dept of commerce

Commerce launches $100 million Capital Readiness Program for underserved entrepreneurs

The U.S. Department of Commerce recently launched the Capital Readiness Program grant competition, which will provide $93.5 million to help minority and other underserved entrepreneurs grow and scale their businesses and be administered by the Minority Business Development Agency.

Commerce revives National Advisory Council on Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the appointment of 32 members to the National Advisory Council on Innovation & Entrepreneurship (NACIE). Individuals chosen from a pool of more than 260 nominees will be charged with helping to identify and recommend solutions to drive the innovation economy.

Commerce and NIST seek input to help develop and design semiconductor programs

The U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have published a request for information (RFI) to inform the planning and design of potential programs surrounding the semiconductor industry within the United States. Historically, the U.S. accounted for 40 percent of the global semiconductor manufacturing. In recent years, however, the global semiconductor industry has been dominated by Taiwan, South Korea, and China. As of 2019, the U.S. accounts for only 11 percent of semiconductor manufacturing.

House committee advances $7 billion regional tech hubs legislation

Earlier this week, the House science committee advanced a series of technology-focused bills, including a $7 billion authorization of regional technology hubs. This legislation completes the committee’s work to produce a companion to the Senate’s U.S. Innovation and Competition Act. The House and Senate legislation are not identical, however, and so the chambers will need to bring their versions into alignment. Among the key differences are that the House authorizes less funding for the program but also creates a new regional clean energy innovation program.

Former NIST innovator nominated Commerce Undersecretary for Standards and Technology

President Joe Biden nominated Laurie Locascio, Ph.D., to lead the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) within the U.S. Department of Commerce and serve as Undersecretary for Standards and Technology. Locascio is currently the vice president for research at the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, where she oversees the research and innovation enterprise of the two campuses. Prior to her work there, Locascio had a long career as a researcher, innovator and scientific leader at NIST, where she most recently served as the acting principal deputy director and associate director for laboratory programs. She received a B.Sc. in chemistry from James Madison University, a M.Sc. in bioengineering from the University of Utah, and a Ph.D. in toxicology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. As a biomedical researcher, she has published more than 100 scientific papers and 11 patents over the course of her career.

Need for new workforce models increases as economy rebuilds

The May jobs report that was released last Friday contained better news than the disappointing numbers from April, with May figures showing 559,000 jobs added and unemployment declining by 0.3 percentage point to 5.8 percent. But the jobs picture remains complicated. This week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that there were 9.3 million vacant job openings across the country in April, a series high from its start in 2000. With employers reporting that they are facing unprecedented challenges trying to find workers to fill jobs, efforts on several fronts are aimed at returning workers to jobs, and helping them find the skills they need to fill in-demand openings.

DoD and Commerce seeking comments on supply chain rules

The Department of Defense is seeking comments and information on President Biden’s Executive Order, “America’s Supply Chains,” which directs several federal agency actions to secure and strengthen the country’s supply chains. The U.S. Department of Commerce is also seeking public input on a licensing or other pre-clearance process for entities engaging in certain information and communications technology and services transactions (ICTS Transactions).

Census Bureau seeks comment on 2018-22 BRDS, to host webinar on 2017 ACS release

The U.S. Census Bureau seeks comments on all aspects of the Business Research and Development Survey for the 2018-2022 releases. Collected in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF), the survey provides comprehensive data on Research and Development (R&D) costs and detailed expenses by type and industry. The U.S. Census Bureau also announced that it would start collecting data about R&D on artificial intelligence and geographic detail of companies' R&D workforce in 2018.  For those interested in providing feedback, comments are due by October 23.

Commerce sets new, hands-off direction for department

In a shift from its past economic development efforts, the U.S. Department of Commerce FY2018-2023 strategic plan would move the department to focus almost exclusively on being a commercial services entity. The plan’s points of emphasis are on streamlined permitting and regulations, with direct government activity primarily reserved for common good services — e.g., economic data, cybersecurity and IP protection. References to activities providing direct support for businesses and regional economies are ranked as lower priorities or nonexistent. EDA is left out of not only the descriptions of how the department’s bureaus will contribute to strategic objectives, but also out of the list of offices comprising the department.

Senate Appropriations advances FY 2018 spending bills, would fund Regional Innovation at $21 million

Over the past week, the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations has passed bills to fund commerce and science, transportation, energy and water and agriculture. Regional Innovation Strategies would be funded at $21 million, an increase of $4 million over FY 2017. Other innovation proposals received mixed support, as the Senate cut $3.2 billion from commerce, justice and science funding and another $400 million from agriculture.

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