At South by Southwest, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Highlights Government's Efforts to Support Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and the Digital Economy

Secretary Pritzker highlights new Commerce report demonstrating the value of data jobs to the U.S. economy


Friday, March 13, 2015
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today visited Austin, Texas, to engage with startups, business incubators and the broader South by Southwest (SXSW) audience to highlight the U.S. Commerce Department’s work advancing innovation, encouraging entrepreneurship, and supporting the digital economy.
Secretary Pritzker attended South by Southwest (SXSW), one of the largest interactive conferences in the world where musicians, startups, artists and others share ideas, create partnerships, and celebrate the importance of creativity in the 21st century economy. During an armchair with CEO Jon Steinberg, Secretary Pritzker discussed how the U.S. government is adapting to emerging technologies and businesses by aligning federal policies to fuel innovation. She also highlighted how the U.S. Commerce Department invests in innovation, supports the digital economy and is helping provide American businesses and entrepreneurs with the tools they need to grow and hire. Before the discussion, Secretary Pritzker officially swore in Michelle Lee, also participating in SXSW events, as the first woman to serve as Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) director.
“As ‘America's Innovation Agency,’ the Commerce Department is working to support our innovators and entrepreneurs every day, through smart policy-making, strategic investments, and proactive engagement with the private sector,” said Secretary Pritzker. “By improving our data collection, empowering our entrepreneurs, and investing in cutting-edge technologies, we will ensure that America remains the most globally competitive country in the world.”
While in Austin, Secretary Pritzker also participated in a pitch event to view presentations from and provide feedback to five of the top startups from Capital Factory, an Austin business incubator. In addition, she led a roundtable with business incubators, tenant startups and other startup stakeholders at the headquarters of RideScout, a smartphone app created to increase transportation efficiency.
Secretary Pritzker made a number of announcements during her trip to Austin, including the following:
Data Jobs Report
The Commerce Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) released a new report today, titled “The Importance of Data Occupations in the U.S. Economy,” that explores the importance of data jobs and their impact on the U.S. economy. The report found that more than half of the American workforce work with data in their jobs, and that data analysis and processing using fairly sophisticated computer technology are central to 10.3 million private and public sector jobs. Over the past 10 years, data jobs have grown four times faster than the rest of the private sector, adding 1.8 million jobs representing 31 percent of total private sector job growth. In addition, jobs in the data sector pay on average $40/hour, 68% more than the average private sector job.
This report reveals a new dimension to the value of data as an employment engine driving innovation and economic growth.
Chief Data Officer
Secretary Pritzker announced the Commerce Department hired its first-ever Chief Data Officer, Ian Kalin. He is a U.S. Navy veteran and recently came from the private sector where he supported large organizations like Google and start-ups like Socrata, in their efforts to help governments modernize their data and transparency programs.
Kalin is responsible for developing and implementing a vision for the future of the diverse data resources at Commerce, creating valuable new programs, products, applications and services that help each of the 12 Bureaus within Commerce to achieve their goals.
The new Chief Data Officer will pull together a platform for all data sets; instigate and oversee improvements in data collection and dissemination; and ensure that data programs are coordinated, comprehensive, and strategic.
The Chief Data Officer holds the key to unlocking more government data to help support a data-enabled Department and economy.
Engagement on Cybersecurity
The Commerce Department’s Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) will be launching an initiative to address key cybersecurity issues facing the digital economy that could be best addressed by a consensus-based multistakeholder process.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which helps lead the IPTF along with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the International Trade Administration (ITA), will convene these multistakeholder meetings related to cybersecurity.
Engagement on Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Secretary Pritzker also announced that the Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has launched a multi-stakeholder engagement process on this emerging and innovative industry.
This engagement process will develop and communicate best practices for privacy, accountability, and transparency issues regarding commercial and private unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) use. This process is designed to develop a framework that takes into consideration how UAS technology can enhance our economic competitiveness and support public safety missions while at the same time address privacy, civil rights and civil liberty concerns these systems may raise.

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