Inside Extreme Scale Tech|Saturday, August 30, 2014
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Obama’s Take on the State of Manufacturing 

In his State of the Union Address Tuesday night, President Obama announced that he plans to use his executive powers to launch three manufacturing hubs and is calling on Congress to create 15 more. The goal is to foster partnerships between the federal government and the private sector that will result in high-tech jobs.

Obama noted the recent return of roughly 500,000 jobs back to the U.S. thanks to efforts of companies such as Caterpillar, Ford, Intel and Apple, believing this to be indicative of an American manufacturing revival.

But the spotlight of his manufacturing segment landed on additive manufacturing, which Obama cited as the technology that will open the door for innovation and a stronger manufacturing economy in the coming years.

To illustrate the technology’s potential, Obama discussed Youngstown, Ohio’s new Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, which was created via a public-private partnership headed by the U.S. military. The hope is that it will serve as a model for the additional hubs that the federal government will help to create.

“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. There’s no reason this can’t happen in other towns.”

The institute will receive $45 million from the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Commerce, as well as the National Science Foundation, and an additional $40 million from various manufacturing firms, universities, community colleges and nonprofit organizations within Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. This $85 million sum will supplement the initial $30 investment that was awarded to the institute at its launch this past August.

The newly announced manufacturing hubs will include similar partnerships between businesses, universities and community colleges, as well as the Departments of Energy and Defense for the investment in these training centers.

To bring it back to the manufacturing market on the whole, Obama proposed to lower taxes for manufacturers to 25 percent from 35 percent, while putting a minimum offshoring tax in place, hoping this will give manufacturers across industries an additional boost.

He also called for continued spending in science and innovation as well, to ensure that “the next revolution in manufacturing is Made in America.”

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