Getty Images. Before Obama said goodbye, he signed one final bill into law.
The final bill signed by former President Barack Obama before leaving office Friday will encourage tech entrepreneurs to work with government agencies in support of national priorities.
The new law supports Obama’s Presidential Innovation Fellows program, an initiative enacted in 2012 that meshes private-sector technologists with public-service workers to tackle specific issues through a fellowship program that lasts six to 24 months.
The program focuses on issues that help save lives, create jobs and support entrepreneurship both outside and within the federal government. Past projects have included the development of NotAlone.gov—a resource for sexual assault victims on college campuses—and the creation of a website connecting veterans to employment opportunities.
The fellowship program has also led to increased spending on technological literacy at schools, as well as enhanced tech acumen across the government, according to a statement issued by the government Friday morning just ahead of the inauguration.
The law was the last bill signed by Obama before he handed the reins over to Donald Trump, whose immigration, trade and antitrust policies initially caused a rift in his relationship with Silicon Valley. Last month, he met with tech leaders from companies such as Amazon.com Inc. , Apple Inc. , Tesla Inc. and Facebook Inc. to discuss innovation and job creation.
Two days before leaving office, Obama also signed a provision that makes it easier for the government to grant visas to entrepreneurs of startups that demonstrate evidence of “substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation,” so long as they are providing a “significant public benefit” to the U.S.
The tech industry-heavy ETF Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund XLK, has risen nearly 5% since the Nov. 8 election, while the Nasdaq Composite Index has increased nearly 7%. By comparison, the S&P 500 index SPX, is up 6%.
The fellowship program will be funded through the Acquisitions Services Fund. [MarketWatch]