, now and into the future.

As described in our report, the resurgence in manufacturing has seen the addition of 877,000 jobs added since February 2010. Small firms play an increasingly important role in U.S. manufacturing, and now account for almost half of America’s manufacturing employment. Dense networks of these small manufacturers are vital to the process of taking a product from concept to market, and sharing manufacturing expertise along the supply chain is essential for the diffusion of the new products and innovative processes that give U.S. manufacturing its cutting edge. 

However, these small firms face barriers to innovation, a key element in strengthening U.S. competitiveness. While firms with fewer than 500 employees comprise 98 percent of all manufacturing firms, together they account for less than one-third of private-sector research and development (R&D) spending in manufacturing.  And because of these barriers to innovation, in their operations, small manufacturers are less than 60 percent as productive as their larger peers. Moreover, lack of innovative capability impacts small suppliers’ customers: the quality of end products is compromised and it takes longer for innovative technologies to get to market.

Customer firms have a critical role to play in cultivating the capabilities of small firms in their supply chains and encouraging fruitful cross-pollination of expertise across firms.  However, larger firms often under-invest in their suppliers because they fear improvements they pay for may end up benefitting their competitors, and because of conflicting internal goals.

Making U.S. Manufacturing Stronger

Making U.S. Manufacturing Stronger

Guest blog post by Phillip Singerman, Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

During his visit to Cleveland, Ohio, today, President Obama highlighted increased investment in a unique program that makes sure small and medium-size U.S. manufactures have the support they need to innovate, grow and succeed.

The president visited the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET), one of 60 centers across the country in the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).  MAGNET is one of the Ohio MEP affiliates located at Cleveland State University. These centers have helped manufacturers such as Ohio-based Wright Materials Research and Heather Moore Jewelry make improvements that led to the hiring of new staff, sped delivery of their products and generated new sales.

As a new report released by the White House (which was supported by our colleagues at the Economics and Statistics Administration) finds that small and medium-size companies like these form the backbone of America’s manufacturing supply chains and employ nearly half of all U.S. manufacturing workers.

There are many success stories in MEP’s 26-year history that demonstrate the benefits of investing in these manufacturers. And we plan to support many more. MEP has issued a Federal Funding Opportunity for non-profit organizations to operate centers in Alaska, Idaho, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. This is the second round of competitions in a multiyear effort to update MEP’s funding structure and will strengthen the network. We announced the first competition awardees in February 2015.

NIST’s MRI Measurement Tools to Help Diagnose Veterans’ Traumatic Brain Injuries

Brain wiring diagram made by high-definition fiber tracking magnetic resonance imaging (HDFT MRI) of water diffusion. The technique is useful for studies of traumatic brain injury.

More than 300,000 U.S. veterans have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury (TBI) in recent years, a legacy of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. But these numbers don’t tell the whole story. While severe TBI can be obvious, milder cases involving symptoms such as memory loss or inability to concentrate are difficult to confirm and treat.

Advanced imaging of the microscopic motion of water molecules in the brain shows promise for detecting these subtle injuries. A new study of TBI using this diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique will get a quality control boost from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which has been working in collaboration with other organizations for nearly a decade to improve quantitative measures for MRI.*

NIST has developed a series of MRI “phantoms” to enable measurements that can be traced to international standards.** Phantoms are stable reference objects designed to mimic human tissue responses to MRI, but in a predictable, repeatable way. They are used to calibrate MRI scanners.

As interest in quantitative MRI measurements grows, NIST phantoms are being tested around the world, used in U.S. clinical trials, and transferred to industry. The goal is to improve image comparisons across scanners, test sites and time, thereby enhancing quality of care and reducing medical costs. NIST has applied for a patent on its basic phantom design and use to help promote commercialization.***

NIST and collaborators have already developed a phantom for diffusion MRI, which is now being tested in Europe and the United States. “It has shown very good reproducibility so far,” NIST’s Michael Boss says. “Diffusion MRI can reveal differences between tumors and normal tissue. But until now, there has been no widely accepted phantom or traceability to standards. NIST’s expertise lies in phantom development and what characteristics they should have in order to determine sources of error and inform protocols to be used with MRI patients.”

A new quantitative MRI study, co-led by researchers from NIST and three other institutions, will look for evidence of brain injury in patients with suspected TBI. The two-year study is part of a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) effort to reliably diagnose TBI and predict outcomes and care needs. The study requires the creation of a new, head-sized MRI phantom to measureanisotropic diffusion, which tracks water molecules as they move in specific directions through the brain. Their motions can reveal structural information such as abnormalities in neural pathways. Nerve cell damage is believed to be a driving factor in TBI. Diffusion imaging has revealed changes in brain structure in some people with mild TBI; researchers say it has great potential to characterize and quantify the integrity of brain tissue.

U.S. Census Bureau Releases Key Statistics in Recognition of St. Patrick's Day

U.S. Census Bureau Releases Key Statistics in Recognition of St. Patrick's Day

Congress proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1991, and the President issues a proclamation commemorating the occasion each year.

Originally, a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into a celebration for all things Irish. The world’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade occurred on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish soldiers serving in the English military. This parade became an annual event, with President Truman attending in 1948. Following are a few key statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau in recognition of St. Patrick's Day. 

Population Distribution

33.3 million

Number of U.S. residents who claimed Irish ancestry in 2013. This number was more than seven times the population of Ireland itself (4.6 million). Irish was the nation’s second-most frequently reported European ancestry, trailing German.


Percentage of the population in Massachusetts that claimed Irish ancestry, which is among the highest in the nation. California has 2.5 million people claiming Irish ancestry, which is the highest of any state.

Irish-Americans Today


Percentage of people of Irish ancestry, 25 or older, who had a bachelor’s degree or higher. In addition, 93.6 percent of Irish-Americans in this age group had at least a high school diploma. For the nation as a whole, the corresponding rates were 29.6 percent and 86.6 percent, respectively.


Median income for households headed by an Irish-American, higher than the median household income of $52,250 for all households. In addition, 7.3 percent of family households of Irish ancestry were in poverty, lower than the rate of 11.6 percent for all Americans.

Secretary Pritzker Addresses Importance of Data to the Digital Economy and Announces Major Growth in Data Jobs Over Last Decade

Secretary Pritzker Addresses Importance of Data to the Digital Economy and Announces Major Growth in Data Jobs Over Last Decade

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today participated in three separate events at the 2015 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas underscoring the importance of entrepreneurs and small businesses to the economy. During her SXSW events, Secretary Pritzker highlighted how the U.S. Commerce Department invests in innovation, supports the digital economy and is helping provide American businesses and entrepreneurs with the tools they need to grow and hire.

Secretary Pritzker began the day by participating in a roundtable with business incubators, tenant startups and other startup stakeholders at the headquarters of RideScout, a smartphone app created to increase transportation efficiency. During the roundtable she listened to local business leaders and startups describe what the future of business incubation will look like, and the kind of investments and support they will need to successfully spin-out new companies. She was joined at the roundtable by the Department’s newly hired, first-ever Chief Data Officer Ian Kalin. Secretary Pritzker appointed Kalin to this role to help unleash more of the Commerce Department’s data to strengthen the nation’s economic growth. The new Chief Data Officer will work to make Commerce data easier to access, understand, and use, while also ensuring we maximize the return of data investments for businesses, entrepreneurs, government, taxpayers, and communities.

Following the roundtable, Secretary Pritzker participated in an armchair discussion entitled “Move Fast, Government, or Get Out the Way.” Before beginning the discussion Secretary Pritzker took a few moments to swear in Michelle K. Lee, as the new Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Lee is the first woman to hold this position in the more than 200 year history of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. After the swearing in ceremony, Secretary Pritzker participated in the armchair discussion with CEO John Steinberg. They discussed the importance of data to the U.S. economy and Secretary Pritzker also used the opportunity to announce the findings of a new Commerce Department report highlighting the importance of data jobs to the U.S. economy and the huge growth in these high-paying jobs over the past decade.  During the event, she also stressed the importance of re-tooling the patent system to adapt to the rate and pace of technology and fuel, not slow, innovation. 

North Carolina Attracts FDI in Manufacturing and Textiles

Under Secretary Stefan Selig (seond from left) participates in a ribbon cutting ceremony with North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (left) PEDS Legwear President and CEO Michael Penner and Walmart Vice President of U.S. Manufacturing Cindi Marsiglio

Cross blog post by Stefan M. Selig, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

On Wednesday afternoon, I delivered remarks in Hilderbran, North Carolina at a ribbon-cutting ceremony where we officially opened the new Canadian-based Peds® Legwear (PEDS) production facility. PEDS’ recent $16 million investment in the plant and new machinery has allowed the company to hire North Carolina factory workers who were previously laid off. By 2018, this new facility will bring more than 200 jobs to Hildebran, providing a lift to the local economy.

SelectUSA, our program to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), along with our Commercial Service Canada team, helped facilitate this deal. SelectUSA provided counseling to PEDS on how to navigate the federal regulatory process and also helped identify sources of federal funding. In addition to PEDS’ investment in the Hildebran facility, the company plans an additional $8 million venture, bringing their total investment in the United States to $24 million. In less than two weeks, similar FDI deals will be highlighted at this year’sSelectUSA Investment Summit, which will take place March 23-24.

In addition to ITA’s support, PEDS’ new investment is made possible because of a multi-year purchase order contract from Wal-Mart as part of the retailer’s commitment to buy domestically produced goods.

As I noted in my remarks—before an audience that included Michael Penner, president and CEO of Peds®Legwear; Cindi Marsiglio, Wal-Mart’s vice president of U.S. manufacturing; and North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory—PEDS’ investment in the facility shows our nation’s prowess to attract FDI.

Because the United States offers a transparent, fair, and stable business climate, as well as our second-to-none workforce, many global companies like PEDS are beginning to establish or expand operations here. In fact, in 2013, U.S. FDI inflows totaled $231 billion, of which $51 million was invested in U.S. textile and apparel manufacturing. In 2012, majority-owned U.S. affiliates of foreign firms accounted for $48 billion in R&D expenditures, exported $334 billion worth of U.S. goods exports, and employed nearly 6 million workers.

To keep the momentum, ITA will continue to develop opportunities for U.S. workers and businesses by promoting international trade, encouraging FDI, and working to foster a level playing field for American products and services.

U.S. Census Bureau Releases Key Statistics in Honor of Women's History Month

U.S. Census Bureau Releases Key Statistics in Honor of Women's History Month

National Women’s History Month’s roots go back to March 8, 1857, when women from New York City factories staged a protest over working conditions. International Women’s Day was first observed in 1909, but it wasn’t until 1981 that Congress established National Women’s History Week to be commemorated the second week of March. In 1987, Congress expanded the week to a month. Every year since, Congress has passed a resolution for Women’s History Month, and the President has issued a proclamation. Following are a few key statistics on women in the United States and the role they play in our labor force and economy.

161 million 

The number of females in the U.S. as of December 2013. The number of males was 156.1 million. 

75.1 million

The number of females 16 and older who participated in the civilian labor force in 2013. Women comprised 47.4 percent of the civilian labor force in 2013.


Percentage of social scientists who were women, the heaviest representation of women among all STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. Among other STEM fields, approximately 14 percent of engineers, 45 percent of mathematicians and statisticians and 47 percent of life scientists were women.


The median annual earnings of women 15 or older who worked year-round, full time in 2013. In comparison, the median annual earnings of men were $50,033.

1.6 million

Number of women veterans in the United States in 2013.

For more interesting statistics on women in the United States, please go to the latest issue of the U.S. Census Bureau's Facts for Features

Lab to Market: When One Plus One Equals Three

Lab to Market: When One Plus One Equals Three

Guest blog post by Paul R. Zielinski, MS, MBA, Director, Technology Partnerships Office, National Institute of Standards and Technology & Chair, Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer

When you want a plant to grow, you provide water, light, and fertilizer.   When you want an economy to grow you provide capital, labor, and innovation.

In today’s global markets, companies that don’t innovate generally don’t survive for long.  To keep your current customers and earn new ones, you must continually look for ways to be faster, cheaper, better . . .  or all three. 

At the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) we specialize in helping industry find those “Wow!” innovation ideas that create jobs and raise everyone’s standard of living.

We do this in lots of ways under  an approach  we call lab to market. We develop new measurement tools and standards to make sure new products can be measured fairly against established ones. We advance basic science to enable new technologies. And we work collaboratively with industry researchers in our laboratories to help them bring new research tools and knowledge back to their companies to be commercialized into new products.

We also have another tool for fueling innovation at small businesses, seed money. Commerce is one of 11 agencies with extramural research and development funding that makes awards to small businesses through the Small Business Innovation Research Program(SBIR) to perform research supporting the agency’s mission.  Awards can also be made to businesses to commercialize innovations, including innovations already developed by federal research and development programs. 

For example, at NIST, Phase I grants through SBIR provide up to $100,000 over six months to demonstrate that a proposed research effort is feasible and likely to successfully advance a commercially promising technology. NIST is currently seeking applications for SBIR awardsthat address specific technologies in a wide range of fields including advanced manufacturing, climate change and clean energy, cybersecurity, health care, and bioscience.

Increased Exports and the Jobs Supported by Exports Are Keys to Heightened Economic Confidence

Increased Exports and the Jobs Supported by Exports Are Keys to Heightened Economic Confidence

Guest blog post by Stefan M. Selig, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

When we look back at 2014, it will be seen as the year our country regained its economic confidence, symbolized by the nearly 3 million jobs our economy created in 2014.

While this feat extended the longest streak of job growth in American history, we should not overlook the role our exports and our exporters played in regaining that economic confidence.

U.S. exports of goods and services tallied a record $2.35 trillion in 2014. That was the fifth consecutive year we achieved record exports. This is a clear validation of the Administration’s commitment to a robust trade and investment agenda.

In fact, there are three ways that our exports played an important role in the breakthrough year our economy produced.

First, at the same time that we were experiencing the longest streak of job growth, we also experienced a record year when it came to export-supported jobs: more than 11.7 million.  This number includes the 2.8 million jobs supported by the exports to our North American Free Trade Agreement partners Canada and Mexico. And we know those export supported jobs pay 13 to 18% higher wages than non-export supported jobs.  

Second, U.S. exporters reaped the benefits of a record year of exports with our 20 free trade partners – with a total of $765 billion in goods sent to these markets. That record included increases in exports to Colombia (up 10.5%), South Korea (up 6.8%) and the Central America Free Trade Agreement-Dominican Republic partners (up 5.7%).  Overall, these 20 countries purchase nearly half of all U.S. exports today – 47% to be exact.

Third, a major driver of our export growth came from our Latin American free trade partners, such as Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, and Peru. Exports to these 11 countries alone represented more than a third of our entire year-over-year increase in exports. The region is a major destination for U.S. petroleum and coal, computers and electronics, chemicals, and transportation equipment.

So 2014 was clearly a breakthrough year for our exports and for our economy in general. Now, we need the tools that will allow us to carry that momentum into 2015 and beyond.

That is why passing trade promotion legislation is even more crucial, particularly as we work to finalize the historic Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP).

Working to Strengthen Economic Relationship, Secretary Pritzker Concludes Commercial Diplomacy Trip to Pakistan

During her trip, Secretary Pritzker also held bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker visited Islamabad, Pakistan this week as part of the Administration’s efforts to boost bilateral trade and investment with Pakistan and strengthen the partnership between our governments and people.

As part of her first official visit to the country, Secretary Pritzker joined Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to launch the first-ever U.S.-Pakistan Economic Partnership Week, a bilateral initiative intended to highlight the potential for growing the relationship between the United States and Pakistan. She thanked senior government officials for their dedication to improving the partnership and acknowledged that the economic relationship between the two countries has, over the years, buttressed the overall relationship and is still growing.

U.S.-Pakistan Economic Partnership Week included the third U.S.-Pakistan Business Opportunities Conference, an event intended to engage the private sector from both the United States and Pakistan, and strengthen business-to-business ties.

Secretary Pritzker opened the Business Opportunities Conference on Tuesday. Addressing an audience of more than 400 people, many attending from overseas, the Secretary applauded the work being done by the Pakistani and American private sector companies represented. She commended them for engaging with government agencies seeking to improve Pakistan’s business and investment climate and called on them to continue their efforts to expand trade and investment between Pakistan and the United States.

Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership: Leveraging Strengths for a Stronger Future

Charles Shoopman, Assistant Vice President, UT Institute for Public Service

Guest blog post by Charles Shoopman, Assistant Vice President, UT Institute for Public Service

On June 23, 2014 I received a letter officially designating the 69-county, four-state DRIVE! for the Future region as one of the nation’s first 12 Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) communities. Serving as the primary contact person for a public-private partnership effort involving more than 15 organizations, I could hardly wait to send copies of the letter to my colleagues.  After all, we had invested hour after hour in crafting consensus around a shared work agenda and at least grudging acceptance of a narrative describing that agenda in the context of a 35-page proposal (plus appendices!) that was due in Washington, D.C. by April 14, 2014.

Receiving notification of the designation was exciting, but was simply the beginning of a non-stop effort to actually deploy the ideas we had so painstakingly assembled during the January – April proposal development period. In short, receiving the designation didn’t complete anything; we simply were given an opportunity to go do what it was we wrote we wanted to do!

Granted, after investing the energy and effort to develop the partnerships, shared vision, defined work agenda, performance metrics, and a governance structure our partners could agree with, we much preferred to have the IMCP designation. However, our partnership noted that working together to build the proposal we had developed a fact-based plan that needed to be deployed within our region, whether or not we secured the designation as an IMCP community. So, at a minimum, the IMCP solicitation process had motivated us to assemble our team, affirm our shared interests and aims, and develop a written plan to actually accomplish a work agenda that will help citizens throughout our community improve their quality of life and build a more sustainable future.

Since receiving our designation we’ve been able to meet colleagues from across the nation who also are actively working to grow their economies and who are willing to share ideas and lessons learned. We’ve been introduced to federal leaders who’ve become our BFFs in helping us navigate the federal assistance infrastructure, introducing us to potential new allies and funding partners, and serving as our advocates within the federal government in sharing our needs, frustrations and successes. We have launched our efforts to build stronger working partnerships throughout our DRIVE! region that help us more effectively leverage our existing assets while positioning our firms, communities and workers for an even brighter future.  We are proud to be part of a national effort that is actively working each day to help the federal government find innovative ways to more effectively accomplish its work by partnering across agency boundaries, leveraging the strengths of local communities to Invest in Manufacturing Communities Partnerships that get results.

The deadline for round 2 applications is April 1. For more information on how to apply visit:

BEA’s Statistics on How Industries Perform Each Quarter Provide Insight into U.S.’ Economic Recovery

BEA’s Statistics on How Industries Perform Each Quarter Provide Insight into U.S.’ Economic Recovery

Thanks to a new set of BEA data, you can now find out how the economic recovery that began in the summer of 2009 is affecting America’s industries each quarter.

Last spring, BEA for the first time began producing on a regular basis quarterly statistics that provide information on the amount of economic activity generated by individual industries, making it easy to spot when and how fast these industries began to recover.

Before these new data were made available last April, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported on industries’ economic performance only on an annual basis. The quarterly statistics serve as a barometer for potential turning points in the U.S. economy and give businesses and policymakers more timely detail on how different industries are contributing to the U.S. economy’s recovery.

BEA’s quarterly industry breakdown of economic activity shows that manufacturers of durable goods – like cars and washing machines – entered into a recovery in the third quarter of 2009 – the same quarter the overall economy did.  In addition, durable goods manufacturers surpassed their pre-recession high in terms of economic output in the fourth quarter of 2011. On the other hand, the construction industry has yet to get back to its pre-recession peak.  

The timing of recoveries for other industries differs. The information sector, which includes broadcasting and telecommunications, climbed back to its previous peak in the third quarter of 2010. Mining (which includes oil and gas extraction) surpassed its previous peak in the third quarter of 2012.

BEA’s most recent quarterly industry report, shows that the finance and insurance industries grew  21.2 percent in the third quarter of 2014, after increasing 6 percent in the second quarter. Mining rose 25.6 percent, after rising 11.5 percent.  And, real estate and rental and leasing increased 4.4 percent, after growing 0.9 percent.

These quarterly industry-by-industry statistics are just one way that BEA is innovating to better measure the 21st Century economy.  Last year, BEA also introduced real (inflation-adjusted) estimates of personal income for states and metropolitan areas.  This year, BEA will begin regular production of quarterly statistics on how state economies are faring as well as new annual statistics on how much consumers spend – and what they buy -- in each state. Providing businesses and individuals with new data tools like these is a priority of the Commerce Department’s “Open for Business Agenda.”

In Tunisia, Secretary Pritzker Meets with Government Officials, Business Leaders, and Entrepreneurs to Discuss Ways to Improve Economic Opportunity

To demonstrate the United States’ commitment to Tunisia’s transition to democracy, and to underscore the reforms needed to attract investment, generate economic growth, and create jobs in the country, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker led a delegation to Tunisia this week. In addition to offering a keynote address at the Investment and Entrepreneurship Conference, hosted by the Partnership for New Beginnings and the American Chamber of Commerce in Tunisia, Secretary Pritzker met with Tunisian government officials, business leaders, and entrepreneurs to better understand the challenges and opportunities facing the country’s economy.

In a meeting with representatives from the American Chamber of Commerce in Tunisia, Secretary Pritzker received input on the country’s current business environment and discussed potential opportunities for U.S. firms in the market. For example, Tunisia’s location on the coast can make it an ideal hub for operations in the Middle East and Africa. Others spoke about the opportunities in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector, specifically.

About 70 American firms operate in Tunisia right now, but there is substantial room for that figure to grow should Tunisia make certain economic reforms that will create a more inviting business climate. Some of these reforms include streamlining the investment code, restructuring the banking sector, creating a more transparent, reliable, and modern tax and customs structure, and developing a strong public-private partnerships law that increases transparency and predictability for domestic and foreign firms.

DOC Operating Status for March 5, 2015


This message applies to Thursday, March 5, 2015

In accordance with the Office of Personnel Management’s Operating Status, Department of Commerce offices in the Washington, DC area are CLOSED.  Emergency and telework-ready employees required to work must follow their bureau/operating unit’s policies, including written telework agreements.

Non-emergency employees will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for the number of hours they were scheduled to work unless they are:

  • required to telework,
  • on official travel outside of the Washington, DC area,
  • on pre-approved leave (including leave without pay), or
  • on an alternative work schedule (AWS) day off.

Telework-Ready Employees who are scheduled to perform telework on the effective day of the announcement or who are required to perform telework on a day when Federal offices are closed must telework the entire workday or request leave, or a combination of both, in accordance with their bureau/operating unit’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements (as consistent with law).

Emergency Employees are expected to report to their worksite unless otherwise directed by their bureau/operating unit.

More information and details on Operating Status can be viewed online at,

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.

Weights and Measures Week 2015: On the Path to Tomorrow

Weights and Measures Week 2015: On the Path to Tomorrow

Guest blog post by Carol Hockert, Director, Office of Weights and Measures, National Institute of Standards and Technology 

It’s held annually during the first week of March to commemorate President John Adams's signing of the first U.S. weights and measures law on March 2, 1799, but you may not be aware of it. Weights and Measures Week is when we as a nation take a moment to sing the praises of our unsung heroes, weights and measures inspectors and other weights and measures professionals and recognize the well-lubricated machine that is the U.S. commercial measurement system. It is also a good time to reflect on how the ever-evolving commercial marketplace drives the need for continual changes in that system. 

Many may think that, aside from the occasional redefinition, the standard units of measure are more or less fixed and there is relatively little need to change. 

Not so! 

Certainly ensuring uniformity and making sure that the chain of measurements from their ultimate realizations all the way down to the consumer level is unbroken and as accurate as possible is a large part of what the whole weights and measures system is about. But, as new products and services come on the market, supporting measurement standards and practices need to be put in place to help ensure that people know what they’re getting and for how much and to ensure that businesses selling those products and services are able to fairly compete. 

To recognize this, the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) has made this year’s Weights and Measures Week theme “On the Path to Tomorrow.” NCWM is a professional nonprofit association of state and local weights and measures officials, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers that develops model codes that states use as a template for new weights and measures-related laws. 

“During the 110-year history of the NCWM, we have seen a number of advancements, from mechanical devices to highly sophisticated software-based weighing and measuring instruments and now apps used on smart phones,” NCWM Chairman Ronald Hayes said in a press release. 

With technical guidance from NIST, the NCWM is working to help pave the regulatory path forward for startup companies like Uber and Lyft that are using GPS to calculate passenger transport fares, alongside more conventional methods of measurement. Once complete, the model regulations for these systems will be included in NIST Handbook 44 so that states can adopt them, in whole or in part, into their regulatory structure.

An Important New Tool in our Data Revolution

Commerce Data Advisory Council banner

Guest blog post by Mark Doms, Under Secretary for Economic Affairs

Today we have reached an important milestone in the data transformation movement with the naming of members to Commerce Department’s new Data Advisory Council (CDAC).  The 19 leaders we have selected will help guide the Department in revolutionizing our approach toward data optimization and usability. They are bright stars in private and public sectors: thought leaders on data; respected and well-equipped to facilitate this transformation. Members’ expertise mirrors the spectrum of Commerce data -- demographic, economic, scientific, environmental, patent, and geospatial.  Their agenda?  To help us foster innovation, create jobs, and drive better decision-making throughout our economy and society. Their first meeting will take place April 23-24 in Washington, D.C.

Selecting from an impressive and wide array of experience, innovation, education and talent was not an easy task.  The individuals we have chosen are extraordinary for a host of reasons evident in their positions and achievements.  But perhaps one of the most compelling traits they share is keen awareness that success is built upon the ability to listen to a chorus of voices representing a range of viewpoints. 

Click here for CDAC members bios.

We are thrilled to have reached this important marker in our “data revolution” and look forward to the CDAC’s guidance on such key issues as data management; open data standards; public-private partnership; and ensuring a user-driven process.

How EDA Helps Create Conditions for Economic Success

How EDA Helps Create Conditions for Economic Success

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

A successful harvest depends on the soil, the temperature, and the amount of water the crops receive. Putting together a winning sports team requires talented athletes, strategic coaches, and team members who can work together toward a common goal. Building a successful, resilient economy in a given region or community also requires having the right conditions in place. It’s about having the appropriate infrastructure, supply chains, access to capital, engaged stakeholders, an appropriately trained workforce, and an understanding of the unique assets of the area. Creating those conditions is the core of economic development.

I like to tell people that Washington, D.C. is where I live; Youngstown, Ohio is my home. I understand economic distress on a very personal level, and I understand the importance of the sort of work that the Economic Development Administration (EDA) does each and every day. In fact, I worked closely with EDA during my tenure as Mayor of Youngstown, and I saw first-hand how the agency was able to help us implement our plans to transform our economy. Today, Youngstown is experiencing a renaissance, a renewal beyond what most would have thought possible.  The same thing is happening in towns all across the country, and I am looking forward to taking the lessons I learned in Youngstown and applying them to help other communities.

EDA is a small agency by federal government standards, but it has a critical mission and makes a big impact. We work with communities to implement their locally owned strategies to strengthen their economies and create jobs by building capacity. Some communities need help developing a plan and figuring out where to start their efforts. Others need critical infrastructure that will allow business to locate or expand operations. It’s a continuum, and EDA helps communities at every point along the way. Through our various grant programs, EDA funds communities across America to help strengthen their economies. We also have developed a variety of tools on new and emerging economic development concepts that communities and economic development organizations can use to make more informed development decisions. In short, EDA helps to create the conditions in which private investment is generated and jobs are created.

There are numerous examples of successful EDA grantees across the country – communities that were crippled by high unemployment or low GDP, but with solid development plans and assistance from EDA have become booming centers of business and innovation. They include towns as diverse as Conover, North Carolina; Brighton, Colorado; Petersburg, Virginia; Rochelle, Illinois; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Fairbanks, Alaska.  As the country continues to recover from the great recession, economic development work is more crucial than ever to the long-term health of the country’s economy.

New Census Bureau Report Analyzes U.S. Population Projections: Nation Expected to Become Majority-Minority by 2044

New Census Bureau Report Analyzes U.S. Population Projections

A new U.S. Census Bureau report released today provides an in-depth analysis of the nation’s population looking forward to 2060, including its size and composition across age, sex, race, Hispanic origin and nativity. These projections are the first to incorporate separate projections of fertility for native- and foreign-born women, permitting the Census Bureau to better account for the effects of international migration on the U.S. population.

According to the report, Projections of the Size and Composition of the U.S. Population: 2014 to 2060:

  • The U.S. population is expected to grow more slowly in future decades than it did in the previous century. Nonetheless, the total population of 319 million in 2014 is projected to  reach the 400 million threshold in 2051 and 417 million in 2060.
  • Around the time the 2020 Census is conducted, more than half of the nation’s children are expected to be part of a minority race or ethnic group. This proportion is expected to continue to grow so that by 2060, just 36 percent of all children (people under age 18) will be single-race non-Hispanic white, compared with 52 percent today.
  • The U.S. population as a whole is expected to follow a similar trend, becoming majority-minority in 2044. The minority population is projected to rise to 56 percent of the total in 2060, compared with 38 percent in 2014.
  • While one milestone would be reached by the 2020 Census, another will be achieved by the 2030 Census: all baby boomers will have reached age 65 or older (this will actually occur in 2029). Consequently, in that year, one-in-five Americans would be 65 or older, up from one in seven in 2014.
  • By 2060, the nation’s foreign-born population would reach nearly 19 percent of the total population, up from 13 percent in 2014.

To access previously issued population projections visit: <>

General Counsel Welsh Promotes Commercial Law Development in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia

General Counsel Welsh promotes commercial law development in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia

U.S. Department of Commerce General Counsel Kelly Welsh met with government officials and business leaders in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia this week to strengthen ties with regional counterparts and to assess challenges U.S. businesses face in the those countries. The General Counsel’s Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) organized the trip as part of ongoing efforts to improve the legal environment for American companies doing business in the Middle East.

The Crown Prince of Bahrain, His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa welcomed General Counsel Welsh at the Riffa Palace, where they discussed the importance of strong economic ties between the United States and Bahrain. They also discussed steps taken to advance the commercial legal system in Bahrain, which will enhance the ease of doing business and attract foreign investment. His Excellency the Minister of Industry and Commerce Zayed Rashid Al Zayani commented during the meeting on the strong ties between the U.S. Department of Commerce’s CLDP and the Bahrain Ministry of Industry and Commerce. 

General Counsel Welsh focused on entrepreneurship developments in Bahrain at a roundtable with members of the business community, and offered suggestions on how to create a legal environment that is conducive to investment and growth. Welsh and the delegation also discussed ways to advance U.S. and international investments in Bahrain with representatives of the American Chamber of Commerce.

In Saudi Arabia, General Counsel Welsh discussed the role of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) in modernizing commercial law in Saudi Arabia with His Excellency Abdullatif Al-Othman, governor of SAGIA, and His Royal Highness Prince Saud Al-Faisal.

General Counsel Welsh also met with the senior leadership of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), including Vice Governor Mr. Abdulaziz S. Al-Furaih. SAMA officials highlighted the Saudi bankruptcy law draft being circulated for review, and they noted steps the Saudi Arabian government is taking to promote anti-corruption. The SAMA officials indicated their desire to cooperate with CLDP on insolvency laws in the Kingdom. They also discussed ways to enhance the climate for investments in the United States by Saudi Arabian entities and individuals.

Department of Commerce Operating Status for March 2, 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 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,

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.

President Obama Renews Charge to Help Rural Companies and Communities Compete Globally

Spiral Candles, proudly made in North Dakota

Yesterday, President Obama announced new commitments in the “Made in Rural America” export and investment initiative, which is charged with bringing together federal trade-related resources for rural communities and businesses. This announcement reflects the Administration’s strategy for ensuring workers and businesses of all sizes, from communities large and small, benefit from the nation’s economic resurgence. 

The Department of Commerce also released data yesterday that show 26 states set new export records in 2014, and many of those states are in the nation’s heartland.

The Administration’s next steps in the “Made in Rural America” initiative build on input received from rural businesses and communities throughout the past year.  Following the President’s announcement of the initiative in February 2014, agencies led several regional forums across the country, a Rural Opportunity Investment conference last summer, and new partnerships to help more rural businesses – making everything from amphibious vehicles to aquaculture products – plug in to export assistance.    

Last year, we confirmed that rural businesses have the products and services in demand worldwide, and the drive to export – just like urban businesses. The challenge is improving their access to information and export services, including financing and logistics. U.S. Commercial Service – North Dakota Director Heather Ranck and rural companies spoke about that in this “Export Experts” video released last October.

Highlights from yesterday’s announcement include the following:

Spotlight on Commerce: Michelle A. Crockett, National Program Manager EEO and Diversity, NOAA National Ocean Service

Spotlight on Commerce: Michelle A. Crockett, National Program Manager EEO and Diversity, NOAA National Ocean Service

As National Program Manager for Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service (NOS) I serve as the principal advisor to the Assistant Administrator, Deputy Assistant Administrator and other senior management in fostering the principles and practices of NOS’ Diversity Program, and its Equal Employment Office (EEO) Program, and to assure compliance with affirmative action laws and regulations.  I formulate, develop, recommend, and implement policy, procedures and programs in collaboration with NOS Program and Staff office representatives.  I am responsible for planning, developing, and implementing NOS EEO program and diversity activities, which includes; coordinating all phases of policy analysis, planning, implementation and communications to support NOS EEO and diversity management initiatives. The most important function of my position is I have the opportunity to work with both managers and employees to seek resolution for conflict occurring in the workplace. 

My life has been shaped from experiences I had growing up in the small southern town of LaGrange, GA.  My parents instilled in me the importance of a strong work ethic and education, cultivated in a faith centered home. My parents experienced discrimination and they were always aware of its existence, but they would never allow me to use it as an excuse for not working hard to achieve success. My father’s favorite quote was, “hard work is its own reward” and I have to agree that these words have served as the catalysis for my success.  I received my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration for Georgia Southwestern University and my Certification in Equal Employment Opportunities Studies from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University. 

I began my federal career within the Department of Defense, Defense Commissary Agency as an Accounting Specialist, but my true passion for equal rights and opportunities lead me to my position here at NOS.  It may sound like a cliché but I truly love my job.  No two days are the same and every day I have the ability to foster and generate a greater awareness for organizational diversity.  People are diverse in many ways.  We all have a number of differences that offer substantial opportunities and possibilities to make organizations successful and our world a better place.  When we accept our differences and learn to work with them, we enrich our lives and improve the creativity and productivity of the organization.  Hence, when we are able to fully embrace and implement an effective diversity strategy whereby everyone feels validated the need for enforcement policies are diminished. 

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker Announces Twenty-Six States Achieved Record Export Levels in 2014

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker Announces Twenty-Six States Achieved Record Export Levels in 2014

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced new data that shows 26 states achieved records in goods exports in 2014, while eight additional states experienced growth in merchandise exports over 2013 levels. Total merchandise exports from all 50 states helped the U.S. achieve the fifth consecutive record-setting year of goods and services exports, which reached $2.35 trillion in 2014. 

Secretary Pritzker praised today’s announcement stressing the fact exports are critical to economic growth and job creation in communities across the country. “With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside the United States, opening more markets to ‘Made in America’ goods and services is fundamental to our nation’s competitiveness, job creation, and the economic security of our families,” she said. 

Strengthening partnerships with states and rural communities in support of exporters and investment attraction efforts is a key objective for the second phase of President Obama’s National Export Initiative – NEI/NEXT, which Secretary Pritzker launched in May 2014. Through NEI/NEXT, 20 federal agencies are advancing program and policy improvements to provide exporters more tailored assistance and information; streamline export reporting requirements; expand access to export financing; ensure market access and a level playing field; and collaborate with state and local organizations. 

The 26 states that set new records for exports in 2014 include:

  • Texas ($289.0 billion);
  • California ($174.1 billion);
  • Washington ($90.6 billion);
  • Illinois ($68.2 billion);
  • Louisiana ($65.1 billion);
  • Ohio ($52.1 billion);
  • Georgia ($39.4 billion);
  • Indiana ($35.5 billion);
  • Tennessee ($33.0 billion);
  • North Carolina ($31.3 billion);
  • South Carolina ($29.7 billion);
  • Kentucky ($27.5 billion);

Spotlight on Commerce: Jay Williams, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development

Spotlight on Commerce: Jay Williams, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting members of the Department of Commerce and their contributions to building a middle class economy in honor of Black History Month

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

Outside of my parents, the most influential person in my life was the late Bishop Norman L. Wagner.  Bishop Wagner served as the pastor of the church I attended virtually my entire life.  Some of his most powerful lessons focused on service to others and living a life of purpose.  One of Bishop Wagner’s quotes that continues to resonate with me today is that “significance is paramount to success.” Those words have guided me in my career and life. I strive to do things that have significance and affect real change. 

After graduating from Youngstown State University in my hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, with a business finance degree, I worked in the banking industry for several years, until leaving to pursue a career in public service – leaving to pursue significance.  In 2005, I was elected as the youngest and first African-American mayor in the City’s history.  I am proud to have been given the opportunity to help change the dynamics and the conversation about Youngstown.  Not just because it’s my hometown, but also because the issues facing Youngstown were not unique. My work at EDA allows me to focus on critical issues that affect distressed communities like Detroit, Michigan; Gary, Indiana; Fresno, California; and rural areas such as Conover, North Carolina. 

As Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, I have the privilege of leading the Economic Development Administration (EDA), which is the only federal agency with a mission focused solely on creating economic opportunities in distressed communities throughout the United States. Distress is something I understand on a very personal level. 

It strikes me as somewhat poetic that I was born and spent most of my life in a community that was, for many years, defined by economic distress. Youngstown was often at the center of the U.S.’s “post-industrialization” debate for nearly three decades due to its historic economic dependence on the declining steel industry. While the city still faces many challenges, in recent years, it has become defined less by its problems and regarded more for its recovery efforts. 

In my role at EDA, I often travel across the country and am afforded the opportunity to meet people from various backgrounds. They may differ in age, race, and wealth, but they share a common thread - a shared sense of purpose and a desire to create better prospects for their communities and themselves.

Department of Commerce Operating Status for February 26, 2015


This message applies to Thursday, February 26, 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,

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.

Spotlight on Commerce: Cecelia V. Royster, Director, Office of Acquisition and Agreements Management, Bureau Procurement Official, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Spotlight on Commerce: Cecelia V. Royster, Director, Office of Acquisition and Agreements Management, Bureau Procurement Official, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting members of the Department of Commerce and their contributions to building a middle class economy in honor of Black History Month

Guest blog post by Cecelia V. Royster, Director, Office of Acquisition and Agreements Management, Bureau Procurement Official, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Black history month has a special place in my heart. When I began my federal government career 30 years ago with the U.S. Coast Guard, it was when I learned of the many inspiring accomplishments of African Americans. There was Captain Richard Etheridge, who became the first African-American to command a Life-Saving station in North Carolina in 1880, and Captain Michael Healy or “Hell Roaring Mike”, who took command of the revenue cutter Chandler in 1877. During his 20-year career, Captain Healy was the United States Government in most of Alaska where he acted as judge, doctor, and policeman to Alaskan natives, merchant seamen and whaling crews. And more recently, Admiral Stephen Rochon, the first African-American to serve as Chief Usher of the White House, was a good friend and mentor to me during my Coast Guard career. Black History month allowed me to cherish my heritage, and appreciate the contributions of these great men. 

So I’m especially honored to share my own story of a career in public service this month. 

I was born in Washington, D.C. of parents from the mountains south of Lynchburg, Va., who believed in and demonstrated the values of integrity, attention to detail and above all, a strong work ethic. Both of my parents worked and retired from lifetime careers in the federal government and my father, a decorated Korean War Veteran and U.S Army retiree, insisted that our home stress the values of family accountability and devotion to duty and country. 

I grew up singing in the choir and being a member of the junior usher board at our family African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church. As a young teen, I attended Kittrell College, which was a part of the AME church, every summer for a one week summer session which provided young African American students with an introduction to African art, poetry and highlighted the careers of successful African American entrepreneurs, physicians, scientist and educators. 

Currently, I am the Director of the Office of Acquisition and Agreements Management (OAAM), and the Bureau Procurement Official (BPO) for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) where I oversee the full range of the $1 billion acquisition and financial assistance activities awarded for NIST and seven client Bureaus under the Department of Commerce to support ongoing programs, operations and mission objectives.  NIST technological research activities - cover an incredibly diverse range of disciplines including  bioscience, health care, chemistry, neutron research, nanotechnology, information technology, , manufacturing, public safety, energy, physics, cybersecurity and computer technology laboratory practices for all aspects of advanced science. 

Spotlight on Commerce: Joann J. Hill, Chief, Office of Business Development, Minority Business Development Agency

Spotlight on Commerce: Joann J. Hill, Chief of Business Development for the Southeastern Region, Minority Business Development Agency

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting members of the Department of Commerce and their contributions to building a middle class economy in honor of Black History Month

Guest blog post by Joann J. Hill, Chief, Office of Business Development, Minority Business Development Agency

I am a native of Columbia, South Carolina and a graduate of Benedict College with a BS in Business Administration. I also received a Masters of Business Administration from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. After college, I began my career with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2000, I joined the MBDA Atlanta Regional Office and have been with the Department of Commerce for 14 years.  I began my career with MBDA as a Business Development Specialist and was eventually promoted to Chief of Business Development for the Southeastern Region. My next promotion relocated me to the MBDA National Headquarters in Washington, DC in 2012 where I currently serve as Chief of the Office of Business Development. In this capacity I oversee the Office of Business Development and serve as the lead federal program officer for the nationwide network of MBDA’s 44 Business Centers.

I lead the effort within the agency to promote economic opportunities that expand the growth and competitiveness of minority business enterprises (MBEs) across America. I am responsible for the creation and implementation of strategies for business development in the areas of: access to capital, access to contracts; access to emerging domestic and international markets and global supply chains.  We also actively engage strategic stakeholders like national chambers of commerce and trade associations in collaboration on policy and programs. 

For three consecutive years, I have served as Conference Director for the National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference, the nation’s largest federally sponsored conference on minority business enterprise. This conference is held annually in Washington, D.C. and attracts over 1,000 attendees. Traditionally, we have hosted officials from the White House, including the Vice President of the United States, the Secretary of Commerce, Cabinet Secretaries and a host of CEOs from MBEs and Fortune 500 firms.

My role at the Department of Commerce has a direct impact on improving the U.S. economy and expanding opportunities for all Americans. Through MBDA’s programs and initiatives, more than $6 billion in access to contracts, capital and export transactions have been generated over the past year - resulting in 30,000 jobs created and retained. This economic infusion contributes to the expansion of the middle class and growth of the American economy.  

My personal leadership philosophy and core guiding principles are:  vision, courage, teamwork, and a commitment to excellence; accountability, clear mission, faith and a relentless work ethic rooted in integrity.

Secretary Pritzker Speaks at the United States Travel and Tourism Advisory Board Meeting about the Administration’s Travel and Tourism Agenda

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today participated in a discussion about the Administration’s travel and tourism agenda at the United States Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (Board) meeting. The Board, established in 2003, serves as the advisory body to the Secretary of Commerce on matters relating to the travel and tourism industry in the United States. Its members, who serve two-year terms, represent a broad cross-section of the industry, including transportation services, financial services, and hotels and restaurants, as well as a mix of other small and large firms from across the country.

During the discussion, Secretary Pritzker spoke about the administration’s progress towards achieving its national goal for travel and tourism, which is to increase American jobs by welcoming 100 million international visitors annually by the end of 2021. Last year alone, a record-breaking 74 million international visitors came to the United States.

Secretary Pritzker also spoke about the administration’s ongoing efforts to promote the travel and tourism sector, which are guided by the Board’s recommendations. She highlighted the agreement to expand visa validity with China as one particularly notable success. Since the new visa pact, Chinese demand for U.S. visas has grown by more than 50 percent compared to the same period in 2014. Following the announcement of an agreement to extend visa validity with China, the Department of Commerce organized a special session on travel and tourism during the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in Chicago, to ensure we are maximizing the potential of that policy change to grow our economy and create jobs.

Another priority of industry is to ensure a positive experience for international travelers at U.S. airports. A recent report released by Secretary Pritzker and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson calls for a new national goal to provide the best arrival experience in the world to an ever-increasing number of international visitors while maintaining the highest standards of national security. To meet this new goal and create an effective best arrival experience, the Department of Commerce and Department of Homeland Security have established a joint Task Force, led by the Deputy Secretary of Commerce and the Deputy Secretary of the department of Homeland Security, to lead the process and ensure accountability. The Board will make recommendations to Secretary Pritzker regarding the Task Force priorities and initiatives.

Another recommendation focuses on infrastructure. To achieve the national goal of attracting 100 million international visitors annually by 2021, there must be world-class infrastructure to attract tourism, serve current and future travelers, and remain a top destination. The Department of Commerce will provide input to the Department of Transportation as it develops its 30-year framework for Transportation needs to ensure that its equities are fully represented.

Secretary Pritzker also referenced the priorities for the President’s fiscal year 2016 budget, which will include $2 million to increase the sample size of the Survey of International Air Travelers. In addition, the Commerce Department is working with the State Department to develop tourism specific country plans for the top 10 overseas travel and tourism markets.

As a result of the meeting, the Board will be assessing its priority recommendations, for actions that will have the greatest impact during the next two years of the administration.

Secretary Pritzker Joins Bipartisan Roundtable on the Benefits of Trade During National Governors Association Winter Meeting

Secretary Pritzker Joins Bipartisan Roundtable on the Benefits of Trade During National Governors Association Winter Meeting

Yesterday, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker joined a bipartisan roundtable at the White House on the importance of trade and new trade agreements. The meeting was part of the National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting in Washington. NGA is the bipartisan organization of the nation’s governors, and its members include the 55 states, territories and commonwealths of the United States. 

Governors John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Gary Herbert of Utah, and Terry McAuliffe of Virginia attended the roundtable, along with Secretary Pritzker, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and White House officials.
During the discussion, Secretary Pritzker highlighted how trade has helped drive the nation’s economic recovery and proven beneficial to state's economies. For example, more than 5,000 Colorado businesses, both large and small, are counted among the ranks of America’s exporters. Exports from Virginia to our free trade agreement partners have grown by 74 percent over the past 10 years, and in Ogden, Utah, exports drove more than 100 percent of growth out of the recession.
Overall, exports support 11.3 million American jobs – which pay up to 18 percent higher than jobs not related to exports. In addition, the Commerce Department announced earlier this month that American exports had hit an all-time high for the fifth year running – sending $2.35 trillion worth of goods and services overseas.
That is why the Obama Administration has set an ambitious trade agenda focused on building on this progress.  It will ensure U.S. businesses in every state can access more global markets with fewer barriers. 
This agenda includes the completion and implementation of new trade agreements including the Trans Pacific Partnership, which the U.S. is negotiating with 11 other nations. Once completed, TPP will give American businesses free trade arrangements with 40 percent of global GDP.
Secretary Pritzker stressed to the attending governors that in today’s global economy, American prosperity is directly tied to our ability to reach new markets and new customers beyond our borders. Today’s roundtable gave Secretary Pritzker an opportunity to  urge the nation’s governors to support trade policies like TPP, and explain why they are essential to the growth of the economy, to the creation of good jobs, to the economic security of American families, and to the competitiveness of our businesses.

Commerce's NIST Awards $26 Million to Support Manufacturing in 10 States

Commerce's NIST Awards $26 Million to Support Manufacturing in 10 States

The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today announced the award of new cooperative agreements to 10 nonprofit organizations and universities to manage Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers. NIST’s MEP program helps small- and mid-size manufacturers create and retain jobs, increase profits and save time and money. In an open competition, the existing MEP centers in Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, were selected to receive a total of $26 million in federal funding, an increase of about $10 million or nearly 60 percent. The funding will allow the centers to reach new customers and offer new services.

“We are excited to award new agreements that bring increased funding levels to better meet the needs of manufacturers in these 10 states,” said Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Acting NIST Director Willie May. “These awards will allow the centers to help more manufacturers reach their goals in growth and innovation, which will have a positive impact on both their communities and the U.S. economy.”

In August 2014, NIST announced a competition for the centers in these 10 states as the first step in a multi-year effort to update MEP’s funding structure to better match resources with needs. In March 2014, the Government Accountability Office recommended that MEP update its distribution of funds, which were allocated according to the award each center received when it was first established. The original awards to these states were made more than 10 years ago, and the MEP investment in terms of dollars per manufacturing establishment was below its national average, making them the most underfunded of MEP’s 60 centers.

Proposals were reviewed by government and independent experts and evaluated against a number of criteria, including demonstration of a thorough understanding of market needs and how proposed service offerings would meet those needs. The reviewers also looked at the proposed business models, performance measurements and metrics, partnership potential, staff qualifications and program management, as well as financial and non-federal cost-share plans.

The new cooperative agreements are for five years, subject to the availability of annual appropriations and successful annual reviews.

Spotlight on Commerce: Tommy Wright, Chief, Center for Statistical Research and Methodology, U. S. Bureau of the Census

Tommy Wright, Chief, Center for Statistical Research and Methodology, U. S. Bureau of the Census

Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting members of the Department of Commerce and their contributions to building a middle class economy in honor of Black History Month

Guest blog post by Tommy Wright, Center for Statistical Research and Methodology, U. S. Bureau of the Census

Since joining the U. S. Census Bureau in January 1996 as a research mathematical statistician, I have provided the overall technical leadership for the Center for Statistical Research & Methodology (formerly Statistical Research Division). The Center for Statistical Research & Methodology is the Census Bureau's statistical and methodological research and consulting facility.  CSRM researchers are engaged in collaborative work applying known statistical methods and in research for new and better statistical  methods motivated by practical problems using tools from two key areas: mathematical statistics and statistical computing. Our statistical methods include: (1) methods that can link hundreds of millions of records in one data set with hundreds of millions of records in another; methods to bring better modeling to the internal processing of data from sample surveys and censuses, including data visualization; methods to compensate for missing data when respondents do not answer all questions on a questionnaire; methods to make inferences about finite populations (e.g., of people or of businesses) using data from probability samples; methods to produce reliable estimates of characteristics for small levels of geography or small subpopulations when the sample sizes for these areas are very small or zero; methods to seasonally adjust economic time series; and methods to test new or improved operations using computer simulations or designed experiments.

A key aspect of my role is helping the Census Bureau define statistical problems and finding excellent researchers  to work on them.  My colleagues and I work in collaboration with other Census Bureau staff as well as through interaction with academic, industrial, government, and other researchers. I recruit, develop, and maintain a core staff of researchers with expertise in statistics, statistical computing, and mathematics. The problems and collaborations in my work are a constant source of stimulating challenges that are especially rewarding when research results are used and published.

Between 1979 and 1996, I was a research staff member of the Mathematical Sciences Section at Oak Ridge National Laboratory where my research focused on probability sampling and estimation, the design of sample surveys, and elementary applied probability and combinatorics.

Secretary Pritzker Hosts Roundtable Discussion with Oregon and Washington Business Leaders on Importance of International Trade

Secretary Pritzker talks with employees of the Leatherman Tool Group, Inc during a tour

On Tuesday, Secretary Penny Pritzker visited Portland, Oregon and Takoma, Washington where she held roundtable discussions on the importance of trade to our economy with key area business leaders.

Secretary Pritzker started the day with a tour and visit to General Plastics, in Takoma, Washington, a leading manufacturer of plastic-based goods. During the tour she heard from local business leaders about their experiences exporting to foreign markets and some of the challenges they currently are facing. During the roundtable discussion with local businesses, Secretary Pritzker noted how trade and exports benefit American manufacturers, such as General Plastics.

Later in the day, Secretary Pritzker visited the headquarters of Leatherman Tool Group, Inc. a leading manufacturer of multi-use tools in Portland, Oregon. Leatherman currently employs 500 Oregonians and exports their products to over 100 countries around the world. During the roundtable discussion, Secretary Pritzker highlighted how the current trade deals being negotiated will strengthen U.S. exports, manufacturing, and improve American competitiveness in the global economy.  Local business leaders from Intel, Columbia Sportswear and Columbia Green also participated in the discussion.

Deputy Secretary Andrews visits Phoenix Manufacturer and Highlights Power of Exports to Local Economy

Deputy Secretary Andrews Tours  APS BioGroup in Phoenix, Arizona

Yesterday, Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews visited Phoenix, Arizona to learn about local businesses who export goods. He first joined Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and APS BioGroup President & CEO Bob Davies for a tour of APS BioGroup’s manufacturing facility. The Phoenix-based producer and manufacturer of health products exports their goods to 57 countries. Exports have been part of the company since its inception, and in 2011, it received the President’s “E” award for increasing U.S. exports.

After seeing APS BioGroup’s facilities and meeting employees, Deputy Secretary Andrews talked with local business leaders about the importance of trade and exports to the local, regional and national economy. Exports support 11.3 million jobs nationwide, and they support nearly 96,000 jobs in Arizona. In 2013, Phoenix exported $11.5 billion, making the city the nation’s 27th largest export market.

In addition to exports, American prosperity is directly tied to our ability to reach new markets and new customers beyond our borders. To gain access to the 95 percent of consumers who live outside the United States, it is crucial that Congress pass trade promotion legislation, which will enable the Obama Administration to negotiate two major trade agreements. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) are comprehensive, high-standard trade and investment agreements that are currently in the midst of negotiation. Reaching an agreement on TPP and TTIP will give American companies a level playing field to compete with other countries for opportunities with approximately 65 percent of the world’s GDP. American access to markets abroad will also enable U.S. businesses to expand, hire more workers, and pay better wages at home.

During a roundtable with Phoenix business leaders and Mayor Stanton, Deputy Secretary Andrews highlighted the advantages of America implementing new trade agreements around the world, which consist of promoting our values, raising standards, and maintaining a global, competitive edge for our businesses. With our leadership and involvement in TPP, we are bringing together critical strategic alliances with partners around the world – ensuring that the United States continues to shape and define the global economic culture. Currently, the U.S. has 14 trade agreements in force with 20 countries. Mexico is Arizona’s largest export market, representing 36.4 percent of the state’s total merchandise exports. Countries around the world want American goods, and these new trade agreements will help our businesses get their goods and services into more people and countries, creating jobs and growth.

Staying Ahead of Technology: Innovating on Education to Close the Technical Skills Gap

Adam Enbar, CEO of The Flatiron School

Guest blog post by Adam Enbar, CEO of The Flatiron School.  In the last several years, The Flatiron School has made a name for itself training passionate, creative students for careers in web and mobile development. The school maintains a 99% job placement rate at companies that employ technical talent, including Etsy, Boeing, and Google.

In the United States, there are currently half a million open “tech jobs,” and that number is only expected to grow over the next 10 years. These are good jobs—with reported median salaries of more than $90,000. The key to matching job-seekers of this and future generations with these positions lies solely in access to passionate teachers and a relevant technical education.

To this end, new educational models are created every day. In general, there are four ways new models can help students get the skills they need to succeed. They can help more people access technical training, align their curriculum with the realities of today’s job market, inspire K-12 students with the power and potential of technology, and aim to improve people’s lives through education.

Expanding Access to Education

Half the challenge of encouraging people to pursue a technical education is increasing access to education in general. As the cost of higher education rises at a record pace, an increasing number of people are being left out of the opportunity to pursue any sort of advanced skill training.

The success of the GI Bill underscores the need for a larger idea of what it means to obtain an education. People come from different backgrounds and learn differently. As educators, we should accommodate these differences and advocate for more options for learning. As employers, we should do the same—more accessible education means a more skilled labor force and a more diverse talent pool.

Over recent years, government at all levels has stepped in to remedy this problem. In his 2015 State of the Union, President Obama outlined a plan to provide free Community College education to anyone who needs it. At the local level, New York City’s Tech Talent Pipeline initiative, which kicked off with the NYC Web Development Fellowship, offers free, outcomes-oriented technical training to low income New Yorkers without a college degree.

NIST Awards $20 Million for Research Center to Help Communities Increase Resilience to Disaster

 NIST Awards $20 Million for Research Center to Help Communities Increase Resilience to Disaster

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced today that it has awarded a $20 million cooperative agreement to Colorado State University (CSU) to establish the Community Resilience Center of Excellence. Working with NIST researchers and partners from 10 other universities, the center will develop computer tools to help local governments decide how each can best invest resources intended to lessen the impact of extreme weather and other hazards on buildings and infrastructure and to recover rapidly in their aftermath.

The Fort Collins-based center will receive $4 million annually for five years. NIST has the option to renew the award for five additional years, depending on performance and the availability of funds.

“This center complements NIST’s long-standing efforts to improve the performance of the built environment against natural hazards—such as tornadoes, coastal flooding, wildfires and earthquakes—as well as large-scale, human-caused disruptions,” said Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Acting NIST Director Willie May. “The tools developed by the center will help to further advance the important goal of disaster resilience from ambitious concepts to cost-effective solutions that communities can implement over time.”

Community disaster resilience includes preparing for anticipated hazards, adapting to changing conditions, and withstanding and recovering rapidly from disruptions.

Richard Cavanagh, NIST Acting Associate Director for Laboratory Programs, announced the award at the NIST Disaster Resilience Workshop in Del Mar, Calif. The meeting is the fourth in a series of regional workshops that NIST has convened to gather input from a broad network of stakeholders as the agency drafts its Disaster Resilience Framework.

The framework will provide guidance to communities as they consider pre- and post-event actions and investments to prevent future hazards from inflicting devastating consequences. The framework focuses on buildings and infrastructure systems, such as power, communication, water and transportation. It also will address how to maintain social services and institutions vital to meeting the needs of community residents, as well as economic functions. Work at the new center will support this sustained effort.

Secretary Pritzker Discusses Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation’s 2015 State of Entrepreneurship Address

Secretary Pritzker Discusses Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation’s 2015 State of Entrepreneurship Address

Last week, Secretary Pritzker delivered remarks on the leadership of the Commerce Department and the entire Obama Administration in promoting entrepreneurship across the United States at the 2015 State of Entrepreneurship Address, hosted by the Kauffman Foundation. Her remarks were delivered to various business leaders, policy experts, non-profits, and government officials to address the impact and importance of America’s entrepreneurs in our country’s economy. 

Secretary Pritzker highlighted the Commerce Department’s role in ensuring there is an infrastructure of opportunity to support entrepreneurship domestically and internationally. As the driving force behind the Administration’s focus on entrepreneurship, the Commerce Department partners with businesses to set the conditions for innovators and new businesses to test new ideas, take risks, find financing and customers, and ultimately thrive. Many of the Department’s core responsibilities help create the essential infrastructure of opportunity for entrepreneurs – whether issuing patents that protect intellectual property, making investments in local economic development, collecting and disseminating data to inform better decision making, expanding access to broadband, or protecting a free and open internet. 

Specifically, since the launch of the Department’s Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) initiative in collaboration with the White House, Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development, 11 entrepreneurs serve in an ongoing dialogue with policy makers globally to create an environment where creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship can grow and thrive. In the coming months, PAGE will expand so more business leaders can share their experiences as CEOs and share recommendations to better support the business community both at home and abroad. The Commerce Department has also re-established the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE), which brings together top academics, business and non-profit leaders to advise the Department on innovation, entrepreneurship, and industry-driven skills training to support the current and next generation of entrepreneurs. 

In her remarks, Secretary Pritzker discussed the launch of the Startup Global pilot program, an initiative that will begin in the next few months and feature a series of incubators in Cincinnati, Nashville, Arlington, and Washington, D.C., where entrepreneurs can get technical assistance and information on how to export. 

Secretary Pritzker Participates in White House Cyber Security Summit to Discuss Importance of Public-Private Collaboration To Combat Growing Threats

Secretary Penny Pritzker joined President Barack Obama last week at the White House Cyber Security Summit at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Designed to help shape public and private sector efforts to protect American consumers and companies from growing threats, the Summit offered Secretary Pritzker an opportunity to hear directly from businesses about their concerns, and to highlight the Commerce Department’s work to combat these threats and strengthen our nation’s cybersecurity.

During the Summit, business leaders across many sectors spoke about the growing issues of online security and how to best protect businesses, consumers and critical infrastructure. Secretary Pritzker moderated a panel titled “Improving Cybersecurity Practices at Consumer Oriented Businesses and Organizations,” that brought together CEOs and business executives from the financial services sector, the technology industry, and civil society. Panelists included Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga, AIG CEO Peter Hancock, Intel Corporation’s President Renee James, and Center for Democracy and Technology CEO Nuala O’ Connor.

During the panel Secretary Pritzker asked each panelist how they can align policies and operations to better protect themselves and their customers, and asked them what ways they thought would be the most efficient for government and industry to partner in developing stronger security standards. Each of the panelists praised the effectiveness of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework in creating a benchmarking process that companies should adhere to. With technology evolving quickly, participants also stressed that there should be more collaboration between businesses and the government to address cybersecurity concerns. 

To further this dialogue, Secretary Pritzker attended a luncheon roundtable hosted by President Obama with the CEOs of Apple, Square, QVC, Visa, First Data, Intel, AIG, Mastercard, Bank of America, Citi, American Express, PG&E, and Palo Alto Networks where they discussed how to move these concerns to the forefront and work together to find solutions to these growing threats.

Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and the United States government has legitimate interests in safeguarding the privacy and security of its citizens, as well as ensuring an equitable and level playing field in the digital economy. Secretary Pritzker understands this notion and recognizes that the NIST Framework, which was developed using a multi-stakeholder process involving many of the companies that attended the summit, is a great example of how the private and public sectors can work together to find timely, effective solutions.

Manufacturing Innovation: Gaining the Advantage In a Fiercely Competitive Global Economy

Manufacturing Innovation: Gaining the Advantage In a Fiercely Competitive Global Economy

Guest blog post by Mike Molnar, Director, Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office and NIST Advanced Manufacturing Program Office 

Good ideas—for new products, new processes, or new services—are terrible things to waste.

Yet, time and time again, inventions and discoveries that first sprouted in the U.S. have taken root in the factories and economies of other nations. Think of computer-controlled machine tools, solar cells, industrial robots, consumer-electronics devices, lithium-ion batteries . . .

To many, the list is painfully familiar. And the costs are too: lost jobs, shuttered manufacturing plants, withering supply chains, trade deficits, lost opportunities for spin-off technologies, and more.

But wait, a far better story for U.S. manufacturing is beginning to take shape.  Over the past five years, U.S. manufacturers have added an average of nearly 15,000 new jobs every month, and exports have grown at an average annual rate of 10 percent—or more than three times faster than the average for the preceding decade.

And now, U.S. industry and the federal government are taking deliberate strides to seize and maintain an innovation advantage in the fiercely competitive global economy. One key step is the establishment of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), accomplished with the inclusion of the bipartisan Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act in the government funding bill passed by Congress last December.

This young partnership, consisting of regional hubs of manufacturing innovation, is devoted to the economy- growing principle that if a technology is invented in the U.S., we should do our very best to make it here.  The NNMI institutes will leverage the individual and collective knowledge, talents, capabilities, and resources of industry, university, and government partners. These collaborations will cultivate promising discoveries and ideas into new technologies and into cost-effective ways to convert these innovations into American-made products sold to customers around the world.

There’s no time to waste. The competition has a head start. China, Korea, Germany, Taiwan, and other nations intent on building innovation-driven economies already have mounted major programs and the supporting infrastructure to sustain long-term collaborations—the kind required to speed research breakthroughs into proofs of concept, then prototypes, and, ultimately, manufacturable products and related services.

Understanding and Measuring Innovation Ecosystems at the Global Innovation Summit

Understanding and Measuring Innovation Ecosystems at the Global Innovation Summit

Guest blog post by Tom Guevara, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairsl, U.S. Economic Development Administration 

There’s a lot of talk these days about “innovation ecosystems,” but what is an innovation ecosystem? What does it mean? Think about the ultimate ecosystem: earth. When we refer to the earth’s ecosystem, we are talking about the interconnectivity of animal, plant, and elements that sustain life. Well, an innovation ecosystem is the same idea. It’s everything in the environment, including and especially culture, that work together to foster and sustain innovation. How we create those ecosystems is at the core of the Global Innovation Summit, taking place this week in San Jose, California. 

The Global Innovation Summit is an opportunity for entrepreneurs, innovators and those that support them from 50+ countries to come together to build solutions, apply new tools to accelerate innovation, and learn from one another. There are three central questions the summit seeks to answer: 

  • How do we build entrepreneurial ecosystems anywhere? 
  • How do we catalyze innovation across companies, cities and countries sustainably?
  • How do we accelerate entrepreneurship, technology and impact at scale? 

These are all questions that the U.S. Economic Development Administration grapples with every day. I am thrilled, therefore, to be participating and learning with over 500 innovators at the Summit, and to explore some of these issues in the two sessions I was asked to moderate: Design of Startup Ecosystems and Measuring, Understanding, and Driving Innovation Culture. 

What goes in to creating an innovation ecosystem? How do you create culture? Can you create a culture? Our discussion will examine several case studies in an attempt to answer these questions. I will be talking to Prafull Anubhai from Ahmedabad University in India about how he helped foster a culture of innovation through VentureStudio, and Isabel Alvarez-Rodriguez from the Inter-American Development Bank, who will discuss how they have used innovation to address the development challenges in Latin America. 

I will be joined by Julie Kirk, the Director of EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for my second session on measuring, understanding, and driving innovation culture. The session is jointly sponsored by Commerce, EDA, and T2 Venture Creation and will include Henry Doss and Alistair Brett the Chief Strategy Officer and International Technology Commercialization Advisor, respectively, for T2 Venture Creation. Julie will bring her experiences as an entrepreneur to bear on the conversation, highlighting her successes. The four of us will tackle the complex undertaking of building a strong culture of innovation and probably challenge a few misconceptions about how to go about designing and innovation ecosystem within an organization. 

I look forward to engaging discussions, thought-provoking debates, and collaborative opportunities during the Summit that will help us create a more innovative culture, economy, and world.

DOC Operating Status for Feburary 17, 2015


This message applies to Tuesday, February 17, 2015


In accordance with the Office of Personnel Management’s Operating Status, Department of Commerce offices in the Washington, DC area are CLOSED.  Emergency and telework-ready employees required to work must follow their bureau/operating unit’s policies, including written telework agreements.

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Secretary Pritzker Tours DODOcase and Highlights Successful San Francisco Exporters

Secretary Pritzker Tours DODOcase and Highlights Successful San Francisco Exporters

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker visited DODOcase, a San Francisco-based manufacturer of high-quality cases for electronics like tablets and smart phones.  During her tour of the company’s manufacturing facility, Secretary Pritzker met with company executives and spoke with other San Francisco area business leaders and policymakers about the importance of trade and exports to businesses' ability to grow and hire. 

DODOcase CEO and founder Craig Dalton lead the tour with Secretary Pritzker. During the tour Secretary Prtizker met with DODOcase staff and talked to many of them as they designed  iPad and tablet cases. 

Dalton launched DODOcase in 2010 after seeing a need to keep the art of bookbinding alive by adapting it to the world of digital devices. DODOcases and sleeves are handmade in San Francisco. When the company opened its doors in April 2010 - the same day iPad was released in the United States - they only had two employees. Today, their workforce has grown to 22 workers and they ship their products all around the world. From day one, 30 percent of DODOcase's business has been to customers overseas, which means that, from the start, exports have been part of the company's business model and success.  

Also joining Secretary Pritzker for the tour, were several San Francisco business community leaders including  John Dannerbeck, the President of Anchor Brewing. Anchor Brewing is a brewery and distillery on San Francisco’s Pontero Hill. Today the company sends its fourteen products to several markets around the world. While not a traditional export product, craft beer export volume increased by 49 percent in 2013, representing 282,526 barrels and an estimated at $73 million, according to data from the American Brewers Association. Secretary Pritzker also met with Kate Sofis, Executive Director of SFMade. SFMade is a non-profit organization that works to support the manufacturing sector in San Francisco, sustain companies producing locally-made products, encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, and creates employment opportunities for a diverse local workforce in the Bay Area. The San Francisco metropolitan area is the 10th largest export market in the country, with merchandise exports totaling $25.3 billion in 2013 and more than 802,000 California jobs are supported by exports. 

Last week, the Department of Commerce announced that 2014 was another record year for export growth. The U.S. exported $2.35 trillion of goods and service last year. Today, exports support 11 million jobs in the U.S. and pay up to 18 percent more than jobs not related to exports. 

Yet with 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside U.S. borders, the prosperity of American businesses and workers is directly tied to their ability to reach new markets and new customers. That is why President Obama has made increased trade a key focus on his plan to create sustainable economic growth for American workers, and is pushing for trade promotion legislation as well as the completion of new, high-standard trade agreements that uphold our values and open new markets to American goods and services– including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. 

Report to the President on America’s National Travel and Tourism Goal

Report to the President on America’s National Travel and Tourism Goal

Guest blog post by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson 

Over the last five years, more than 333 million international visitors have traveled to the United States. Growth in spending from these visitors during this period has supported roughly 280,000 new American jobs. Preliminary estimates show the U.S. welcomed a record 74 million international visitors in 2014 alone, and these travelers spent a record $222 billion on expenses including food, lodging, recreation, gifts, entertainment, and local transportation, supporting 1.1 million jobs.

The United States is not alone in our efforts to attract international visitors and the jobs they support.We are competing with countless global destinations; therefore, the Obama Administration is focused on efforts to improve how we welcome travelers into the United States. For example, we have reduced visa wait times for international travelers and reached a new agreement with China that extends the validity of tourist and business visas to 10 years and student visas to five years. In the three months since this smart reform was enacted, Chinese demand for U.S. visas has grown by more than 50 percent compared to the same period in 2014 .

We are taking these actions and others to ensure the travel experience is safe, efficient, and welcoming, while also protecting the security of this country. We want to travelers to return to the U.S. often and encourage their friends and families to visit, as well. 

Today, the Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security released a report to President Obama, titled “Supporting Travel and Tourism to Grow Our Economy and Create More Jobs: a National Goal on the International Arrivals Process and Airport-Specific Action Plans.” The report establishes a national goal: “The United States will provide a best-in-class arrival experience, as compared to our global competitors, to an ever-increasing number of international visitors while maintaining the highest standards of national security.” This goal was developed through extensive consultation with leaders from the airline, hospitality and travel industries, airport authorities, and state and local governments.

The report contains more than just a goal. To ensure success, the Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security are establishing a new interagency task force, co-chaired by the Deputy Secretaries of Commerce and Homeland Security, which will engage with a broad array of industry stakeholders to identify the factors that drive a traveler’s perception of the international arrivals experience and decision to visit the United States. We will assess the arrivals process from planedisembarkment to primary passport inspection and baggage collection to exiting the airport through final baggage inspection, and the task force will use the results of the assessments to inform ongoing improvement of the arrivals process.

U.S. Census Bureau Releases Key Statistics for Valentine's Day

U.S. Census Bureau Releases Key Statistics for Valentine's Day

Expressing one’s love to another is a celebrated custom on Valentine’s Day. Sweethearts and family members present gifts to one another, such as cards, candy, flowers and other symbols of affection. Opinions differ as to who was the original Valentine, but the most popular theory is that he was a clergyman who was executed for secretly marrying couples in ancient Rome. In A.D. 496, Pope Gelasius I declared Feb. 14 as Valentine Day. Esther Howland, a native of Massachusetts, is given credit for selling the first mass-produced valentine cards in the 1840s. The spirit continues today with even young children exchanging valentine’s cards with their fellow classmates. Following are some key statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau in recognition of Valentine's Day.



Number of U.S. manufacturing establishments that produced chocolate products in 2012, employing 37,998 people. California led the nation with 152 of these establishments, followed by New York, with 119.



The total number of florist establishments nationwide in 2012. These businesses employed 62,397 people.

Giving Love a Second Chance


Among people 15 and older who have been married, the percentage of men and women in 2013 who have been married twice, and 5.3 percent have been married three or more times. By comparison, 75.5 percent of people who have been married have done so just once.

“Please Be Mine”

 29.0 and 26.6 years 

Median age at first marriage in 2013 for men and women, respectively.

For more more key statistics, please visit the U.S. Census Bureau's Facts for Features.

Hack Housing Spurs Private Sector Innovation through Open Data

Hack Housing Spurs Private Sector Innovation through Open Data (Photo Credit: Zillow)

Guest blog post by Shula Markland, Senior Data Architect, Office of the Chief Information Office, HUD and Jeff Meisel, Presidential Innovation Fellow, U.S. Census Bureau 

On February 6-8, over 200 software developers, designers and makers gathered at the Zillow headquarters in downtown Seattle for “Hack Housing”, a hackathon co-hosted by Zillow and the University of Washington. Teams of programmers spent the weekend using open data to build apps that help people find affordable, accessible places to live – and pitching their products in competition for a $10,000 top prize. Zillow Co-Founder Rich Barton, former White House Deputy CTO Nick Sinai, and Lisa Wolters from the Seattle Housing Authority kicked off the event on Friday. The 72-hour jam session also featured an inspiring video message from Nani Coloretti, Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

Zillow uses open data from multiple federal agencies including HUD, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Census Bureau, to deliver insights and information on housing, schools, and communities as part of their living database of more than 110 million homes. 

“The Hack Housing event is a blueprint for how government can use our valuable open data assets to help bring private sector innovation to tackle key policy challenges, such as helping seniors age in their homes and connecting low income renters and first time home buyers to housing opportunities,” according to Lynn Overmann, Deputy Chief Data Officer of the U.S. Department of Commerce. “Bringing together thought-leaders from industry, academia and local, state, and federal government can generate really compelling product ideas to help solve some of our most difficult housing issues and also drive economic impact.” 

The teams at Hack Housing focused on user-centered design to address the needs of specific sets of users, including first-time homebuyers, older Americans and lower-income families. The White House, U.S. Department of Commerce, HUD, Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Census Bureau supported the event by providing know-how and open datasets. 

NOAA Launches New Deep Space Solar Monitoring Satellite

NOAA Launches New Deep Space Solar Monitoring Satellite

NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, last night at 6:03 p.m. EST on its way to an orbit one million miles from Earth. DSCOVR will give NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) forecasters more reliable measurements of solar wind conditions, improving their ability to monitor potentially harmful solar activity.

When it reaches its final destination about 110 days from now, and after it completes a series of initialization checks, DSCOVR will be the nation’s first operational satellite in deep space, orbiting between Earth and the Sun at a point called the Lagrange point, or L1. It will take its place at L1 alongside NASA’s Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) research satellite, replacing the 17-year old ACE as America’s primary warning system for solar magnetic storms headed towards Earth. Meanwhile, ACE will continue its important role in space weather research. 

Data from DSCOVR, coupled with a new forecast model that is set to come online later this year, will enable NOAA forecasters to predict geomagnetic storm magnitude on a regional basis. Geomagnetic storms occur when plasma and magnetic fields streaming from the sun impact Earth’s magnetic field. Large magnetic eruptions from the sun have the potential to bring major disruptions to power grids, aviation, telecommunications, and GPS systems. 

According to the National Academies of Sciences, a major solar storm has the potential to cost upwards of $2 trillion, disrupting telecommunications, GPS systems, and the energy grid.  As the nation’s space weather prediction agency, when DSCOVR is fully operational and our new space weather forecast models are in place, we will be able to provide vital information to industries and communities to help them prepare for these storms.

Northern California MBDA Business Centers Help Minority Entrepreneurs Enter Technology Transfer, Innovation Market

The San Francisco Minority Business Development Center signs partnership agreement with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in August, 2014.

Guest blog post by the San Francisco MBDA Business Center 

Led by National Director Alejandra Castillo, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) has been collaborating with the San Francisco MBDA Business Center (SFMBC), operated by ASIAN, Inc., to advance a groundbreaking technology transfer and innovation agenda.   

The SFMBC, along with its sister San Jose and Fresno MBDA Business Centers, serve the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, which is universally recognized as one of the world’s leading regions for technology innovation and entrepreneurship. Minority business entrepreneurs (MBEs) in this region are not short of innovative ideas and are all too eager to gain access to cutting-edge technologies from national laboratories and universities, especially in life sciences, IT, and clean technology sectors. We’re working diligently to get those MBEs into these emerging markets. 

In September 2014, the SFMBC began piloting MBDA’s strategic Technology Transfer and Innovation Program. Closely working with Director Castillo, we designed our pilot model to engage regional MBEs with technology transfer and innovation concepts in an effort to connect them with U.S. and international investors, including angel investors and venture capital firms, and conventional funding, as well as to assist them with developing strategic commercialization channels. 

To increase awareness among local and regional MBEs and partners we jointly launched the initiative with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)Keiretsu Forum, and other professional service partners in October 2014 at our regional 2014 Minority Enterprise Development Week conference in San Jose. 

At the invitation of Director Castillo, the San Francisco team also brought in its partners and presented the pilot model to national-level MBE audiences at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)’s "Innovations in STEM: National Priorities and NIST" Symposium in November 2014. 

As members of the Keiretsu Forum, the San Francisco and San Jose MBDA Business Center team actively participated in the Forum’s Angel Capital Expo that same month, connecting with regional MBEs and over 500 angel investors worldwide. In January 2015, the team was invited to the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, a gateway to connecting foreign investors with investment opportunities in cutting-edge U.S. technologies in life sciences. 

Supporting Wireless Innovation Through a “Model City”

Supporting Wireless Innovation Through a “Model City”

The United States is fast becoming a wireless nation. The demand for wireless devices in all sectors of our lives – from smartphones to smart utility meters – is driving the exploding demand for access to spectrum. By 2019, Cisco predicts there will be a seven-fold increase in data traffic. 

The Obama administration has been working hard to meet this demand, pledging to make 500 megahertz of additional spectrum available for mobile broadband by 2020. The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which manages the federal government’s use of spectrum, has been working with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other federal agencies to make more federal spectrum available for commercial use. At the same time, we are working to balance the needs of federal agencies that rely on spectrum to perform a wide range of mission-critical functions – from communicating with weather satellites, to navigating passenger planes and protecting our nation’s borders. 

Meeting the sky-rocketing demand for wireless technologies has required new approaches to freeing up spectrum beyond the traditional model of clearing spectrum for exclusive commercial use. Spectrum sharing between federal and nonfederal users also has to be part of the solution. To further this effort, NTIA and the FCC sought public comment last summer on whether to launch a proposed “Model City” that could test the most advanced sharing technologies in a real-world setting. Testing these new technologies will help promote innovation in this field by enabling shared use of a variety of frequencies used by federal agencies, while at the same time supporting the development of new wireless technologies that require access to spectrum to function. 

Last month, NTIA and the FCC co-hosted a roundtable discussion at the FCC to meet with those who submitted comments on the Model City Joint Public Notice and discuss the Model City concept and   framework. Participants expressed great interest in the Model City concept as a groundbreaking way to demonstrate and evaluate innovative spectrum sharing technologies. The participants also recommended launching the proposal in more than one city. 

Moving forward, NTIA and the FCC plan to host a public workshop this spring to gather more input on the Model City concept. Among the topics the workshop is likely to explore include what types of cities would be best for testing sharing technologies, how should these model city experiments be funded, and what frequencies and applications should be part of the test? 

By looking for innovative ways and next generation technologies to meet the growing demand for spectrum while making the most efficient use of this vital resource, the United States will ensure it retains its leadership in wireless broadband innovation, which has been an important contributor to U.S. economic growth.

NOAA Identifies Six Nations Engaging in Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing

Worldwide economic losses from IUU fishing from ships such as this are estimated to be between $10 billion and $23 billion annually. (Credit: U.S. Coast Guard)

Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, and NOAA’s administrator at the SeaWeb Seafood Summit in New Orleans released a new NOAA report that identified six nations -- Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Nigeria, Nicaragua, and Portugal -- as engaging in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU).  IUU fishing and seafood fraud undermine international efforts to sustainably manage and rebuild fisheries, and creates unfair market competition for fishermen playing by the rules, like those in the United States. The findings are part of the 2015 biennial report to Congress. 

The SeaWeb Seafood Summit brings together global representatives from the seafood industry with leaders from the conservation community, academia, government, and the media for in-depth discussions, presentations, and networking around the issue of sustainable seafood. The goal of the Summit is to foster dialogue and partnerships that lead to a seafood marketplace that is environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable. 

Protecting the country’s reputation as a leader in sustainable fishing is at the heart of President Obama’s efforts to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and seafood fraud around the world.  The report also highlights U.S. findings and analyses of foreign IUU fishing activities and of bycatch of protected species and shark catch on the high seas where nations do not have a regulatory program comparable to the United States.  

In addition to undermining international fisheries efforts, IUU fishing can also devastate fish populations and their productive marine habitats, threatening global food security and economic stability. Global losses attributable to IUU fishing have been estimated to be between $10 billion and $23 billion annually, undermining the ability to sustainably manage fisheries as well as economic opportunities for U.S. fishermen.   

The report is a requirement of the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act, as amended by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act and the Shark Conservation Act. 

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and our other social media channels.

Secretary Pritzker Visits New York City’s Flatiron School to See Innovative Approach to Skills Training

Secretary Pritzker Visits New York City’s Flatiron School to See Innovative Approach to Skills Training

Last week in New York City, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker visited the Flatiron School, which teaches coding skills to students at all career and skill levels to prepare them for technology and data jobs. While learning about Flatiron’s innovative approach to skills training, Secretary Pritzker spoke with students, employers and business leaders involved with the school about the importance of job-driven workforce development.  

Founded in 2012, the school has trained more than 350 students in its unique 12-week intensive coding program, and has seen 99% of its graduates get a job in their preferred discipline.
Co-founders Adam Enbar and Avi Flombaum led Secretary Pritkzer on a tour of the school, explaining why they created Flatiron: to provide an alternative way to train students for in-demand jobs in data and coding. During the tour, Flatiron alumni presented apps they have created using the skills they learned at the school and data from the government.
One student team used data straight from the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) to create an interactive visualization of gross output by industry from 2005-2013. By connecting Commerce data with relevant news articles, this project allows users to better understand why economic trends happened at a certain point in time. Other students demonstrated the web app HeatSeek, which identifies landlords who illegally turn off the heat. To prove the heat has been turned off, the team integrates public New York City 311 heating complaint information with a system of temperature sensors that collect and transmit temperature data.
After meeting with students and learning about their hands-on experience, Secretary Pritzker led a roundtable discussion with technology and business leaders who work with the school about the specific skills and needs of the data-driven economy. The participants included representatives from Microsoft, DoSomething.Org, The New York Times, UniteUS, Wiser, New York Tech Meetup, Alphasights, and RMS.

BEA Constantly Innovates to Produce New Statistics Measuring the U.S. Economy

BEA Constantly Innovates to Produce New Statistics Measuring the U.S. Economy

The Bureau of Economic Analysis is producing new economic statistics over the course of this year that offer businesses and households additional tools to make informed decisions and illustrate BEA’s innovative approach to better measure the dynamic U.S. economy.

Arts and Culture Statistics: These new annual statistics, released on Jan. 12, show the impact of arts and culture on the U.S. economy. The new data provides detailed information on spending on arts and culture as well as employment in those industries.

Health Care Statistics: BEA released data on Jan. 22 that -- for the first time -- provides information about the changes in prices to treat different diseases -- illustrating trends in prices from 2000 through 2010. BEA also released new statistics on spending to treat different medical conditions for those same years. Data for 2011 and 2012 will be released in the spring.

State Economic Activity: BEA on Sept. 2 will start releasing on a regular basis new quarterly statistics detailing economic activity in each state. The data offers a more up-to-date picture of how the states economies are faring and provides a more detailed view of economic activity across the entire United States.

• Consumer Spending by State:  BEA will begin producing these new annual statistics on a regular basis starting Dec. 1.  The data shows how much consumers spend in each state and provides details on the kinds of goods and services they buy.

New International Investment Statistics: These statistics, which BEA plans to release later this year, provides information on “greenfield” investment – investment that occurs when a foreign firm establishes a new U.S. business or expands an existing one by building a new plant or facility.

U.S. Exports Hit Record High for the Fifth Straight Year

Total Exports in 2014 were 2.35 trillion.

Guest Blog Post by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker

Trade Agreements Will Help Accelerate Economic Growth

Today, the Commerce Department announced new data that show U.S. businesses exported $2.35 trillion of our goods and services in 2014, hitting a record high for the fifth straight year. U.S. goods exports increased 2.7 percent to a record $1.64 trillion in 2014. Records were set in exports of capital goods; consumer goods; petroleum products; foods, feeds, and beverages; and automotive vehicles and parts. Annual services exports hit an all-time high of $710.3 billion, led by record export levels in the travel, transport, charges for the use of intellectual property, and financial services sectors.

What does this mean for American businesses and American workers? Exports have been a key driver in our economic comeback. Exports support 11.3 million American jobs, and contributed one-third of our annual growth between 2009 and 2013. In some cities– like Kansas City, Albuquerque, Youngstown, Columbus, and Detroit – exports drove nearly all growth out of the recession.

As I have traveled across the United States, speaking with more than 1,500 CEOs and business leaders, I have seen firsthand the way exports are benefiting American companies and workers. Take Davenport Aviation, a certified distributor of spare parts and aviation equipment based in Columbus, Ohio.  Davenport Aviation is a small business – they now have eleven employees – but taking advantage of the global marketplace has helped them grow every year since they opened in 2009. Exports account for 99 percent of their business, and this year, because of increased demand, Davenport Aviation plans to add at least 3-4 new jobs.

All over the country, exporters like Davenport Aviation are growing and creating jobs. While America’s economy is on the right track, we have more work to do to ensure our growth is sustainable. Exports are a critical part of that effort, which is why President Obama has made increased trade a top priority. In today’s global economy, American prosperity is directly tied to our ability to reach new markets and new customers overseas. We know that 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside our borders, so gaining greater access to markets abroad will allow our companies to expand, hire more workers, and pay better wages here at home.

Enacting trade promotion legislation will give the President the ability to move forward on trade agreements that will open doors for American businesses, including small businesses like Davenport Aviation. Passing trade promotion legislation this year is critical. 

In addition, we must finish and implement two major trade agreements that would open up new markets to U.S. goods and services: the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP). Once completed, these two agreements will give the United States free trade arrangements with 65 percent of global GDP and give our businesses a large base of new potential customers. For example, while the Asia-Pacific is currently home to 570 million middle class consumers, that number is expected to reach 2.7 billion by 2030, and this Administration wants our American businesses and workers to have access to that opportunity. 

A Record Year for American Exports, Further Proof of American Greatness

Under Secretary Stefan M. Selig (second from left) discusses the importance of exports as part of a panel discussion hosted by the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC on February 5, 2015.

Cross blog post by Stefan M. Selig is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

“The shadow of crisis has passed,” the President declared in his State of the Union two weeks ago, and the export data we released today goes to the heart of that very point.

The Commerce Department announced today that the U.S. economy hit a new annual record for exports, with $2.35 trillion in goods and services shipped in 2014.

That also represents the fifth consecutive year that our economy yielded record exports, going back to 2010 when the President launched the National Export Initiative.

If you take a deeper dive into the numbers, you see that exports are an important chapter in the larger story of our economic recovery.

Last year, we achieved record annual goods exports with Canada ($312 billion), Mexico ($240 billion) and China ($124 billion). In fact, the U.S. economy had record goods exports with 52 countries in 2014.

It was also a banner year when it came to goods exports with our free trade agreement (FTA) markets. You would expect that our exports to these countries would be strong. But last year saw enormous year-over-year growth in a variety of FTA markets throughout the world: up 7% with South Korea, 9% with Guatemala, 10% with Colombia, 11% with the Dominican Republic, and 28% with Oman.

Our services industry also enjoyed a banner year in 2014, hitting an all-time high of $710 billion.

Travel and tourism remained our strongest service export (it is easy to forget that every dollar a foreign visitor spends on airfare, lodging, and entertainment counts as an export dollar) coming in at $182 billion.

It was also a record year for goods exports, exceeding $1.6 trillion. When you take a look at individual sectors, it is easy to see a compelling story.

Exports of passenger cars represented our third-largest source of year-over-year growth—$61 billion in exports—an increase of more than $4 billion. Our three leading export markets for U.S. passenger cars were Canada, China, and Germany.

FY 2016 Budget Request Prioritizes Innovation

FY 2016 Budget Request Prioritizes Innovation

Yesterday, Secretary Pritzker released the U.S. Department of Commerce’s fiscal year 2016 budget request. The FY 2016 budget request supports and builds on President Obama’s vision for creating economic opportunity that will benefit all Americans. The budget includes critical funding for key Commerce priorities, including promoting trade and investment, fueling our data-driven economy, and spurring innovation. 

The U.S. Commerce Department plays a critical role in promoting U.S. economic growth and providing vital scientific and environmental information. The FY16 budget request directly aligns with the Department’s “Open for Business Agenda,” which reflects Commerce's role as the voice of business and the Obama Administration’s focus on economic growth and job creation.  
Manufacturing is critical to innovation since it creates new growth industries, jobs and strengthens our economy. The budget supports the expansion of a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) with up to 45 manufacturing innovation institutes across the nation. In total, the budget includes discretionary funding for seven new institutes, including $140 million for the first two Commerce-led institutes, and an additional $1.9 billion mandatory proposal to fulfill the President’s vision. NNMI has kept America on the front-lines of discovery, which has resulted in our businesses, our manufacturers, and the American economy globally competition in the 21stcentury economy.
The budget also invests in the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support innovative economic development planning, regional capacity building, and capital projects, which includes the Regional Innovation Strategies Program. This program promotes economic development projects that spur entrepreneurship and innovation at the regional level, which has resulted in the establishment of proof-of-concept centers that foster the rapid commercialization of research and startup creation; The feasibility and planning of new research parks where academic and industry can collaborate; and Providing technical assistance for regions wanting to establish seed-capital funding programs for startups.
Additionally, the budget provides $49 million for NTIA, which is a demonstration of the Administration’s continued commitment to broadband telecommunications as a driver of economic development, job creation, technological innovation, and enhanced public safety. The President’s broadband vision of freeing up 500 MHz of Federal spectrum, promoting broadband competition in communities throughout the country, and connecting over 99 percent of schools to high-speed broadband connections through the ConnectED initiative will create thousands of quality jobs and ensure that students have access to the best educational tools available.
Lastly, through the implementation of the America Invents Act, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) continues to make it easier for American entrepreneurs and businesses to bring their inventions to the marketplace sooner, converting ideas into new products and new jobs. The budget allows USPTO to fund operations and to further implement administrative actions proposed by the President’s Patent Task Force. The USPTO offers countless resources such as, the Track One Prioritized Examination Program, which allows small businesses to get a final disposition within about twelve months.
Learn more about the fiscal year 2016 budget request and the many ways it supports the Department of Commerce’s mission.

The Important Work of NACIE Begins

The Important Work of NACIE Begins

Guest blog post by Julie Goonewardene, Vice Chancellor for Innovation & Strategic Investment, Diaceutics Chairwoman, AMA Board, MBI Board

Last year, I was honored to be appointed as an advisor to Secretary Pritzker as part of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE). NACIE is emblematic of all the entrepreneurs, educators, philanthropists, and innovators in all sectors of the economy who are working to ensure that our country remains a place of opportunity, innovation and entrepreneurship for generations to come. In December 2014 Secretary Pritzker convened the first meeting of the 27-member NACIE. My NACIE colleagues impress me. We are a diverse group, and I was excited to hear from my fellow council members as they brought their experiences to bear as we began discussing the issues. I can’t think of a better group to address the challenges of creating an innovation economy.

As the current NACIE we are charged with bringing our ideas, and networks together to identify and recommend policies, programs, and partnerships that can help American businesses, individuals, and communities become even more competitive in the global marketplace.

Economic development is hard. It demands years of sustained effort that transcends political movements, market cycles, demographic changes, and geopolitical shifts. It also requires people from all sectors of the economic ecosystem to analyze and understand what is working, to offer alternatives where improvement is needed, and to reach consensus around policies and investments that support paths to prosperity for all Americans.

The Secretary and her team, marshaled by the Director of EDA’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Julie Kirk, expect every council member to come to meetings prepared to contribute. Our first workshop began with an exchange of backgrounds and philosophies then broke into three standing committees — Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Workforce Development — where the Council will conduct the majority of its work.

2015 National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

2015 National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

Last week, the National Inventors Hall of Fame, in partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced the 2015 Hall of Fame inductees. These visionary inventors each patented inventions that revolutionized their industries and changed people’s lives. Of the fourteen new inductees, seven will be honored posthumously. 

The National Inventors Hall of Fame, located in the Madison Building on the USPTO campus in Alexandria, Virginia, was established in 1973 and honors monumental individuals who have contributed great technological and scientific achievements and helped stimulate growth for our nation and beyond. The criteria for induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame requires candidates to hold a U.S. patent that has contributed significantly to the nation's welfare and the advancement of science and the useful arts. 

This year’s class of inductees includes Nobel Prize winner Shuji Nakamura, responsible for the blue light-emitting diode (LED) which enabled the white LED, and the blue laser diode; Jaap Haartsen, the inventor of Bluetooth® technology, now used in 2.7 billion devices and growing; George Alcorn, who furthered deep space exploration with his X-ray spectrometer; Kristina M. Johnson and Gary Sharp, pioneers in display technology related to rear projection television and 3D applications; duo Ioannis Yannas and John Burke, who have saved the lives of many burn victims with their invention of Artificial Skin; and Thomas Jennings, the first African American to receive a patent, who invented the precursor to modern dry cleaning. Watch this short National Inventors Hall of Fame video on the 2015 inductees. 

Both the new and previous inductees will be honored in a three-day event series. It will kick off with a illumination ceremony at the USPTO campus in Alexandria, Virginia on May 11th, followed by the National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on May 12 at the American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery, and a panel discussion on May 13th presented with the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History. The National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be emceed by CBS News correspondent and television personality Mo Rocca.

The Benefits of IMCP

A US Navy welder works at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Photo courtesy US Navy

Guest Blog by Sarah Lee, Principal Economic Development Manager, Puget Sound Regional Council

Washington State brought in $7 million in IMCP-aligned federal agency funds just months after receiving one of the “manufacturing community” designations from the U.S. Department of Commerce. That’s a pretty shining endorsement of the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) program, right? But the truth is Washington State began reaping the benefits of the program even before we submitted our application. The value of this program is about even more than funding.

Our IMCP application was based on the Washington Aerospace Strategy, already developed by the Governor’s Office of Aerospace and the Washington Aerospace Partnership, so we had a head start. The application process pushed us to dig deeper, to prioritize projects and firm up commitments. We reached out to more stakeholders than we had before, which meant we uncovered great programs and projects and discovered partners we didn’t even know we had.

For example, we hadn’t fully explored what our local Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) could do for us. MEP is a National Institute of Standards and Technology program that helps small and medium manufacturers create and retain jobs, increase profits, and save time and money. With a median size of 98 employees, our state’s aerospace suppliers definitely qualify for MEP programs. As a result, two of the six catalytic investments outlined in our IMCP plan are projects developed in partnership with our MEP. We have already secured funds for one of those projects, and the MEP relationship continues to open new doors. 

EDA Tools: Supporting Investment in Local Communities

Data Driving Development:  EDA Releases New Cluster Mapping Tool to Help Spur Regional Economic Growth

A community can’t attract investment if it doesn’t have a clear sense of what it has to offer to a potential company or industry looking to locate there. That’s why the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has tools to help communities identify assets in their regions that will help to attract private investment: the National Excess Manufacturing Capacity Catalogue (NEXCAP) and the U.S. Cluster Mapping website.

In the United States, there are hundreds of millions of square feet of nonproductive commercial, industrial, and manufacturing space. This space provides an opportunity for domestic companies to find manufacturing spaces as well as foreign companies looking to locate operations in the United States. However, information about this space can be incomplete and scattered. That’s where NEXCAP comes in. With funding from EDA, NEXCAP is uniquely and comprehensively cataloging these vacant manufacturing facilities, their assets, and those of the surrounding community. The searchable catalog offers companies seeking manufacturing production sites/facilities in the U.S. a complete and detailed overview of potential manufacturing sites. NEXCAP's site inventory and portal is populated with detailed profiles of the facilities and their host communities. It provides companies seeking locations with a toolkit of information to guide their business location and/or expansion decisions. This benefits the communities with properties by attracting investment and new, job creating industries.

Puerto Rico MBDA Business Center’s MED Week Event Helps Local Entrepreneurs, Businesses Expand Their Opportunities

Isabella Cascarano, U.S. Embassy of Dominican Republic,  Jose Burgos USEAC, of Puerto Rico, James W. Brewster, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Gabriela Morales, MBDA Business Development Specialist, Teresa Berrios, Puerto Rico MBDA Business Center's Director, and Alejandra Y. Castillo, MBDA's National Director, ready to meet local entrepreneurs during the Puerto Rico MBDA Business Center's MED Week Conference in San Juan's Condado Plaza Hotel, Jan. 30.

Puerto Rican businesses and entrepreneurs looking for opportunities that drive growth found them during Puerto Rico’s MBDA Business Center’s Minority Enterprise Development Week (MED Week) conference held on January 30th in San Juan’s Condado Plaza Hotel.

The MED Week in Puerto Rico continued the celebration of the Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) 45th Anniversary.  It was also another opportunity to amplify our continued efforts in Puerto Rico to assist minority-owned firms grow in size and scale, and diversify into the industries of tomorrow.

To that end, this past year, we engaged the Puerto Rico MBDA Business Center on several important business endeavors.  One of them was ensuring that minority firms in Puerto Rico were well positioned to export, and that’s precisely why we invited James W. Brewster, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic to be the keynote speaker at this year’s MED Week event.  As a critical trade partner, we wanted to talk about the exporting opportunities that exist in the Dominican Republic, but also throughout all the Caribbean nations.

America’s Economic Resurgence: Invest in the U.S.A - The 2015 SelectUSA Summit Agenda

SelectUSA 2015 Investment Summit

There has never been a better time to invest in the United States. With a resurgent economy and a strong economic foundation to support growth for years to come, it is no wonder the United States is the world’s top destination for businesses looking to expand.

Building on this, President Obama is hosting the second SelectUSA Investment Summit, which is right around the corner.  On March 23-24, more than 2,500 people from around the world and every corner of the United States will gather in Washington to explore opportunities to grow their businesses.  This is a “don’t miss” event, and we are excited to unveil the Summit agenda. We hope you will consider joining us.

More than 1,200 people from 70 international markets have already registered, and we anticipate that the event will be filled to capacity well in advance of the Summit.

Why is interest so strong?  The United States offers an unprecedented investment climate for foreign investors of all sizes, a skilled and productive workforce, an unmatched higher education system, strong intellectual property protections, a serious commitment to innovation, and an abundant and stable energy supply.

The U.S. domestic market remains the world’s most attractive for foreign investment. Real GDP grew at a 5.0 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2014, and businesses have added 11.2 million jobs during a record 58 straight months of private-sector job growth. U.S.-based companies offer access to millions of global consumers through high quality Free Trade Agreements. More than ever, the U.S. market is driving global competitiveness. 

How can investors learn more about this unparalleled opportunity? Attend the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, D.C., March 23-24, of course.

Head Health Challenge III

Dr. Willie E. May, Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Technology and Standards and Acting Director, National Institute of Standards and Technology at the press conference announcing the Head Health Challenge III

Guest blog post by Dr. Willie E. May, Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Technology and Standards and Acting Director, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Today I had the honor of announcing a new public-private partnership, along with the National Football League (NFL), GE, and Under Armour. This unusual group of players is launching an open innovation competition to advance materials that better absorb or dissipate energy. These new materials could improve the performance of protective equipment for athletes, military personnel and first responders.

The announcement was made at a news conference in Phoenix as part of the NFL’s larger annual health and safety presentation for reporters prior to the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 1.

The NFL, GE, Under Armor, and NIST have each contributed $500,000 for a total of $2 million in prize money for the winners of the competition.

During the Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit in May 2014, President Obama announced a number of planned new investments from federal agencies, universities, the NFL, and even private donors all focused on lowering the societal cost of concussions and other brain injuries for athletes of all ages, our military forces, and other members of the public.

NIST is proud to join our partners in helping implement the President’s promise and realize his vision.

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:

  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:

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)


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)


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


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 <> 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 To access the companion interactive maps and the individualized county profiles, go to NACo’s County Explorer interactive map at 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


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,

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. 

Secretary Pritzker Attends World Economic Forum to Highlight Priorities Integral to Lasting Economic Recovery

This week, Secretary Pritzker traveled to Davos, Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum and participate in a panel discussion titled “The Outlook for the United States,” which focused on what Washington can accomplish in the next two years.

Moderated by Politico editor Susan Glasser, the panel also included Governor Hickenlooper of Colorado; Andrew Liveris, President and CEO of the Dow Chemical Company; Patrick McHenry, Republican Congressman from North Carolina; and Cecilia Rouse, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

During the candid conversation, Secretary Pritzker highlighted the momentum in the U.S. economy heading in to 2015, America’s strong position as a global investment destination, and the work that still needs to be done to continue a sustainable, lasting recovery. All participants agreed that trade is the most actionable agenda item that President Obama laid out in his State of the Union address. Secretary Pritzker stressed that while the American economy is already in a good position, it is imperative Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) be passed by Congress to pave the way for trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and to establish a more level playing field for American businesses globally. Completing and implementing new trade agreements will give the United States the opportunity to shape the rules that govern trade in the 21st century, while ensuring our businesses can compete around the world.

Secretary Pritzker also discussed the importance of preparing America’s workforce with the skills needed for the jobs of the future. The need for improved workforce development is an issue that has been raised by nearly all of the 1,500+  CEOs and business leaders she has met with as Commerce Secretary, and the Administration is strongly committed to working directly with the private sector to develop effective training programs that will prepare workers with the skills employers seek. Successful public-private partnerships include the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) competitive grant program – it has invested nearly $2 billion in hundreds of community colleges all across the country that have partnered with companies and national industry associations to expand job-driven training programs.

Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews and Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan also attended the World Economic Forum. Deputy Secretary Andrews utilized the opportunity to discuss the Department’s “Open for Business Agenda” with business leaders and CEOs from around the world, while Dr. Sullivan presented on how data is a public good that can save lives.

San Antonio MBDA Business Center’s Export Strategies Support Foreign Direct Investment

Look South logo

The San Antonio MBDA Business Center’s specialty is helping minority businesses (MBEs) find exporting opportunities in Latin America. Aligning with White House initiatives such as Look South, the center has assisted numerous MBEs develop international market entry strategies that vary by sector, size, capabilities, targeted countries and regions

The MBDA Business Center’s San Antonio Global Pathways Initiative has proven to be a conduit of global opportunities for domestic MBE clients. As a result of this success, some clients have engaged in partnerships with foreign enterprises.

“One of the tasks associated with the services we offer MBE’s preparing to export is to assist them with business to business relationships,” said Orestes Hubbard, Director of the San Antonio MBDA Business Center. “This service creates a two way opportunity for our client that sometimes serves as a platform to bring foreign direct investment into the U.S.”

BBM Staffing, LLC, a Mexican staffing services company, is an example of the benefit of the business to business relationship concept. The center has helped BBM Staffing, LLC expand their presence in Texas by helping them gain access to markets and capital for their operations.

Secretary Pritzker Travels to Charlotte to Discuss Future of U.S. Economy

Secretary Pritzker Travels to Charlotte to Discuss Future of U.S. Economy

On Wednesday, Secretary Penny Pritzker traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina to participate in an armchair discussion with Charlotte Chamber President and CEO Bob Morgan. She highlighted the progress made in America’s economic recovery in 2014, and discussed President Obama’s plans to build on that momentum with the policies discussed in the State of the Union Address. 

The evidence from 2014 is clear: for the past 58 straight months, the private sector added more than 11 million new jobs. Last year alone, 3 million jobs were created – the most since the 1990s. America’s GDP is up, while unemployment rate is down. There is no doubt that 2014 was a milestone year for the American economy.

With the economy improving, the Department of Commerce is focused on continuing the growth that occurred over the past year. During her conversation with Morgan that touched upon many of President Obama’s main priorities, Secretary Pritzker highlighted trade as a top issue on the agenda. By pushing for new trade agreements, the United States can reach new markets and create a fair environment for our companies to compete. If American businesses sell more goods and services to the 95 percent of consumers who live outside U.S. borders, they will grow the 11.3 million good-paying jobs here at home that are supported by exports.

Secretary Pritzker also stressed the need to invest in America’s greatest resource: its people. As business leaders look to build a workforce that meets the needs of the 21st century economy, the Administration has already invested more than $1 billion in competitive grants in 2014 for job-driven training models like apprenticeships and partnerships between community colleges and local employers.

Hosted at the University of North Carolina’s Charlotte Center City campus, the forum was attended by local business leaders as well as students. After the 45-minute discussion, Morgan took questions from the audience, and Secretary Pritzker elaborated on why infrastructure and corporate tax reform are integral to strengthening the economy.

During her trip to Charlotte, Secretary Pritzker also met with representatives from the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, Central Piedmont Community College, SEWW Energy, Charlotte Center City Partners, and UNC Charlotte.

As she does during many of her trips, the Secretary connected with local Commerce staff who work at the U.S. Export Assistance Centers in North Carolina and South Carolina. She thanked them for their work in connecting local companies with international buyers.

The Department’s “Open for Business Agenda” goes hand-in-hand with President Obama’s vision to empower the middle class and boost the economy, and Commerce staff, both at home and abroad, will continue working hard to make that vision a reality.

Data Snapshot: How Much Do Small- and Medium-sized Businesses Contribute to U.S. Exports?

SMEs accounted for approximately 35 percent of total goods export value -- continuing a steady growth trend of the past decade.

Guest blog post by Jane Callen, Economics and Statistics Administration.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama said that “21st century businesses, including small businesses, need to sell more American products overseas.  Today, our businesses export more than ever, and exporters tend to pay their workers higher wages…”

Following on the President’s remarks, we thought it would be valuable to take a quick “data snapshot” of the most recent annual report on exporting companies published by the U.S. Census Bureau. The 2014 report shows that small-and-medium-sized companies continue to contribute a larger share of our exports than in the past. As the below graph shows, in 2013 (the most recent year for which we have data), these companies accounted for approximately 35 percent of total goods export value -- continuing a steady growth trend of the past decade.

Exports of American products overseas are important to the economic health of the U.S., and these data highlight the significant ongoing role of small-and-medium-sized companies. Stay tuned to this space for regular data “snapshots” of what is happening in the world around us, as seen through our statistical lens.

2015 Will Be the Biggest Year Yet for International Opportunities for Regional Economic Development

JoAnn Crary, CEcD, President of Saginaw Future, Inc. and 2015 Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council

Guest blog post by JoAnn Crary, CEcD, President of Saginaw Future, Inc. and 2015 Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Economic Development Council

2015 is off to a great start for International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and I am excited and honored to spend the next 12 months as the Chair of our Board of Directors. In this capacity, I will be traveling the globe and conferring with my fellow economic developers on many of the pressing issues and opportunities our profession is facing. One event I am particularly looking forward to attending is the 2nd SelectUSA Investment Summit. Having attended the first Investment Summit in 2013, I can personally attest to the value of coming to Washington to meet with colleagues from across the U.S., hundreds of international investors – I’m told this year’s summit will feature twice as many investors – and hear from a robust speaking program featuring top administration leaders in foreign direct investment attraction.

Foreign direct investment has proven to be a vital tool in the economic developer’s toolbox in the years following the Great Recession. In my own community, Saginaw, Michigan, it has contributed to the creation or retention of thousands of jobs over the past five years. One company, Nexteer, has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in expanding their operations in Saginaw, which has resulted in thousands of jobs being created or retained. As an economic developer, I cannot overstate the importance of the resources that SelectUSA has provided my organization and countless others within my profession. Simply put: SelectUSA brings clarity, focus and action to the role of the federal government in supporting FDI attraction at the local, regional and state level. They are an essential partner in the work of economic developers to create jobs and improve the quality of life in our communities. They are also a valued partner of IEDC in Washington and have played a key role in raising the profile of our profession over the past few years.

Commerce Efforts Featured Prominently in President Obama’s State of the Union Address

Last night, the American people heard President Obama deliver a strong and clear message in his State of the Union address: that America’s resurgence is real. In his sixth address to Congress, he noted  that the economy is in the best shape since before the Great Recession. Thanks to the hard work of America’s businesses and workers – and the tough decisions made by the Administration the economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999. The unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis, GDP is rising, exports are at a record high and the United States is outpacing its competitors across the globe. That news is to be celebrated, but there is more work to be done. The task now is to build on this foundation of progress; to continue a sustainable, real and lasting recovery for all Americans. 

To ensure that America continues to be the number one economy in the world, the President outlined a strong trade agenda. Pursuing new trade agreements is essential to creating more jobs, strengthening our competitiveness, and spurring our prosperity. 95 percent of the world’s consumers live beyond the U.S.’s borders, an opportunity that no company would or should ignore. With new trade agreements, new markets will be opened to U.S. products, helping U.S. businesses reach more customers. In today’s global economy, the country’s prosperity is directly tied to our ability to reach new markets and consumers beyond our borders.
Being able to meet the needs of millions of new customers requires the United States continue to invest in advanced manufacturing. After a decade of decline, the manufacturing sector is adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s and poised for increased growth in the years ahead. President Obama announced he will build on recent bipartisan legislation to strengthen manufacturing by expanding on the eight National Network for Manufacturing Innovation Institutes already created to complete 15 Institutes by the end of his term. That puts the United States on pace for 45 institutes in the next decade. The President also highlighted a new $10 billion public-private American Made Scale-Up Fund for manufacturing start-ups, ensuring that what is invented in America can be made in America.

Swiss Foreign Direct Investment Promotes Jobs in the United States

Ambassador LeVine and Swiss Business Leaders at White House Investment Mission

Cross-post by Suzan "Suzi" LeVine, U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein

Jobs, Jobs, and more Jobs. One role that we, as diplomats, play is that of business development. Why? Because of Shared Prosperity. Our economies are deeply intertwined so, a rising tide lifts all boats. Especially with a theme of quality job creation in this year’s State of the Union, we wanted to share the outcomes and opportunities from a meeting that was all about growing investment and jobs in the United States. 

A week ago, on January 13th, I, along with Swiss Vice President Schneider-Ammann led a delegation of executives and CEOs from eight Swiss companies who have or will have a footprint in the United States to the White house to meet with Cabinet and senior members of the Obama administration to talk about doing business in the United States. The goal was to hear from these executives why they’ve chosen to invest in the United States and what additional opportunities and/or challenges they are seeing because of the business climate in the United States. In other words, for the U.S. Government officials, this was an opportunity to gather feedback in order to increase investment and -- ultimately, great jobs -- in the United States. For the executives, it was an opportunity to identify ways to further grow their businesses. 

This was the first time business leaders from a single country have had a meeting of this kind in the White House. And this set of companies represented a diverse cross-section of Swiss Businesses -- diverse in size, industry, and location (both in Switzerland and the United States). They included Alevo Group, Bühler, the Kudelski Group, Nestlé, Novartis, Pilatus Aircraft, Reha Technology, and Zurich Insurance Group. And the right people from the administration were in the meeting to hear and act on their feedback. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, Director of the National Economic Council Jeff Zients, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Executive Director of SelectUSA Vinai Thummalapally, Deputy National Security Council and National Economic Council Advisor Caroline Atkinson, and Acting Assistant Secretary of Education Johann Uvin were all there to listen, absorb, and discuss. 

Feedback was shared and discussed regarding tax reform, immigration, IP protection, our shared values, and more. 

The meeting was well-timed because that same day, new job statistics came out sharing a five million job gap in the United States. That means there are five million jobs going unfilled because there are not people with the skills to do those jobs. Today, in his State of the Union, President Obama spoke not just about creating great jobs but also about ensuring we have the workforce in the United States to do those jobs. And -- again -- this was a persistent theme for these companies. In order to further invest in the United States, they need a qualified work force with which to fill those jobs. Jobs of all shapes and sizes: software developers and IT professionals, insurance claims adjusters, metal workers, pharmaceutical lab technicians and on and on. 

Secretary Pritzker and Deputy Secretary Andrews Participate in MLK Day of Service

Secretary Pritzker and Deputy Secretary Andrews Participate in MLK Day of Service

On Monday, Secretary Penny Pritzker participated in the Project Management Day of Service ScopeAthon as part of the Martin Luther King Day of service.

ScopeAthon involved 600 project managers, who provided 6 hours of volunteer effort to nearly 200 charity and nonprofit organizations that focused on healthcare, environment, education, fine arts, and social services. Events like the ScopeAthon allow professionals to share their talent and expertise with nonprofits that may not have the funding or resources to access these services normally. Five DC Metro Area Project Management Institute chapters partnered with the Taproot Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that makes business talent available to organizations working to improve, society, to host the ScopeAthon.

The ScopeAthon focused on business professionals providing pro bono work for non-profits. This first of-its kind event provided project management as a pro bono service that provided over $200,000 worth of consulting to local nonprofits. Secretary Pritzker emphasized the importance of service and the significant role of the private sector has in improving communities through service. Events like the ScopeAthon embody the spirit of the day by allowing professionals to share their talent and expertise with nonprofits that may not have the funding or resources to access these services normally. The Secretary was joined by event director Kendall Lott; Liz Hamburg, President and CEO of the Taproot Foundation; Max Skolnick, Executive Director of Taproot DC; and a representative from Hewlett-Packard.

Additionally, Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews participated in City Year DC’s service project at Eastern Senior High School. There, Deputy Secretary Andrews helped paint a mural with other volunteers that fittingly read “Your Legacy is in Your Hands.” In addition to painting, several Commerce Department volunteers who joined Deputy Secretary Andrews were involved in light construction, organization, kit-making and other service projects. The projects complimented City Year DC’s primary focus to help turn schools into more engaging, educational, and vibrant places for students to learn and play. 

El Paso MBDA Business Center Kicks Off the New Year with Business Sunday

El Paso MBDA Business Center Kicks Off the New Year with Business Sunday

Guest blog post by Michelle Luevano, Director of the El Paso MBDA Business Center 

The MBDA Business Center-El Paso (Texas), operated by the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, kicked off the New Year with its first Business Sunday Event at Destiny Family Christian Center this past weekend. The event was organized in collaboration with the local El Paso SBA office and the Women’s Business Border Center (a joint project of the U.S. SBA and the Hispanic Chamber). The program was part of a larger effort at the national level to promote local economic growth and job creation by connecting congregations and communities with valuable business development resources offered by the federal government. Business Sunday is a reflection of President Obama's commitment to strengthening the economy by empowering people - business owners, entrepreneurs, community development organizations, faith-based groups and others - to effect positive change at the local level. 

Over 30 entrepreneurs, all at different stages in their entrepreneurial journey, gathered at Destiny Family Christian Center to learn about the resources the MBDA Business Center, SBA, and Women’s Business Border Center have to offer. Participants were given a brief presentation regarding each of the entrepreneurial technical assistance centers and were then encouraged to meet one on one with the local Business Development Specialists in attendance. Terri Reed, Project Director for the El Paso MBDA Business Center, said of the program, “This program is an excellent way of bringing business resources to entrepreneurs. Whether they are interested in starting a business or already have a business, we can provide resources and tools necessary to help them grow and be successful. Destiny Family Christian Center was a wonderful congregation to partner with as we launched this new project.” 

As a result of the success of this first event, the MBDA Business Center-El Paso will be reaching out to other congregations in the area to host similar events and connect more entrepreneurs with the resources necessary to make them successful.

Minority-owned firms seeking to penetrate new markets — domestic & global — and growing in size and scale, can access business experts at a MBDA Business Center. Whether it’s securing capital, competing for a contract, identifying a strategic partner or becoming export-ready, your success is our priority. 

The Centers are located in areas with the largest concentration of minority populations and the largest number of minority businesses. The Centers are staffed by business specialists who have the knowledge and practical experience needed to run successful and profitable businesses. Business referral services are provided free of charge. However, the network generally charges nominal fees for specific management and technical assistance services.

The Importance of Service

Assistant Secretary Jay Williams tours robotics lab with Detroit Public School Students at the Cody Academy of Public Leadership. Detroit was an early adopter of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative.

Guest blog post by Assistant Secretary of Commerce Jay Williams

We all face frustrations and challenges in our daily lives. Most of us are fortunate that our biggest complaint is often a bad day at our office job, the perils of DC traffic, or the fact that our DVR didn’t record the end of the game. It’s become a bit of a joke on social media with the advent of #FirstWorldProblems. Yet, there are many people living in the “First World” whose problems are much bigger than we realize.  

Many young men of color in this country live in poverty. In fact, minority children are 6 to 9 times more likely to be raised in areas of concentrated poverty. For most living below the poverty line, this gap in wealth creates a gap in opportunities that only grows as these children enter adulthood. I was privileged to have been afforded many opportunities growing up in a middle class household, but I know many of the other young black men of Youngstown, my hometown, were not so fortunate. That's why the President's efforts to address this issue are so personal to me. 

Last February, President Obama launched “My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential. 

I was honored to be invited to participate as an Ambassador for the MBK initiative and do my part to help achieve the program’s six main goals:

  • Ensuring that all of our children enter school cognitively, physically, socially and emotionally prepared
  • Ensuring that all of our children read at grade level by third grade
  • Ensuring that all of our young people graduate from high school
  • Ensuring that all of our young people complete post-secondary education or training
  • Ensuring that all youth are employed out of school
  • Ensuring that all of our young people are safe from violent crime 

These goals are the backbone of a larger effort in which cities, towns, and Tribal Nations across America will take up the President’s call to improve outcomes for all young people in their communities, to create a society where nobody is left behind and where all children have opportunities to succeed. EDA’s work in distressed communities and Commerce’s commitment to helping promote and support workforce training supports these goals and helps to make them a reality. 

Broadband: The Electricity of the 21st Century

President Barack Obama with Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker views demonstration of fiber optic spicing at Cedar Falls Utilities in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Jan. 14, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Cross blog post by U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, The White House Blog

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, American business owners, scientists, and entrepreneurs have driven our economy forward and kept the United States leading the way in innovation and global competition. A thread woven through the fabric of our national identity has been having the most productive and highly skilled workforce in the world.

A 21st-century America should be no different.

In order to help revitalize a struggling American economy in the post-Depression 1930s, the Rural Electrification Act called for a push to electrify rural areas. Connecting otherwise hard-to-reach communities through electricity and telephone services gave them the ability to more easily compete on both the national and global economic stage. It was an idea as deeply important to the viability of 20th-century rural America as telecommunications and broadband Internet access is today.

For most Americans, the click of a mouse is all it takes to open the door to a world of up-to-the-minute information and global commerce. In remote communities in particular, broadband brings with it new access to health care, education, and economic opportunities that have not been available in the past. But there are still many for whom this is not yet a reality.

In our travels across the country, time and time again we hear stories of the positive impacts of our work building a strong, secure infrastructure. Investments in broadband access have helped our workforce keep up with the increasingly fast speed of business and ensured that our rural communities remain competitive and attractive to new investors.

Since 2009, USDA has invested in new and improved broadband service to 1.49 million rural residents. That means expanded access to state-of-the-art health care, educational and cultural resources, and the opportunity for local businesses to compete in the global economy. In addition to core investments in broadband infrastructure, USDA has financed technologies that rely on broadband to ensure that rural Americans have access to 21st-century technology for education, health, and day-to-day life. For example, since 2009, our investments have helped more than 2,500 rural health care facilities use telemedicine to improve medical services for people living in remote rural areas, and more than 4,600 rural schools implement distance learning technology to expand their reach and improve access to information for thousands of students.

The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) invested more than $4 billion in grants through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program to build network infrastructure, establish public computer centers, and develop digital literacy training to expand broadband adoption. Through those projects, we’ve made significant progress. Commerce grantees have built or upgraded more than 113,000 miles of fiber and connected nearly 25,000 community anchor institutions, such as schools and libraries. Our grantees also have established or upgraded 3,000 public computer centers, trained more than 4 million people, and helped roughly 735,000 households sign up for broadband.

NTIA Announces BroadbandUSA Effort to Assist Communities with Broadband Plans

NTIA Announces BroadbandUSA Effort to Assist Communities with Broadband Plans

Cross blog post by Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling

Over the past five years, we at NTIA have seen first-hand through our broadband grant program the power of broadband to transform lives and impact communities. Broadband has become a cornerstone of economic growth, providing Americans the tools they need to participate in the rapidly growing digital economy.

NTIA invested more than $4 billion in grants through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program to build network infrastructure, establish public computer centers, and develop digital literacy training to expand broadband adoption. Through those projects, we’ve made significant progress. Our grantees have built or upgraded more than 113,000 miles of fiber and connected nearly 25,000 community anchor institutions, such as schools and libraries. Our grantees also have established or upgraded 3,000 public computer centers, trained more than four million people and helped roughly 735,000 households sign up for broadband. An independent studyreleased by NTIA today shows that these grants are projected to increase economic output by as much as $21 billion annually.

But there’s more work to be done. Investing in broadband is a matter of basic equity. Americans who do not have access to the Internet are increasingly cut off from job opportunities, educational resources, healthcare information and even government services. Communities that do not have high-speed infrastructure are increasingly at a disadvantage in attracting new businesses and new jobs and competing in today’s knowledge-based economy. Since 2009, broadband adoption has increased more than 12 percent in the United States and stands at 72 percent according to our latest reported data. That is a healthy growth rate but it still means that almost a quarter of U.S. households are not online at home.  

President Obama today is announcing a number of additional steps to help more Americans get access to fast, affordable and reliable broadband. And at NTIA, rest assured that we will remain at the forefront of federal efforts to ensure that all Americans share in the promise and potential of the digital economy. We’ve learned about what works and we’ve heard what communities need. And we’re eager to share the knowledge and expertise we’ve accumulated over the last few years. Today I’m happy to unveil our BroadbandUSA initiative aimed at finding new ways to assist communities seeking to ensure their citizens have the broadband capacity they need to advance economic development, education, health care, and public safety. 

Commerce and White House Ramp-Up Efforts to Open More Markets to American Goods and Services

Exports are a vital part of the Obama Administration’s economic growth agenda, therefore, the Commerce Department and the White House hosted a fly-in that brought business leaders from around the country to Washington for a panel discussion on ways to send more products stamped “Made in America” around the world. More than 60 small-medium-sized business leaders representing various industries were in attendance.

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker participated in a roundtable discussion about how trade benefits the communities in which these companies operate and these businesses leaders live. She called on business executives to do what she called “painting the brush strokes of each individual portrait” with their neighbors, customers, and employees to make the case to them that trade is not only a global and national priority – it is also a local opportunity.When business stories such as Inficon’s - an innovative company of 250 employees in Syracuse, New York that exports instrumentation -  are told, it paints the picture that trade does indeed impact the lives and livelihoods of citizens and their communities.

Ninety-five percent of the world’s customers live beyond U.S. borders. Secretary Pritzker is leading the charge to make exporting a larger part of the DNA of all American businesses. Key to achieving this goal and at the top of the Administration’s trade agenda is passage of Trade Promotion Authority, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic-Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP).  Once completed, TPP is expected to make it easier to sell American products and services to more than 40 percent of global GDP.  T-TIP will cover nations that account for nearly half of the global economy and nearly a third of world trade flows. 

In 2013 exports reached an all-time high of $2.3 trillion with 2014 expected to surpass that record. Trade is a gateway for American businesses to create jobs, grow the economy and bring the markets of the world to the doorsteps of small, medium, and large businesses. The Commerce Department is committed to expanding the global footprint of American businesses and keeping America open for business. 

2015: The Year to Launch and Scale in the United States

SelectUSA Tech in Dublin – Legal, Visa, Insurance and Tax Considerations for U.S. Expansion (June 25, 2014)

By John D. Breidenstine, Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs, U.S. Embassy, London

The United Kingdom and Ireland are both home to flourishing tech startups looking for the right opportunities to grow globally.  The United States is the logical target for their expansion, especially given its 320 million consumers, free trade agreements with 20 other markets, and massive market for technology purchases. 

Furthermore, there is plenty of precedent.  Companies from the UK and Ireland have outstanding track records of succeeding in our country. The UK is the largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States, with $564.7 billion total stock as of 2013.  According to the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, affiliates of UK companies in the United States are responsible for more than 962,900 American jobs.  Ireland is the eighth largest source of FDI, whose investors are responsible for more than $117 billion stock as of 2013 and 168,900 U.S. jobs as of 2012. 

Startups can also tap into the incredible resources available in the United States. Our entrepreneurial culture is the perfect business climate for startups to thrive. Just look at the numbers: According to the Kauffman Foundation’s Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, an average of 476,000 new businesses were created each month in 2013. The United States leads the world in innovation and intellectual property protection, accounting for roughly 30 percent of global research and development (R&D).  In 2012 alone, companies from the U.K. and Ireland combined spent nearly $9 billion on R&D in the United States, contributing significantly to the intellectual diversity of all three countries.

So how can SelectUSA, the U.S. government-wide program to facilitate investment into the United States, help even more companies to make the leap across the Atlantic?  SelectUSA provides information, connects businesses with the right people, and helps investors navigate the federal government (learn more about our full range of services).  In addition, the Commercial Service (CS) in the U.K. and Ireland launched a new initiative in 2014—SelectUSA Tech—to give early-stage technology companies the tools that they need to launch their businesses in the United States.

SelectUSA Tech’s 2014 “boot camp-style” events in London, Dublin, Edinburgh and Belfast brought together public and private-sector experts to address legal, tax, accounting, insurance, and visa/immigration issues, while also covering how tech entrepreneurs can access U.S. buyers, venture capital, debt financing, and general banking services. A final, key component of the events has been a “lessons learned” panel of local startups, who share their experiences launching and scaling stateside.  

For more information about SelectUSA Tech Seminars, check out the flyer from September’s Edinburgh event or the highlights reels from our London or Dublin events.  We also regularly participate in tech conferences and at incubator briefings. For example, over the course of a single week in October, CS UK held a SelectUSA Tech Seminar in Belfast, hosted a LDNY (London-New York Festival) #scaling2cities tech entrepreneur event at the U.S. Embassy, and co-sponsored “The Transatlantic Startup” event organized by the Global Innovation Forum

Startups can also learn more about the U.S. market at the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit coming up in March, which will enable entrepreneurs to meet with economic development offices from across the United States, all in one building.  The day before the Summit, we’ll also be holding a SelectUSA Academy to present the basics of investing and launching a business in the United States at a level of detail that will be particularly useful for startups and entrepreneurs.

To learn more about our SelectUSA Tech, please follow us on Twitter @SelectUSATech.

Swiss Executives Announce $3 Billion Investment in the United States During Meeting with Secretary Pritzker

Swiss Executives Announce $3 Billion Investment in the United States During Meeting with Secretary Pritzker

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, NEC Director Jeff Zients and Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, hosted a delegation of Swiss business leaders, who are making significant U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States. The eight executives announced plans to invest $3 billion in their U.S. operations in 2015. The participants also discussed the importance of job-driven workforce training initiatives, which enhance the United States’ attractiveness as a destination for investment by better enabling employers to hire workers with the necessary skills and providing employers with the technical assistance needed to launch training programs. 

The U.S.-Swiss diplomatic relationship dates back more than 160 years and currently, the U.S.-Swiss trading relationship totals nearly $100 billion annually. The total value of Swiss FDI in the U.S. has more than doubled between 2009 and 2013, growing from $65 billion to $140 billion, making Switzerland the 6th largest source. Additionally, Swiss investors are the top international source of R&D investment in the United States, spending nearly $9.4 billion in 2012. U.S. subsidiaries of Swiss firms employed over 472,200 U.S. workers in 2012, with an average annual salary of over $99,091. The apprenticeship model has become a major tool for developing a skilled workforce. Today’s meeting provided an opportunity for Swiss business leaders to share their experiences with apprenticeships and how that model can be expanded in the U.S. By partnering with Swiss companies to expand and start new registered apprenticeship programs, the pipeline of U.S. workers for in-demand jobs will be strengthened.
The investor delegation also covered the importance of SelectUSA, a government effort to attract, retain and expand business investment to and within the United States. SelectUSA leads the Interagency Investment Working Group to ensure investors, get the answers and assistance they need across the federal government. SelectUSA provides services to international investors of all sizes and U.S. state, regional and local economic development organizations (EDOs). The upcoming Summit will showcase investment opportunities from every corner of the United States, while high-profile business and government leaders share their insight on the latest business trends.

Strong Intellectual Property Fuels Investment

Strong Intellectual Property Fuels Investment

Many of the world’s greatest breakthroughs have something in common – strong intellectual property (IP) protection provided by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In fact, IP protection was included in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution by our Founding Fathers, who deemed it essential for society “to promote the progress of science and the useful arts securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” Since Thomas Jefferson— the first patent examiner— reviewed the first U.S. patent, the country has been transformed by ingenuity to become the most open economy in the world where global businesses come to work and innovate on the cutting edge.

The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011 enables the USPTO to grant patents and trademarks faster and with greater quality and clarity, further strengthening our country’s IP system. The USPTO offers countless resources, including the Track One Prioritized Examination Program for accelerated examination, and the Pro Bono and Pro Se programs, which provide free legal representation and support services for small and independent inventors. The USPTO continually strives to keep costs and fees low.  For a brief overview on the steps necessary to obtain a patent you can refer to our Commerce blog, Five Steps for Protecting your Invention and for a trademark, Six Steps to Protect your Brand. At any time you can receive USPTO assistance by contacting the Inventors Assistance Center.  The USPTO is also very active internationally, working to protect U.S. interests abroad through the IP Attaché Program and collaborating with international IP organizations toward international patent harmonization.

For all these reasons the U.S. intellectual property system has long made America an attractive place to innovate and invest. Companies from around the world leverage the power of the U.S. patent, while supporting the U.S. economy. The strength of the intellectual property environment is an indicator of market potential for inventors and companies to develop their technologies, grow their businesses, and expand sales of their products. That is why we would like to encourage you to attend the SelectUSA Investment Summit in the Washington, DC area on March 23-24, 2015. Investors will find the practical tools, information, and connections they need to establish or expand operations in the United States. SelectUSA was created to work across the U.S. government to attract and retain business investment in the United States in order to create jobs, spur economic growth, and promote U.S. competitiveness. Those who choose to invest in the United States can feel secure knowing that there’s a long tradition of protecting valuable intellectual property.

Commerce Deputy Secretary Andrews’ Visit to Consumer Electronics Show Underscores Importance of Innovation and Entrepreneurship to American Economy

Commerce Deputy Secretary Andrews’ Visit to Consumer Electronics Show Underscores Importance of Innovation and Entrepreneurship to American Economy

Yesterday, U.S. Deputy Commerce Secretary Bruce Andrews concluded a two-day visit to Las Vegas, where he toured the floor of the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and addressed Las Vegas business leaders at the Chamber of Commerce on the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship to the American economy. 

On Wednesday, Deputy Secretary Andrews addressed local Las Vegas business leaders at a roundtable organized by Business Forward. He discussed the Department of Commerce’s role in supporting innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly in pursuing 21st century trade agreement. Deputy Secretary Andrews also spoke about the need for Congress to pass Trade Promotion Authority and the need to strengthen the President’s ability to create economic opportunity for U.S. companies and open up key markets for U.S. goods and services. Such agreements can help spur growth; help American manufacturers, service providers, farmers and ranchers; and increase U.S. exports, as well as allow American businesses to compete in a highly competitive, globalized economy. 
Following this address, Andrews traveled to the Las Vegas Convention Center where he toured the CES show floor with representatives from the Consumer Electronics Association. There, he saw firsthand how small and medium businesses are developing innovative technologies that have the potential to improve the way kids are educated, enhance home entertainment, and keep America on the cutting edge of research. He met with a mix of U.S. companies at the show, including five small companies that manufacture in the United States and six larger companies.
CES showcases more than 4,000 exhibitors, including manufacturers, developers, and suppliers of consumer technology hardware, content, technology delivery systems and more. CES also includes a conference program with more than 300 sessions and draws more than 152,000 attendees from more than 150 countries. The International CES is held in Las Vegas each year, and has served as the proving ground for innovators for more than 40 years.
Later that day, Deputy Secretary Andrews attended the Leaders in Technology Reception and Dinner, where he met with the industry’s key representatives and stakeholders.
Deputy Secretary Andrews also met with local staff from the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Export Assistance Center and sat in on a presentation by a U.S. manufacturer participating in the Global Markets Insight Program, which helps connect businesses with trade partners and succeed abroad.
The Deputy Secretary’s participation in CES highlights the importance the Commerce Department and theAdministration place on innovation and entrepreneurship, including through the Department's "Open for Business Agenda." It also underscores the value the Department places on promoting the ideas and policies that support innovation and entrepreneurship, which help America maintain its competitive edge, spur wage and job growth, and strengthen the U.S. economy.

Promoting Spectrum Sharing In the Wireless Broadband Era

Promoting Spectrum Sharing In the Wireless Broadband Era

Cross blog post by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration 

In the summer of 2010 -- just three years after the introduction of the iPhone -- President Obama called on the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to collaborate with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to free up critical radio spectrum to fuel the breakneck growth of the wireless broadband market. Today, this directive is more pressing than ever, with the wild popularity of smartphones and tablets driving unprecedented commercial demand for mobile bandwidth.

Identifying the spectrum to keep up is a top priority for NTIA, which manages federal spectrum usage. And promoting spectrum sharing across the public and private sectors is an important key to achieving this goal.

At NTIA, we recognize that spectrum is the lifeblood of the mobile broadband revolution. We are committed to ensuring the industry has the bandwidth it needs to continue to innovate and thrive.

But we face an important balancing act since federal agencies also rely on this precious and finite resource to perform all sorts of mission-critical functions – from communicating with weather satellites (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) to navigating passenger planes (Federal Aviation Administration) to operating weapons systems (Defense Department).

Working in consultation with the FCC, which oversees commercial and other non-federal spectrum uses, NTIA has made good progress toward President Obama’s target of freeing up 500 megahertz of spectrum for licensed and unlicensed wireless broadband services by 2020.

Through fiscal year 2014, NTIA had formally recommended or otherwise identified 335 megahertz of spectrum for potential reallocation. That includes spectrum in the 1695-1710 and 1755-1780 bands auctioned off in the FCC’s successful AWS-3 auction.

The auction, which will fund important federal programs and pump billions into the U.S Treasury, showcases the potential for spectrum sharing. While many of the incumbent federal users in the auctioned bands will be relocating to other frequencies, some will instead be sharing their spectrum with new users.

To achieve the President’s goal, we need to move beyond the traditional approach of clearing government-held spectrum of federal users in order to auction it off to the private sector for exclusive use. Too often, relocating incumbent operations is too costly, too time-consuming and too disruptive to federal missions. The future lies in sharing spectrum – across government agencies and commercial services, and across time, geography and other dimensions in the future.

How trade stats can help US businesses expand abroad

Guest blog post by Dale Kelly, Chief of the International Trade Management Division, U.S. Census Bureau

International markets provide an opportunity for U.S. businesses to increase sales and overall competitiveness, but knowing how to get started and learning about foreign markets can be daunting. The U.S. Census Bureau can help.

Although known most widely as the home of the decennial Census of U.S. households, the Census Bureau also is responsible for collecting, compiling, and publishing monthly trade statistics on all goods imported and exported from the United States. Every month, the Census Bureau releases information on the import and export of commodities such as soybeans, corn, rice, chemicals, steel, aircraft, and lumber. Together with the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which collects similar data on services imports and exports, the Census Bureau releases the  “U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services” report. This report provides detailed information on import and export of merchandise by commodity and end-use category as well as by the multitude of countries and areas with which the U.S. conducts international trade. All of these reports are available at the Census Bureau’s foreign trade web page.

How can this information help U.S. businesses? The Census Bureau provides detailed information on more than 9,000 export commodities and 18,000 import commodities. Easily accessible online, this information assists U.S. businesses in making informed decision by tracking the global marketplace for their product and identifying possible opportunities to expand to new markets.

In addition to data, the Census Bureau provides resources and tools to help businesses export. The Census Bureau’s International Trade Management Division conducts outreach and training around the country. Training includes webinars, seminars, workshops, and blog posts on using trade data, understanding foreign trade regulations and utilizing the Automated Export System, which allows the electronic filing of export information directly to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. These same data are the source of the Census Bureau’s merchandise export and import statistics. The next two-day training on the Automated Export System begins on January 21 in Houston, Texas.  Trade is a vital part of our economy, and the Census Bureau plays an important role in providing detailed timely information to U.S. businesses to make informed decisions.

Commerce General Counsel Kelly Welsh to Discuss Legal Reform in China

Guest blog post by Kelly Welsh, General Counsel, U.S. Department of Commerce

Transparency.  Predictability.  Accountability.  These fundamental elements of commercial law are essential to creating a business climate at home and abroad that will foster growth and innovation.  Promoting a strong commercial rule of law wherever U.S. companies do business is a high priority for Secretary Pritzker and the Department of Commerce.  That’s why I am travelling to Beijing and Wuhan, China during the week of January 12 to speak to the public, academics, legal professionals, the media, Chinese government officials, and U.S. businesses about how the United States and China can work together to promote commercial rule of law. 

During October’s Fourth Plenum meeting, China announced its plans for extensive and far-reaching legal reform.  Those plans embraced themes that the U.S. government has been discussing with Chinese leaders for many years in the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade and the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, including the Transparency Dialogue.   We therefore see this as a continuation of our cooperation and an opportunity to move the conversation forward in promoting sound commercial legal principles.  Next week, I will meet with Chinese government officials and U.S. industry leaders on commercial rule of law issues that fundamentally impact both of our economies.

I also will lead a U.S. delegation to the 19th U.S.-China Legal Exchange, where senior officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Federal Trade Commission will share U.S. experiences in regulating air pollution and promoting data security.

At the Beijing American Center and at Wuhan University, I will deliver remarks on how the United States and China can work together to advance the transparent, accountable, and predictable commercial legal system needed to promote a strong and innovative economy-- discussing both the history of our engagement and the opportunity to strengthen the commercial rule of law presented by the Fourth Plenum announcements.