Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker unveiled the Department of Commerce‚Äôs new ‚ÄúOpen for Business‚Äù policy agenda centered around innovation, data, and trade and investment.
Sec. Pritzker said global trade has grown 40 percent in just four years, and 95 percent of consumers are outside the United States. The greatest commercial opportunities for U.S. firms in the 21st century will not be at home, but outside the borders.
Simply put, said Sec. Pritzker, trade has to become a bigger part of the economy‚Äôs DNA.
One of the initiatives announced as part of the ‚ÄúOpen for Business‚Äù agenda is a new and revitalized National Export Initiative. NEI 2.0 calls for the government and industry to work together closely for helping businesses become globally fluent.
Sec. Pritzker also mentioned a federal initiative to establish public-private partnerships based on New York State‚Äôs highly successful collaborative model for the semiconductor industry. This will be done by the institutes that are being set up under the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI).
Workforce training will be a priority aspect of the agenda, pushed through federal funding and other coordinated¬†efforts by the departments of Commerce, Education and Labor.
Federal funding opportunities will be aligned with workforce development that supports training for demand-driven skills.
The Commerce Department will emphasize industry-led training when funding state partners working with small manufacturers, and will track the outcomes and share them through the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).
For its part, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) will be encouraging grant applicants to ensure that local workforce needs are incorporated into their proposals.
The most interesting part of the new ‚ÄúOpen for Business‚Äù Agenda is about how Commerce plans to use the federal government‚Äôs extensive data to help grow business and conserve the environment.
Sec. Pritzker mentioned the data produced by Commerce‚Äôs National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as an example. Each day, NOAA produces 2 terabytes of climate and weather data that powers a multi-billion dollar industry ‚Äì everything from the Weather Channel to weather apps for smartphones.
The point here being that there is some 17 terabytes more such data that goes largely untapped.
A new public-private initiative is in the works to help unleash more data from the NOAA that entrepreneurs can use to launch startups that will provide the public information about the climate, weather and the oceans.
This will additionally help communities adapt to climate change, develop stronger resilience standards for infrastructure and buildings, and maintain world-class weather forecasting capabilities.
Sec. Pritzker said they will expand this effort beyond the NOAA, and plan to go through all the agencies under the Commerce Department and work with industry to make the data standardized and easy-to-use.
As part of the unveiling of the ‚ÄúOpen for Business‚Äù Agenda at Washington D.C. area incubator 1776, Sec. Pritzker took questions about the agenda on Commerce‚Äôs Facebook page.