President Obama made a push for an expanded high-tech manufacturing base in the US during his State of the Union address Tuesday night, proposing the creation of six new high-tech manufacturing hubs in the US this year.
"We also have the chance, right now, to beat other countries in the race for the next wave of high-tech manufacturing jobs," Obama said in his annual address to the nation. Two existing hubs in Raleigh, N.C., and Youngstown, Ohio, have "connected businesses to research universities that can help America lead the world in advanced technologies," he said.
Obama did not indicate where the hubs would be located or what they would specialize in.
During his State of the Union address last year, Obama highlighted the role Youngstown plays as the epicenter of the nascent 3D-printing industry. The president described how, with the help of $30 million in federal funding and $40 million from a consortium of companies and universities, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute was revolutionizing manufacturing.
"A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything," Obama said in last year's address. "There's no reason this can't happen in other towns."
Earlier this month, Obama unveiled a manufacturing hub in Raleigh that will connect emerging research with manufacturers to develop energy-efficient chips. Backed by $70 million in federal funding, the consortium will be led by North Carolina State University and include companies such as ABB, APEI, Avogy, Cree, Delphi, Delta Products, DfR Solutions, Gridbridge, and Hesse Mechantronic, according to Reuters.