New Data Strategy to Enhance Equitable Economic Growth, Spur Good-Paying Jobs for All Americans

The strategic leverage of data will also provide increased competitive advantage to U.S. businesses and research institution. 

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced a series of tools and initiatives to execute the Department of Commerce’s Data Strategy for fiscal years 2021-2024. With representation from every bureau, Commerce’s Data Governance Board (CDGB) developed this innovative Data Strategy to address some of our most pressing equity challenges around job growth, distribution of resources, and other measures of economic well-being.

“The 2020 Census, which was carried out accurately and dutifully in the face of unprecedented circumstances by the civil servants here in Washington and their partners across the country, showed that people of color now represent more than two-fifths of Americans and over half of the nation’s youth,” said Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves. “Here at Commerce, and across the federal government, we have an obligation to create economic conditions that recognize the power of diversity and favor the inclusion of all Americans, while using data to brighten the future of our nation’s children.”

“With women, particularly women of color, earning pennies on the dollar in wages compared to white men, and the number of working minority business owners suffering due to this pandemic, Commerce data is needed now more than ever to enhance equitable economic growth and help our communities build back better,” said Secretary Raimondo.” “By leveraging Commerce data, we will spur good-paying jobs, empower entrepreneurs to innovate and grow, and help all American workers and businesses to compete here at home and abroad.”

Several tools and initiatives are currently underway at the Department, relying on the exponential amount of data on the nation’s economy, population, and environment that the Department generates, collects, stores, and analyzes. Here are just a few of the exciting initiatives that will be enhanced by the new Commerce Data Strategy:

  • Making the Data Available and Accessible: Through the implementation of this strategy, the data tools within the Commerce Data Hub will enable insights to the nation’s economy and population, including demography, housing, socioeconomics, and businesses. These publicly available datasets and tools assist federal agencies and other entities in the equitable distribution of resources and identifying underserved communities to empower all Americans. The Commerce Data Hub will provide a Commerce-wide data inventory and search portal that will ultimately aggregate and promote all its data assets in one location showcasing each bureau’s specific data search capabilities
  • Driving Technological Innovation: The Opportunity Project (TOP) drives innovation by helping companies, non-profits, and universities utilize federal data to develop new technologies and innovative solutions which advance equitable economic growth. Currently, TOP has focused its efforts on challenges such as improving minority businesses’ access to capital (MBDA), tackling the climate crisis through climate-smart communities (NOAA), increasing content accessibility for multilingual communities (NYC Mayor’s Office), and others.
  • Democratizing Data: Commerce wants to empower communities to leverage data that will inform their decisions and drive lasting change. By producing a series of Data for Everyone Summits, we seek to partner with community organizations, advocacy groups, and government partners to understand the barriers to accessibility of government data and improve usability in underserved communities. Ensuring that individuals have the tools they need to effectively use government data. The Big Data Project (BDP) enables innovation in environmental services using NOAA data accessed through Cloud Service Providers (CSPs). Through public-private partnerships with CSPs, Commerce aims to democratize access to NOAA data by reducing and removing obstacles to the public use of NOAA data. With increased access to key data, communities have an enhanced capacity to implement a resilience plan that allows them to withstand and recover from the impacts of a changing climate. Using a data-driven approach for climate resilience is more crucial than ever.
  • Promoting Appropriate Date Use: The Department recognize the importance of protecting privacy, respecting intellectual property, addressing cybersecurity concerns, and fostering an ethical data lifecycle that minimizes algorithmic risk of unintended bias. The Census Bureau will soon be launching The Combating Bias Toolkit, which aims to curate a collection of tools that help mitigate and correct sources of bias in federal data.

National Small Business Week Virtual Summit Highlights Resiliency and Recovery

Prominent small business investors, entrepreneurs, and mentors address nearly 50,000 attendees

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced today that this year’s National Small Business Week (NSBW) Virtual Summit drew more than 47,000 participants for the three-day virtual summit. Attendees heard from celebrity business owners, investors, entrepreneurs, and lead advisors from across the small business community, and connected with fellow small business owners from across the country. The event featured a focus on resilience and recovery, offering 22 educational sessions to help participants leverage SBA services and funding as they work to recover and build back better than ever.

“Our 2021 National Small Business Week Virtual Summit put a spotlight on the more than 32 million small businesses and innovative startups that are the beating heart of our nation’s economy,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “I’m proud that our dedicated SBA team was able to facilitate so many timely, thought-provoking conversations. And, I am thankful to the renowned business leaders and corporate partners who helped us deliver innovative programming to our incredible network of resource partners and customers. Throughout NSBW 2021, we have celebrated the resilience, creativity, and determination of our nation’s small businesses while connecting them with resources and tools to recover and help build our nation’s economy back better.”

Gina M. Raimondo Co-chairs U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo issued the following statement regarding the first session of the relaunched U.S.-Mexico High-Level Economic Dialogue, which was held today at the White House.

“Today, I was honored to co-chair the first U.S.-Mexico High-Level Economic Dialogue that Presidents Biden and López Obrador agreed to relaunch in March 2021. I am grateful to have been joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, USAID Administrator Samantha Power and Ambassador Kenneth Salazar, as well as our colleagues from Mexico, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard, Secretary of Economy Tatiana Clouthier, and Ambassador Esteban Moctezuma Barragán.”

“Mexico is a critical strategic ally and partner of the United States and is a top destination for U.S. exports. As neighbors, it is imperative that we leverage our partnership to build back from the pandemic together and advance shared economic and commercial goals, such as promoting inclusive trade and investment and strengthening regional supply chains.”

“The conversation that began today is the first step towards realizing these goals. We have agreed to the four pillars that will guide our discussion: Building Back Together; Promoting Sustainable Economic and Social Development in Southern Mexico and Central America; Securing the Tools for Future Prosperity; and Investing in Our People. While there is still much to do, I look forward to working to ensure that the U.S.-Mexico economic and commercial relationship builds on its strong foundation to bring shared prosperity and security to our peoples.”

U.S. Department of Commerce Establishes National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo today announced that the Commerce Department has established a high-level committee to advise the President and other federal agencies on a range of issues related to artificial intelligence (AI). Working with the National AI Initiative Office (NAIIO) in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the Department is now seeking to recruit top-level candidates to serve on the committee.

A formal notice describing the National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee (NAIAC) and the call for nominations for the committee and its Subcommittee on Artificial Intelligence and Law Enforcement appears in the Federal Register published today.

“AI presents an enormous opportunity to tackle the biggest issues of our time, strengthen our technological competitiveness, and be an engine for growth in nearly every sector of the economy,” said Secretary Raimondo. “But we must be thoughtful, creative, and wise in how we address the challenges that accompany these new technologies. That includes, but is not limited to, ensuring that President Biden’s comprehensive commitment to advancing equity and racial justice extends to our development and use of AI technology. This committee will help the federal government to do that by providing insights into a full range of issues raised by AI.”

“We have seen major advances in the design, development, and use of AI, especially in the past several years,” said Eric Lander, White House Science Advisor and OSTP Director. “We must be sure that these advances are matched by similar progress in ensuring that AI is trustworthy, and that it ensures fairness and protections for civil rights. I look forward to working with and learning from this committee.”

The National AI Initiative Act of 2020 calls for the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and other department officials, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the Director of National Intelligence, to establish the NAIAC. The committee is to provide recommendations on topics including the current state of U.S. AI competitiveness; progress in implementing the Initiative; the state of science around AI; issues related to AI workforce, including barriers to employment supporting opportunities for historically underrepresented populations; how to leverage initiative resources; the need to update the initiative; the balance of activities and funding across the initiative; the adequacy of the National AI R&D Strategic Plan; management, coordination, and activities of the initiative; adequacy of addressing societal issues; opportunities for international cooperation; issues related to accountability and legal rights; and how AI can enhance opportunities for diverse geographic regions.

The NAIAC will consist of expert leaders from a broad and interdisciplinary range of AI-relevant disciplines from across academia, industry, non-profits and civil society, and federal laboratories. These experts will be qualified to provide advice and information on science and technology research, development, ethics, standards, education, fairness, civil rights implications, technology transfer, commercial application, security, and economic competitiveness related to AI.

With AI already changing how society addresses economic competitiveness, national security challenges, and equitable opportunities, NIST and its researchers are dedicated to ensuring AI technologies are developed and used in a trustworthy and responsible manner that allows for accuracy, security, explainability and interpretability, reliability, privacy, safety, and the mitigation of bias. Trustworthy data, standards, and integration of machine learning and AI in applications are critical for the successful deployment of new technologies and the identification and mitigation of sources of algorithmic bias.

Nominations for the Committee and Subcommittee on Artificial Intelligence and Law Enforcement will be accepted on an ongoing basis and will be considered as vacancies arise. The National Institute of Standards and Technology will provide administrative support to the committee. Details for submitting nominations are included in the Federal Register notice.

Gina M. Raimondo’s Call with Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade

WASHINGTON D.C., Sept 1 – Today, Secretary Raimondo had an introductory meeting with Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade, Nguyen Hong Dien.

During their phone call, the Secretary and Minister Dien discussed the significance of the U.S.-Vietnam commercial relationship and potential areas for further growth. Secretary Raimondo highlighted the importance of energy sector cooperation, such as in renewable energy and smart grid solutions, to combat climate change.

They also discussed supply chain resilience and other priority commercial issues.

Readout of Secretary Raimondo’s Call With Indian Ambassador Taranjit Sandhu

August 23, Secretary Raimondo spoke with the Indian Ambassador to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu to discuss the U.S.-India commercial relationship. During their meeting, Secretary Raimondo and Ambassador Sandhu underscored the importance of this commercial relationship and their commitment to growing business ties in support of the broader strategic relationship. They discussed scheduling the U.S.-India CEO Forum and U.S.-India Commercial Dialogue and the rescheduling of the U.S.-India High Technology Cooperation Group meeting. They also discussed U.S.-India technology collaboration and improving digital economy policies to strengthen that collaboration.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE INVESTS $915,120 IN CARES ACT RECOVERY ASSISTANCE TO SUPPORT TRAVEL AND TOURISM SECTORS IN LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

WASHINGTON – August 19, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $915,120 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the Nevada System of Higher Education, Las Vegas, Nevada, to support the post-pandemic revitalization of Nevada’s travel and tourism sectors. This EDA grant, to be matched with $228,780 in local investment, is expected to create 13 jobs and retain 120 jobs.

“The Economic Development Administration is committed to helping communities across the nation implement strategies to mitigate economic hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Maiea Sellers, Acting Director of EDA’s Seattle Regional Office. “This EDA investment will support the University of Nevada at Las Vegas’s Hospitality and Entertainment COVID-19 Labs in providing business resilience consultation to small and medium-sized enterprises in the region.”

“I’m so glad to see the University of Nevada, Las Vegas get these EDA funds to support programs to revitalize our hard-hit tourism and travel industry,” said Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. “This is exactly why I worked so hard to advocate for these resources to aid Nevada, so that states like ours that depend on these industries would have the support they need to recover from the pandemic.”

“Travel and tourism play a critical role in the success of Nevada’s economy,” said Senator Jacky Rosen. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, these key industries were hit hard, resulting in business closures, job losses, and economic hardship for Nevada’s communities. In the Senate, in my role as Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Tourism, Trade, and Export Promotion, I have been committed to reviving travel and tourism in Nevada. I am glad to see that this Economic Development Administration grant – funded through the CARES Act, which I proudly supported – will help restore our state’s travel, tourism, and hospitality sectors to their pre-pandemic vitality. I will continue working to ensure that Nevada and its industries have the resources they need to fully recover from the challenges of this pandemic.”

“As the Chair of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, I am proud of my work to secure these dollars in support of Southern Nevada’s economic recovery,” said Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-01). “UNLV has one of the nation’s premiere hospitality programs, and these grant dollars will further support our travel and hospitality small businesses as they navigate the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.”

This project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136 PDF), which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance(EAA) (PDF) program, provides a wide-range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Department of Commerce’s NTIA to Begin Accepting Applicationsfor $268 Million Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program

WASHINGTON – The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today released a Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program, which will direct $268 million for expanding broadband access and connectivity to eligible Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges or Universities (TCUs), minority-serving institutions (MSIs), and consortia led by an HBCU, TCU, or MSI that also include a minority business enterprise or tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.

“Communities of color have faced systemic barriers to affordable broadband access since the beginning of the digital age,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “The investments we make as part of the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program will help communities that are struggling with access, adoption and connectivity, and will inform our path forward as we seek to finally close the digital divide across the country.”

The Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program was established by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. Grants will be distributed to help HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs purchase broadband service or equipment, hire IT personnel, operate a minority business enterprise or a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, and facilitate educational instruction, including remote instruction.

“NTIA knows how crucial colleges, universities and other community institutions can be when it comes to reaching vulnerable citizens and making a lasting impact,” said Acting NTIA Administrator Evelyn Remaley. “We look forward to working with historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges or Universities, and minority-serving institutions to advance our shared goal of a fully connected nation.”

The Notice of Funding Opportunity published today on grants.gov outlines the requirements for grant applications and other information about the program. Completed applications must be received by grants.gov no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on Dec. 1, 2021. In June, NTIA published the Final Rule for the program, which included programmatic scope, general guidelines, and described the agency’s method to determine applicant eligibility and identify which eligible recipients have the greatest unmet financial needs.

NTIA is holding a series of webinars to further inform the public. The next Connecting Minority Communities webinars will be held on August 18and 19.

Gina Raimondo Announces $3 Billion Investment in America’s Communities

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) will implement a series of programs, collectively called Investing in America’s Communities, to equitably invest the $3 billion it received from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act to help communities across the country build back better. The EDA investment is the largest economic development initiative from the Department of Commerce in decades.

Later today, Secretary Raimondo will address the White House Briefing Room to further lay out the Biden Administration’s vision for how this historic investment will help every community not only rebuild their local economy but also reimagine it for the future.

“President Biden’s American Rescue Plan delivered direct relief to the American people and was the first step to energizing the American economy following the devastating impacts of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Secretary Raimondo. “Now, its medium-term investments will allow communities around the country not only rebuild but reimagine their economy for the future.”

“With an emphasis on equity, EDA’s investments made possible by the American Rescue Plan will directly benefit communities that have been denied full access to economic prosperity and who have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” Secretary Raimondo continued. “We will work with local communities across the country on innovative new approaches to ensure that we can increase American competitiveness by strengthening our workforce, businesses, and communities and build back better in regions across the country.”

Investing in America’s Communities, was launched today with six Notices of Funding Opportunity:

  • Build Back Better Regional Challenge ($1 billion)
  • Good Jobs Challenge ($500 million)
  • Economic Adjustment Assistance Challenge ($500 million)
  • Indigenous Communities Challenge ($100 million)
  • Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Grants ($750 million)
  • Statewide Planning, Research, and Networks Grants ($90 million)

As part of the six programs, the Department of Commerce and EDA, working with President Biden’s Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities, is making a Coal Communities Commitment, which allocates $300 million in American Rescue Plan funds to coal communities. This investment will ensure that they have the resources to recover from the pandemic and will help create new jobs and opportunities, including through the development or expansion of a new industry sector.

The American Rescue Plan funding empowers EDA to build upon its greatest strength—flexible funding to support community-led economic development—and provide larger, more transformational investments across the nation. Under the American Rescue Plan, EDA will make grants to state and local governmental entities, institutions of higher education, not-for-profit entities, unions, and Tribes. EDA is not authorized to provide grants to individuals or for-profit entities.

America’s Strong Marine Economy Vital to Building Back Better

America’s marine economy contributed about $397 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product in 2019 and grew faster than the nation’s economy as a whole, according to the most current results of the first official Marine Economy Satellite Account released today by two Department of Commerce agencies.

“America’s strong marine economy is absolutely vital for building back better,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “President Biden sees the immense value and potential of strengthening America’s blue economy, and this administration will continue to take actions to combat the climate crisis, conserve our oceans, and protect our coastal communities.”

“These statistics show how powerful America’s blue economy is as a driver of jobs, innovation and economic growth,” said Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator. “This information will assist our nation’s economic recovery by helping policymakers, industry advocates, and organizations track and accelerate investments in target markets.”

For these statistics, experts from NOAA and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) described 10 sectors representing businesses dependent on the nation’s oceans, coasts and Great Lakes between the years 2014 and 2019. Marine-related gross domestic product grew 4.2% from 2018 to 2019, faster than the 2.2% growth of the total U.S. gross domestic product as measured in inflation-adjusted dollars. Businesses included in the report also generated a total of $665.7 billion in sales and supported 2.4 million jobs in 2019.

The 10 sectors ranked by their sales are:

  • Tourism and recreation, including recreational fishing ($235 billion)
  • National defense and public administration ($180 billion)
  • Offshore minerals ($93 billion)
  • Transportation and warehousing ($64 billion)
  • Commercial Ship and boat building ($31 billion)
  • Living resources, including commercial fishing and aquaculture ($27 billion)
  • Utilities ($12 billion)
  • Research and education ($10.4 billion)
  • Construction ($7.0 billion)
  • Professional and technical services ($6.3 billion)

“These statistics are further proof that our waters are vital for America’s economy,” said Nicole LeBoeuf, acting director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service. “It is nearly impossible to go a single day without eating, wearing, or using items that come from or through our ports and coastal communities.”

Last year, NOAA and BEA released the Ocean Economy Prototype statistics which covered 2014-2018 and were the most comprehensive measurement of the marine economy at the time. This year’s statistics offer improved national estimates for ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes-related economic activity by major sector, accounting for inflation.