white house

President Urges Expansion of National Manufacturing Network in State of the Union Address

In his fifth State of the Union address, President Barack Obama touted the administration’s Institutes of Manufacturing Innovation program as central to its plan to reinvigorate the American economy. The president called on Congress to expand the manufacturing network beyond the two existing institutes in Ohio and North Carolina and the six additional institutes to be rolled out in 2014. He also requested legislative action to undo last year’s sequester-related cuts to basic research, to pass patent reform and to improve U.S. STEM education.

PCAST Recommends Expansion of MOOCs to Ensure U.S. STEM Competitiveness

In a report letter to the president this week, the U.S. President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) advocated the expansion of massive open online courses (MOOCs) to boost U.S. competitiveness, STEM learning and economic mobility. PCAST recommends that the federal government avoid setting technology standards for these programs at this point, as online education is still in its infancy. Instead, they call for accrediting bodies to become more flexible in response to educational innovation and institutions to improve their sharing of effective practices. Read the report letter...

National Nanotech Initiative Strategic Plan Open for Public Comment

The National Science and Technology Council has released a new draft strategic plan for the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). NNI, launched in 2001, is a cross-agency initiative to coordinate regulatory and research policies to advance nanotech innovation. The previous plan was released in 2011. NNI is seeking input on its strategic goals, particularly the research challenges addressed by its Nanotechnology Signature Initiatives. The plan is open for public comment through December 18. Download the plan...

White House Showcases Potential of Maker Movement to Boost Local Manufacturing

Last week the White House hosted a Google Hangout on the American Maker Movement and highlighted some dynamic programs that are turning the Maker Movement into a legitimate economic development tool for regions across the country.

Federal Agencies Adopt Open Data Model to Spur Innovation, Entrepreneurship

This week, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a wide-ranging roundup of new and ongoing efforts to leverage availability of large, accessible data sets to spur innovation. While many of these efforts were focused on supporting research on the potential of big data, several agency efforts are using the model of open data app competitions to fuel private-sector business creation. One of these efforts, the Department of Energy's American Energy Data Challenge, is capitalizing on successful experiments in big data competitions done at the regional and state level.

Alcoa CEO Views Education and Partnerships as Keys for Manufacturing Competitiveness

Last week the Columbus Metropolitan Club hosted Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld to give remarks on the state of American manufacturing. Kleinfeld made the case that "talent is global," and that the U.S. must invest heavily in workforce development and STEM education if our country wants to continue to grow the manufacturing sector and remain globally competitive. Advocating for the overhaul of the entire K-12 and higher education systems, Kleinfeld cited the need to train students in high-tech skills and connect them to community college and apprenticeship programs that can be supported by local manufacturers. He stressed that education reform should also focus on inclusion to extend opportunity in the industrial economy to women and minorities, citing Alcoa's Women in Hardhats program as an example of successful outreach.

White House Taps Foundations to Aid in Detroit Revitalization

In the days before the federal government shutdown, the White House released details of a $300 million cross-agency strategy to revive the Detroit economy following the city government’s bankruptcy filing. Most of the funding comes from existing programs that will either continue to support efforts in Detroit or will now allocate a portion of their grants, loans or services to Detroit-based recipients. However, while innovation and entrepreneurship is a major plank of the strategy, little of the $300 million will directly benefit technology-based economic development programs. Instead, the White House has announced that it will supplement the work of community-focused foundations, which plan to provide $22 million for small business efforts in the city.

Obama Administration Launches Initiative to Promote Startup Cooperation with Latin America

The Obama administration is seeking closer economic cooperation with Latin America to enhance opportunities for startups and SMEs in the U.S. and across the hemisphere. This week, the U.S. State Department is launching the Small Business Network of the Americas to promote international cooperation between TBED institutions in the Americas.

White House Teams with Industry, Nonprofits to Promote Tech Inclusion

Yesterday, the White House honored 11 “Champions of Change” who are working to promote an inclusive technology-based economy. The honorees ranged from nonprofit leaders to a mathematics professor to the author of a children’s book. Eight of the 11 “champions” focused on introducing young students to programming and technology, reflecting the significant emphasis on the long-term investment in future workers, especially those who are underrepresented and underserved. These honorees reflect efforts by nonprofits and citizens, but are only one aspect of a growing movement in the public and private sector to create a more inclusive economy now and in the future.

White House Climate Plan Seeks to Double Renewable Energy Generation by 2020

This week, President Obama released details of a climate action blueprint that incorporates preparation for future natural disasters as a major component of the plan. Most of the domestic aspects of the plan are to be implemented by executive order, avoiding the complications of the legislative process. Though much of the blueprint centers on the strengthening of American infrastructure, the improvement of the electrical grid and ambitious renewable energy standards, the plan also includes a few mentions of increased federal support for technology development and commercialization.


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