About the Author: Jennifer Bergh serves as an intern in the Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business' Office of Commercial and Business Affairs.
My first full day as an intern in the Office of Commercial and Business Affairs was a blur of new information, new people and a new language used here at the Department of State comprised solely of acronyms. By the end of the day I was feeling a bit overwhelmed about what I would be doing in days to come.
That evening as I sat at home, feeling a little uneasy about the internship and what my role would be in the department, I watched the State of the Union Address. Within the first few minutes of his speech, President Obama discussed the National Export Initiative (NEI) that I knew the Economic, Energy and Business Bureau, including my office would be working to rollout.
The NEI calls for increasing U.S. exports of goods and services with the goal of doubling exports in five years. These efforts will include increased government support and assistance to small- and medium-sized enterprises, the effective use of trade missions and commercial advocacy, the increased implementation of credit and incentives, the breaking down of trade barriers and the vehicles into new markets.
The bottom line is that a means to increase U.S. exports is a means to increase the number of U.S. jobs through the stimulation of the economy. The recession has meant millions of lost jobs for Americans. Many still are facing unemployment or the prospect of it. As a senior at Florida State University, I can tell you it is a scary time to be graduating. Our economy does not foster a welcoming job market for new graduates. I have seen many friends end up living off of their parents after graduation or even though being highly qualified, settling for a job that barely pays the bills because that was all they could find.
Graduating college is supposed to be an exciting time; a time to set the world on fire and go after your dreams. However, many dreams have been limited to what the economy can offer. This is why the NEI has really hit home with me. What a great opportunity for me to be part of the organization that is working towards this initiative.
After watching the State of the Union Address, I could rest a little easier. The acronym-based language of the Department may be foreign to me, but the principles and goals that it fosters are not. I feel privileged to be the new intern in the U.S. Department of State's Office of Commercial and Business Affairs and look forward to working on this export initiative.