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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Blog Entries from September 2011

Q&A with Chad Paul, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Photo of Chad Paul Chad Paul has more than 35 years of entrepreneurial business experience and has started, secured investments for, or facilitated the merger of nearly two dozen companies. He is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, an organization that invests in early-stage technology firms and established manufacturers and has received international recognition as a model economic development program. Paul founded Chadwick Telephone while still in graduate school, and built the company from a start-up to a significant multi-state corporation. Paul serves as a Director of National Penn Bancshares and as Chairman of the Achievement Foundation, a national organization that awards college scholarships to students who have participated in U.S. Junior Achievement Programs. He earned his BS in Economics and MBA from Lehigh University.

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Advancing Regional Innovation Clusters to Spur Job Growth

Economic development strategies sometimes fail to recognize the important correlation between regional innovation cluster and jobs growth. Potential synergies remain unrealized because of the lack of coordination and collaboration between public and private sectors, and between the federal government, regional enterprises, and academic institutions. In a well-known example of successful innovation clustering previously profiled by the Economic Development Administration, boat makers from Maine traveled to Shanghai for the China International Boat Show in an effort to open up new markets. As reported in the Brookings Institution white paper “Clusters and Competitiveness” (April 2008), their 2007 trip was made possible by a $15 million federal grant awarded to North Star Alliance, a regional cluster initiative program organized by the state of Maine. The North Star Alliance brought together the local industry group, Maine Boat Builders, Inc., the University of Maine’s Advanced Engineered Wood Composites Center, state marine and composites trade associations, and various economic development and investment organizations. If we are to leverage regional innovation clusters to staunch the bleeding of middle-income jobs, the degree of coordination and planning exhibited by North Star Alliance could well serve as a model for industry clusters across the country.

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U.S. Commerce Department
Women in Stem: A Gender Gap to Innovation

While women make up 48 percent of the U.S. workforce, only 24 percent hold STEM jobs. Over the past decade, this underrepresentation has remained fairly constant, even as women's share of the college-educated workforce has increased.

Our science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce is crucial to America's innovative capacity and global competitiveness. Yet women are vastly underrepresented in STEM jobs and among STEM degree holders despite making up nearly half of the U.S. workforce and half of the college-educated workforce. That leaves an untapped opportunity to expand STEM employment in the United States, even as there is wide agreement that the nation must do more to improve its competitiveness.

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