Laying the Groundwork for American Competitiveness Throughout the 21st Century

The President has been travelling the country talking about how we can get America back to creating good, middle-class jobs.  Last week, President Obama sent Congress the American Jobs Act, which will put people back to work and put money back in the pockets of working Americans.

A number of the measures in the American Jobs Act will have an immediate effect on the economy and will start to put Americans back to work right away.  And on September 16, the President signed the America Invents Act, which will help American entrepreneurs and businesses get their inventions to the marketplace sooner so they can turn their ideas into new products and new jobs.

At the same time, the Administration is working hard to make sure that we focus both on immediate needs and the long term health of the U.S. economy.  As President Obama explained on September 8 in his speech to a joint session of Congress:

“...the American Jobs Act answers the urgent need to create jobs right away. But we can’t stop there. As I’ve argued since I ran for this office, we have to look beyond the immediate crisis and start building an economy that lasts into the future -- an economy that creates good, middle-class jobs that pay well and offer security. We now live in a world where technology has made it possible for companies to take their business anywhere. If we want them to start here and stay here and hire here, we have to be able to out-build and out-educate and out-innovate every other country on Earth.”

The Administration is hard at work on implementing President Obama’s long term competitiveness agenda, most recently laid out in the Strategy for American Innovation.  On Friday, I joined Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank and number of colleagues from the White House and the Commerce Department to meet with the Innovation Advisory Board in Boulder, Colorado.  This impressive group of business and labor leaders was established by the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, signed by President Obama in January 2011.  The Innovation Advisory Board members have been soliciting feedback from stakeholders across the country to assist the Commerce Department in producing a study that will analyze the competitiveness of the U.S. economy and its capacity for innovation in comparison to that of our global competition.  The study is due to be submitted to Congress on or before January 4, 2012.

Members of the public can submit ideas to the Administration by emailing

Advisory Board members have held several public events to get feedback from the public, most recently last Friday afternoon at the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology & Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado Law School.  The next public event will be held on Tuesday, October 11 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. (registration required).

Quentin Palfrey is Senior Advisor to the CTO for Jobs & Competitiveness

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