President Barack Obama’s speech at Hyde Park Academy on Friday was expected to focus on proposals made in his State of the Union address on strengthening the economy for the middle class.
The president made manufacturing a key element in Tuesday’s speech, announcing the launch of three manufacturing hubs in the U.S.
“Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing,” Obama said on Tuesday. “Businesses will partner with the Departments of Defense and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs.”
He also asked Congress to help create the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. The president initially announced his plan to invest $1 billion in this network of 15 hubs on March 9, 2012.
A pilot hub, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, was established in Youngstown, Ohio in August. It aims to increase the United States’ manufacturing competitiveness through additive manufacturing – 3-D printing.
“This innovation institute was front and center in the State of the Union,” said Scott N. Paul, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. “It is clearly a priority of the administration.”
The Chicago-area is a conceivable contender for one of these three hubs.
“At the end of the day everything that makes Chicago attractive to manufacturers to locate headquarters here would also make it attractive to making it one of these manufacturing centers,” said Paul Labriola, CEO of Robinson Laser in East Chicago.
Last week during Illinois Gov. Quinn’s State of the State address he announced a partnership with the University of Illinois and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications to create an advanced manufacturing hub.
Following the president’s speech Tuesday, Quinn issued a statement that included the role of the Chicago-area in manufacturing.
“President Obama laid out an inspiring agenda that will make America a magnet for jobs and drive economic growth for the next generation,” said Quinn. “Illinois stands ready to do our part. As the president called for manufacturing hubs across the nation, we are already on our way to making the Illinois Manufacturing Lab a reality.”