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Blog Entries from December 2012

Q&A:Deputy Assistant Secretary Matt Erskine


Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank and Deputy Assistant Secretary Matt Erskine attend a quarterly meeting of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in November. Matt Erskine, of the Economic Development Administration (EDA), was appointed deputy assistant secretary of commerce and chief operating officer in September 2011. Before joining the Obama administration, Erskine worked in the private and public sectors, including serving as deputy secretary of the Virginia Department of Commerce and Trade. Erskine shared with us his thoughts about EDA's recent accomplishments and what he sees in store for 2013.

Q:What have been EDA's most significant accomplishments over the past year?

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Strengthening Manufacturing at Home

Regional Innovation Strategies: Smart Investments to Accelerate Job and Economic Growth.  Image shows map of locations of all EDA award winners Advanced Manufacturing Projects Awarded Funding

Ten public-private partnerships were awarded a total of $6.5 million to help revitalize American manufacturing and encourage companies to invest in the United States. The partnerships, announced October 9, were selected through the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, which is a competitive multi-agency grant process announced in May 2012 to support initiatives that strengthen advanced manufacturing at the local level. The Challenge is a partnership between EDA and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Labors Employment and Training Administration, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the National Science Foundation.

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Members of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship and representatives of institutions of higher education listen to a presentation by Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank at the White House Conference Center on October 1. University Leaders and Obama Administration Accelerate Commercialization Efforts

Leaders from numerous institutions of higher learning convened with members of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) on October 1 to report on the ways they are leading the charge to create new entrepreneurial ecosystems. About 300 participants renewed their commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship on their campuses and in their communities, and asked for the continued support of the federal government in improving these critical components of the American economy.

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Economic Recovery after Disasters

Helping Communities Affected by Disaster

One of EDAs key roles following a major disaster is to help facilitate and coordinate economic recovery with communities impacted by natural disasters. When Hurricane Sandy hit the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states in November, EDA joined with several other federal agencies to deploy staff to help hard-hit communities throughout the region. EDA team members have been working with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Small Business Administration (SBA), U.S. Department of Agriculture, economic development partners, and the affected communities to identify long-term strategies that will help the communities restore their local economies, expedite recovery, and minimize economic losses.

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