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Obama announces six high-tech hubs in bid to win the future of manufacturing

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President plans to launch new centers this year in push to spur domestic job growth

obama speech pete souza white house flickr stock
obama speech pete souza white house flickr stock

President Barack Obama last night announced plans to create six high-tech manufacturing hubs in the US, as part of his administration's push to spur domestic job growth. The president outlined the proposal during his fifth State of the Union address Tuesday evening, though details on the new centers remain thin.

In pushing for more domestic high-tech manufacturing, Obama echoed last year's State of the Union speech, in which he lauded his administration's efforts to create a 3D printing lab and training center in Youngstown, Ohio. Earlier this month, he announced a second manufacturing institute in Raleigh, North Carolina, which will develop more energy-efficient semiconductor technologies for cars and consumer electronics. The president didn't specify where the six centers proposed last night will be located, or what industries they will focus on, though he said congressional support could help launch even more hubs in the future.

"get those bills to my desk and put more Americans back to work."

"We ... have the chance, right now, to beat other countries in the race for the next wave of high-tech manufacturing jobs," Obama said Tuesday. "Tonight, I'm announcing we'll launch six more this year. Bipartisan bills in both houses could double the number of these hubs and the jobs they create. So, get those bills to my desk and put more Americans back to work." The announcement drew applause and some standing ovations from members of Congress.

Several tech companies have begun moving operations back to the US in recent months. Apple brought some Mac manufacturing back to the US last year — a move that earned Obama's praise during last year's State of the Union — while Google-owned Motorola has also begun manufacturing its Moto X smartphone domestically. Some foreign companies are following the move, as well; last week, Taiwan-based Foxconn revealed that it is considering manufacturing some large displays in the US, after devoting $40 million to developing robotic technologies in Pennsylvania.

Obama hopes to see more manufacturing hubs in the future, though significant expansion would require congressional support. Last year, the president called upon Congress to invest $1 billion in a network of 15 advanced manufacturing centers, with the hope of expanding that number to 45 over the next decade. The North Carolina center announced this month was supported by $70 million in federal funds, under a public-private partnership with 18 businesses and six universities.

"I don't want the next big job creating discovery, the research and technology, to be in Germany, or China, or Japan," the president said this month during a speech at North Carolina State University. "I want it to be right here in the United States of America."