In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama put innovation and U.S. competitiveness on the national stage, laying out a blueprint for an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, and skills for American workers. ANSI and the U.S. standardization community are already making significant headway in moving the nation toward these goals:
An Innovation Nation
As the technical underpinning of many products and services, standards play a critical role in removing barriers to trade, enforcing free trade agreements, and expanding foreign markets for U.S. goods and services. Particularly in high-tech industries - including alternative energies, electric vehicles, nanotechnology, and cybersecurity - standardization can help U.S. business access global markets and drive innovation, increasing U.S. manufacturing, profits, and job growth.
To help U.S. business leaders understand the strategic power of standardization, ANSI joined forces with twenty-four partners across the standards and business community last year to launch Standards Boost Business (SBB). The SBB campaign has already gained significant ground in reaching business leaders, government representatives, and consumers, with editorials featured in business publications and as guest blog posts on such websites as the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Office of the United States Trade Representative. An advertising campaign targeted at executives in the C-suite has had placements in Forbes, Bloomberg Business Week, and the Harvard Business Review, among other publications. On behalf of the entire community, the SBB campaign will continue its efforts to get this critical message in front of business leaders, government representatives, and consumers over the next year.
Building a Clean Energy Economy
As President Obama pointed out in his address, one of the most promising areas for innovation and job creation lies in America's clean energy future. Energy efficiency efforts are expected to see dramatic growth over the decade, and a significant number of diverse initiatives are already underway in the public and private sectors. Today, the ANSI Electric Vehicles Standards Panel (EVSP) is paving the road to widespread electric vehicle deployment in the United States, with a Phase 1 standards and conformance roadmap to be published in the first quarter. In the push for American-made energy, the Nuclear Energy Standards Coordination Collaborative (NESCC) recently released a report assessing and coordinating the requirements for concrete used in nuclear power plants. A joint initiative of ANSI and the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST), the NESCC will meet again in March to further facilitate the growth and development of the U.S. nuclear industry.
ANSI is proud to have held significant leadership roles in the development of ISO 50001, the highly anticipated energy management standard that is already effecting significant reductions in power consumption and energy costs for organizations around the world. The U.S. holds the chairmanship of ISO Technical Committee (TC) 242, Energy management, and ANSI serves as joint secretariat for the TC alongside ABNT, the Brazilian member body. Experts from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the Georgia Institute of Technology have contributed enormously to the standard and to recognition of the U.S. as a thought leader in energy management. Looking forward, ANSI will continue to focus on helping U.S. industry and the nation achieve wide-scale energy goals, both domestically and internationally.
A Skilled American Workforce
Quality credentialing programs accredited by a neutral third party such as ANSI play an important role in fostering a more robust and qualified American workforce. Recognized and market-valued credentials are a win-win situation: employees are empowered to retool their skillset, and employers can identify qualified workers with the appropriate expertise.
Together with partners across a range of sectors and disciplines, ANSI is engaged in a number of activities that enhance the credentialing of personnel and support secondary and post-secondary career pathways. Recently, ANSI announced an initiative with the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) to bolster the American workforce for the growing number of clean energy jobs of the future. With advisory support from DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, ANSI and IREC are launching an independent, joint accreditation program for energy efficiency and renewable energy-related certificate programs offered in formal educational institutions and other legal entities.
And under the Skills for America's Future campaign, ANSI member and accredited standards developer the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and its affiliate The Manufacturing Institute are leading an effort to credential 500,000 community college students with skills certifications aligned to manufacturers' hiring needs. The NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System will give students the opportunity to earn industry-recognized credentials that will travel across state lines, be valued by a range of employers, and improve earning power.
"With job creation, economic growth, and alternative energies topping the nation's priorities, ANSI is proud to be the facilitator of critical standards and conformance-based solutions that have the power to help us achieve our goals," said S. Joe Bhatia, ANSI president and CEO. "ANSI looks forward to continuing to partner with the administration and the standardization community in support of these important initiatives."