MBDA Awards Nearly $2 Million to Historically Black Colleges and Universities

WASHINGTON (December 3, 2018) – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), is announcing grant awards of nearly $2 million to four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). In June 2018, MBDA invited HBCUs to propose projects that will achieve one or more of the following objectives: increase their ability to compete for and receive Federal research and development funds; establish partnerships with Federal laboratories and other technology resources; increase Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) entrepreneurship; and compete for Federal contracts.

“Historically Black Colleges and Universities served as the catalyst to creating the black middle class in America and will continue to be the incubator for minority business talent, innovation, and leadership. These important schools generate billions in economic impact annually and are engines for job creation in their local economies across the United States,” said MBDA National Director Henry Childs II. “These grant awards will provide seed money for these institutions to pursue innovative projects and to build more revenue-generating infrastructures to better serve our nation’s future entrepreneurs and workforce.”

The HBCUs that received grant awards include:

Clark Atlanta University ($499,497) to develop a STEM entrepreneurship curriculum that increases student interest in the innovation economy at three Atlanta University Center Consortium campuses.

Howard University ($359,891) to design a technical support model for 11 HBCUs in the mid-Atlantic region to compete for Federal research and development funds and leverage partnerships with Federal laboratories.

South Carolina State University ($404,992) to launch regional training sessions for HBCUs to compete for Federal research and development funds.

Tougaloo College ($695,412) to establish a partnership among multiple HBCUs, private companies, federal labs, and research institutions to increase capacity for HBCUs to participate in federal research and contracting opportunities.

These programs are part of the 2018 MBDA Broad Agency Announcement, a new initiative this year. More than $13 million was awarded for 35 projects focused on Department of Commerce and MBDA priorities from resources that increase disaster preparedness and relief to programs that increase access to capital. For a full listing of MBDA’s 2018 grant awards, visit http://www.mbda.gov/news.

DHS Proposes Merit-Based Rule for More Effective and Efficient H-1B Visa Program

WASHINGTON—The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions to first electronically register with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during a designated registration period. Under the proposed rule, USCIS would also reverse the order by which USCIS selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B cap and the advanced degree exemption, likely increasing the number of beneficiaries with a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education to be selected for an H-1B cap number, and introducing a more meritorious selection of beneficiaries.

The H-1B program allows companies in the United States to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelors or higher degree in the specific specialty, or its equivalent. When USCIS receives more than enough petitions to reach the congressionally mandated H-1B cap, a computer-generated random selection process, or lottery, is used to select the petitions that are counted towards the number of petitions projected as needed to reach the cap.

The proposed rule includes a provision that would enable USCIS to temporarily suspend the registration process during any fiscal year in which USCIS may experience technical challenges with the H-1B registration process and/or the new electronic system. The proposed temporary suspension provision would also allow USCIS to up-front delay the implementation of the H-1B registration process past the fiscal year (FY) 2020 cap season, if necessary to complete all requisite user testing and vetting of the new H-1B registration system and process. While USCIS has been actively working to develop and test the electronic registration system, if the rule is finalized as proposed, but there is insufficient time to implement the registration system for the FY 2020 cap selection process, USCIS would likely suspend the registration requirement for the FY 2020 cap season.

Currently, in years when the H-1B cap and the advanced degree exemption are both reached within the first five days that H-1B cap petitions may be filed, the advanced degree exemption is selected prior to the H-1B cap. The proposed rule would reverse the selection order and count all registrations or petitions towards the number projected as needed to reach the H-1B cap first. Once a sufficient number of registrations or petitions have been selected for the H-1B cap, USCIS would then select registrations or petitions towards the advanced degree exemption. This proposed change would increase the chances that beneficiaries with a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education would be selected under the H-1B cap and that H-1B visas would be awarded to the most-skilled and highest-paid beneficiaries. Importantly, the proposed process would result in an estimated increase of up to 16 percent (or 5,340 workers) in the number of selected H-1B beneficiaries with a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution of higher education.

USCIS expects that shifting to electronic registration would reduce overall costs for petitioners and create a more efficient and cost-effective H-1B cap petition process for USCIS. The proposed rule would help alleviate massive administrative burdens on USCIS since the agency would no longer need to physically receive and handle hundreds of thousands of H-1B petitions and supporting documentation before conducting the cap selection process. This would help reduce wait times for cap selection notifications. The proposed rule also limits the filing of H-1B cap-subject petitions to the beneficiary named on the original selected registration, which would protect the integrity of this registration system.

On April 18, 2017, President Trump issued the Buy American and Hire American Executive Order, instructing DHS to “propose new rules and issue new guidance, to supersede or revise previous rules and guidance if appropriate, to protect the interests of U.S. workers in the administration of our immigration system.” The EO specifically mentioned the H-1B program and directed DHS and other agencies to “suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.”

Additional information on the proposed rule is available in the Federal Register. Public comments may be submitted starting Monday, December 3, when the proposed rule publishes in the Federal Register, and must be received on or before January 2, 2019.

The United States Signs a Stronger Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada

REBALANCING OUR TRADE RELATIONSHIP: President Donald J. Trump kept his promise to deliver a modern and rebalanced trade deal to replace NAFTA.

  • Today in Argentina, the United States is joining Canada and Mexico to sign a new trade agreement that will better serve the interests of American workers and businesses.
    • This follows the President’s announcement in October that a deal had been reached.
  • The new United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) will replace the outdated, failed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
  • With the signing of this agreement, President Trump has delivered on his promise to renegotiate NAFTA and protect American farmers, ranchers, businesses, and workers.

SECURING A STRONGER DEAL FOR AMERICAN INDUSTRIES AND WORKERS: USMCA is a stronger deal for American farmers, ranchers, businesses, and workers.

  • USMCA will help incentivize billions of dollars in additional vehicle and auto parts production in the United States.
  • The agreement includes updated rules of origin that require 75 percent of auto content to be produced in North America.
  • American autoworkers will benefit from rules that incentivize the use of high-wage manufacturing labor in the auto sector.
    • This includes a requirement that 40-45% of a vehicle consist of content manufactured by North American workers making at least $16 per hour.
  • USMCA’s labor and environment chapters are fully enforceable and represent the strongest labor and environmental provisions of any trade agreement ever negotiated.
    • Mexico agreed to historic labor reforms to provide for genuine collective bargaining.
    • The agreement prohibits the importation of goods produced by forced labor.
  • The agreement includes provisions that allow agriculture products to be traded more fairly.
    • Canada will end its “Class 6” and “Class 7” programs that allow low-priced dairy products to undersell American dairy producers.
    • Canada will increase market access for United States dairy products, eggs, and poultry.

REFORMING TRADE FOR THE 21st CENTURY: USMCA modernizes our trade relationship with Canada and Mexico to reflect the realities of the 21st century. 

  • The new agreement includes a modernized chapter that provides stronger and more comprehensive intellectual property protections than any prior United States trade agreement.
    • These protections are vital to promoting innovation and economic growth.
    • USMCA includes robust copyright protection, 10 years of data protection for biologic drugs, and new protections against the theft of trade secrets.
  • USMCA includes the strongest digital trade and financial services provisions of any United States trade agreement.
    • New rules ensure that data can be transferred cross-border and that limits on where data can be stored are minimized.
  • USMCA will cut red tape at the border, streamline trade, and reduce regulatory uncertainty.
  • The agreement includes a currency chapter that will help reinforce transparency and stability.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Announces Minority Business Development Agency Grant Awards

Minority Business Development Agency Issuing $13 Million in Grants through Broad Agency Announcement

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) of the Department of Commerce awarded over $13 million to 35 projects in communities across the country. The grants, which are part of MBDA’s new Broad Agency Announcement initiative, reflect critical Department of Commerce priorities including space commerce, aquaculture, disaster relief, and entrepreneurship efforts.

“Under the guidance of President Trump, American businesses have reached unparalleled heights,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “These grant awards will help ensure that all Americans across the spectrum continue to reap the benefits of our thriving economy.”

“Minority business enterprises each have a unique and critical role to play in the national economy as well as in countless local communities nationwide,” said MBDA National Director Henry Childs, II. “Through these grant awards, we are directly impacting those who MBDA was created to serve.”

The Minority Business Development Agency is expanding its former use of the Broad Agency Announcement approach to fund projects in these Departmental priority areas that, in turn, promote and ensure the inclusion and use of minority enterprises. Businesses, nonprofits, state and local governments, Indian Tribal governments, as well as educational institutions were all eligible to receive awards.

As a result, the projects that received funding were geographically and commercially diverse. Organizations such as the United States Space Foundation , Howard University, the Asociación Productos de Puerto Rico, and the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce were all grant recipients.

The Minority Business Development Agency’s mission is to link minority-owned businesses with the capital, contracts, and markets they need to grow. Serving as subject matter experts and advocates for the minority business community, they conduct high quality research and help minority-owned businesses cultivate domestic and international relationships. MBDA is the only Federal agency created specifically to foster the establishment and growth of minority-owned businesses in America.

Upcoming Event: Discover Global Markets

Indo-Pacific
Opportunities at the Convergence of Aerospace + Defense + Security
Dec. 10-12, 2018 | Salt Lake City, UT

About Discover Global Markets

Discover Global Markets is the U.S. Department of Commerce’s flagship event series for U.S. exporters.

In just a few days, attendees will uncover new exporting opportunities, learn from seasoned exporters, and connect with hundreds of networking contacts.

Sign up for e-mail updates to learn about upcoming events in the Discover Global Markets series.

At Each Discover Global Markets Conference, you will:

  • Meet one-on-one with U.S. Commercial Diplomats visiting from abroad
  • Participate in panel discussions on the latest industry trends
  • Identify new and emerging markets of opportunity ahead of your competition
  • Learn about U.S. export programs designed to cut your time to market
  • Network with U.S. trade officials, leading private sector experts and like-minded U.S. businesses active in overseas markets

Upcoming: 2018 Miss Asia International Pageant Final – Los Angeles

Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles
506 S. Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90071
December 8, 2018.
3:00PM – 7:00PM

2018 Miss Asian International Pageant

2018 Miss Asian International Pageant USA Final sponsored by the American International Chamber of Commerce will be held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles at 1:30PM on December 8, 2018.

Entering the Miss Asia International Beauty Pageant can be a very fun and fulfilling experience. This year’s contestants will compete for an amazing array of prizes, including photo shoot packages, scholarships, opportunites in the entertainment industry in modeling and acting, and the prestige of a year-long reign as the title holder of the premier pageants.

In addition to the prizes, contestants will receive various benefits from the sponsors as well as a myriad of opportunities to attend high profile red carpet events in Los Angels, New York, and China, fashions shows, and fundraisers in support of noble charitable organizations. Each contestant will represent their ancestral country in order to promote their culture, tourism and strengthen our bonds though a unity of diversity.

Tickets and RSVP
Phone: 626-675-4918
Miss Asia International Pageant Committee Los Angeles

Upcoming: 2018 Miss Asia International Pageant China Final in Beijing

Crowne Plaza Hotel Beijing Lido
6 Jiangtai Road
Chaoyang District
Beijing, 100016, China
Nov 11th,2018
1:00PM

2018 Miss Asia International Pageant China Final in Beijing

American International Chamber of Commerce ( AICC) will host the 2018 Miss Asia International Pageant China Final in Beijing.

RSVP
Phone: + 8610-8532 4980
Miss Asia International Pageant Committee China