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  • The President: Welcome to the White House, everybody.

  • We've got some pretty cool stuff up here, and we also

  • have people here who can explain what it all is.

  • But thank you so much for being here.

  • We've got, first and foremost, some people

  • who I'm proud to call friends and have been fighting on

  • behalf of American workers every single day.

  • We've got the Governor of the great state

  • of Illinois -- Pat Quinn is here in the house.

  • (applause)

  • We've got somebody who is

  • responsible for trimming my trees and potholes

  • in front of my house -- (laughter) --

  • and shoveling snow.

  • And I haven't been back for a while; I don't know

  • how it's going, but I'm assuming he's handling his

  • business -- the Mayor of the great city of Chicago,

  • Rahm Emmanuel is here.

  • (applause)

  • We've got Phil LaJoy, who's the

  • supervisor of Canton Township, Michigan,

  • who is here.

  • There he is.

  • (applause)

  • Good job, Phil.

  • And we've got some outstanding members

  • of Congress who are here, especially someone who

  • just announced that this would be his last term in

  • Congress, but is somebody who so many of us have

  • learned from, have admired.

  • He is a man who has every single day of his life, in

  • office, made sure that he was fighting on behalf of

  • people who really needed help.

  • And he's going to be very missed.

  • John, you are not just the longest-serving member

  • of Congress in American history,

  • you're also one of the very best.

  • Michigan's own John Dingell is here.

  • (applause)

  • And we are better off because of

  • John's service, and we're going to miss you.

  • Now, today I am joined by researchers

  • who invent some of the most advanced metals on the planet,

  • designers who are modeling prototypes in the digital

  • cloud, folks from the Pentagon who help

  • to support their work.

  • Basically, I'm here to announce

  • that we're building Iron Man.

  • (laughter)

  • I'm going to blast off in a second.

  • (laughter)

  • We've been -- this has been a secret

  • project we've been working on for a long time.

  • (laughter)

  • Not really.

  • Maybe.

  • It's classified.

  • (laughter)

  • But keeping America at the cutting edge of technology

  • and innovation is what is going to ensure

  • a steady stream of good jobs into the 21st century.

  • And that's why we're here today --

  • to take new action to put America at the forefront

  • of 21st century manufacturing.

  • This is a moment when our economy is growing,

  • and it has been growing steadily for over four years now.

  • Our businesses have created about 8.5 million

  • new jobs over the past four years.

  • The unemployment rate is the lowest it's been

  • in over five years.

  • Our manufacturing sector is adding jobs for the

  • first time since the 1990s.

  • So there's some good news to report, but the trends

  • that have battered the middle class for decades

  • have become, in some ways, even starker.

  • While those at the top are doing better than ever,

  • average wages have barely budged.

  • Too many Americans are working harder than ever

  • just to keep up.

  • And it's our job to reverse those trends.

  • We've got to build an economy that works

  • for everyone, not just a fortunate few.

  • We've got to restore opportunity

  • for all people.

  • That's the essence of America: No matter who you

  • are or where you come from, what you look like,

  • how you started out -- if you are willing

  • to work hard and take responsibility,

  • you can get ahead in America.

  • So I've been talking now for months about

  • an opportunity agenda.

  • And let me break it down into four parts.

  • Number one, more good jobs

  • that pay good wages -- jobs in American

  • manufacturing, rebuilding our infrastructure,

  • innovation, energy.

  • Number two, training workers with the skills

  • they need to fill those jobs.

  • Number three, guaranteed access to a world-class

  • education for every child in America.

  • And number four, making sure that hard

  • work pays off with wages you can live on and savings you

  • can retire on and health insurance you can count

  • on when you need it.

  • Now, I'm looking forward to working with Congress

  • wherever they're willing to do something

  • on any of these priorities.

  • And I have to say that the members of Congress who

  • are here all care deeply about these issues.

  • But let's face it -- sometimes it's hard

  • to get moving in Congress.

  • We've got a divided Congress at this point.

  • And so, in this year of action,

  • wherever I can act on my own to expand opportunity for more

  • Americans, I'm going to seize that opportunity.

  • And that's why we're here today.

  • Already, my administration has launched two hubs

  • for high-tech manufacturing.

  • One is in Youngstown, Ohio and is focused on 3-D

  • printing, an entirely new way by which

  • the manufacturing process can accelerate and supply

  • chains get stitched together,

  • and you integrate design and all the way through production

  • in ways that can potentially

  • be revolutionary.

  • We've also focused on energy-efficient

  • electronics in Raleigh, North Carolina.

  • And what happens at each of these hubs

  • is we're connecting leading businesses to research

  • universities, so they're able to ensure that

  • America leads the world in the advanced technologies

  • that are going to make sure that we're

  • at the forefront when it comes to manufacturing.

  • Now, my friend Congressman Tim Ryan,

  • who's here today, helped -- where's Tim?

  • I just saw him, there he is -- helped us get the

  • first of these hubs off the ground.

  • There's growing bipartisan momentum

  • now behind these efforts.

  • We've got two Republicans and two Democrats, Roy

  • Blunt and Sherrod Brown in the Senate, and Tom Reed

  • and Joe Kennedy in the House, that have written

  • bills that would help us create a true network

  • of these hubs all across the country.

  • So I'm really encouraging Congress

  • to pass these bills.

  • They're good ideas.

  • And what they do is not only help link

  • up our top researchers with our best business people,

  • but suddenly they become a focal point

  • of opportunity, and businesses around the

  • country and around the world start seeing, huh,

  • if I'm interested in digital technologies

  • that's the place I should locate.

  • If I'm interested in 3-D printing, let me go there.

  • And so you get a virtuous cycle that can take place.

  • And Congress I think has an opportunity

  • to really expand these in a significant way.

  • In the meantime, while Congress decides on what

  • it's going to do, we're going to go ahead and take

  • some action to launch more of these hubs this year.

  • And today, we're announcing

  • the next two advanced manufacturing hubs.

  • One is in the Detroit area, and the other

  • is in Chicago, Illinois.

  • (applause)

  • Now, let me describe a little more why

  • this is so important.

  • For generations of Americans, manufacturing

  • was the ticket to a good middle-class life.

  • We made stuff.

  • And the stuff we made -- like steel and cars

  • and planes -- made us the economic

  • leader of the world.

  • And the work was hard, but the jobs were good.

  • And if you got on an assembly plant in Detroit

  • or in a steel plant in Youngstown,

  • you could buy a home.

  • You could raise kids.

  • You could send them to college.

  • You could retire with some security.

  • And those jobs didn't just tell us how much we were

  • worth, they told us how we were contributing

  • to the society and how we were helping to build America,

  • and gave people a sense of dignity and purpose.

  • They saw a Boeing plane or one of the Big Three cars

  • rolling off the assembly line, and they said, you

  • know what, I made that.

  • And they were iconic.

  • And people understood that's what it meant for

  • something to be made in America.

  • Now, advances in technology have allowed

  • manufacturers to do more with less.

  • Global competition means a lot of good manufacturing

  • jobs went overseas.

  • There was just more competition.

  • Folks caught up to us, and they in some cases just

  • copied what we were doing with lower wages, so the

  • competition was fierce.

  • And in the 2000s alone, we lost about one-third of

  • all American manufacturing jobs -- and the middle

  • class suffered for it.

  • Now, the good news is, today, our manufacturers

  • have added more than 620,000 new manufacturing

  • jobs over the last four years.

  • That's the first sustained manufacturing growth

  • in over 20 years.

  • But the economy has changed.

  • So if we want to attract more good manufacturing

  • jobs to America, we've got to make sure we're

  • on the cutting edge of new manufacturing

  • techniques and technologies.

  • And I just have to emphasize here that --

  • because you'll hear some people say, well,

  • why are manufacturing jobs so special,

  • and this is a service economy.

  • Nobody believes that we're going to duplicate all the

  • manufacturing jobs that existed back

  • in the '40s and the '50s just because the economy has changed.

  • You go into an auto plant now,

  • it's different then it was.

  • Fewer people can make more cars.

  • But keep in mind that when we have manufacturing in

  • this country, what ends up happening is that,

  • first of all, there are a whole lot of suppliers to those

  • manufacturers, so that one plant may be deceptive.

  • It doesn't tell you all the companies all across

  • the country that are working on behalf

  • of those manufacturers.

  • The services that are provided to those

  • manufacturers, the advertising that's

  • connected to it, and the architects and the

  • designers and the software engineers -- all those

  • things may not be counted as manufacturing,

  • but by us having those hubs of manufacturing,

  • it has a ripple effect throughout the economy.

  • So we've got to focus on advanced manufacturing

  • to keep that manufacturing here in the United States.

  • That's what's going to help get the next Stark

  • Industries off the ground.

  • (laughter)

  • So today -- by the way, my Commerce

  • Secretary, Penny Pritzker, is not here because she's

  • in Silicon Valley meeting with business leaders and

  • talking about how together we can work together

  • to spur economic growth.

  • The point is, I don't want the next big job-creating

  • discovery to come from Germany or China or Japan.

  • I want it to be made here in America.

  • And this is one last point I'm going

  • to make about this.

  • Typically, a lot of research and development

  • wants to be co-located with where manufacturing

  • is taking place -- because if you design something,

  • you want to see how is it working and how is it

  • getting made, and then tinker with it and fix it,

  • and try something different.

  • So if all the manufacturing is somewhere