RALEIGH, N.C. – Making good on a promise from last year’s State of the Union to help create good-paying American jobs, President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced a new public-private manufacturing hub in North Carolina to develop next-generation power electronics.
Obama’s announcement was meant to give a manufacturing boost to the state that has taken hits in the recession. “We’re not going to turn things around overnight. A lot of jobs were lost in the textile industry and furniture-making,” he told 2,000 gathered at a North Carolina State University arena.
But he expressed optimism that the time is now for a change. “This can be a breakthrough year for America,” Obama said.
The White House says that since the end of the recession, manufacturing has grown at the fastest pace in more than a decade, with more than a half-million jobs added in the past four years. The figure includes the addition of about 80,000 jobs in just the past five months. “Manufacturing is a bright spot in this economy,” Obama said.
The new manufacturing institute will focus on developing the next generation of energy-efficient, high-power electronic chips and devices that will be used to help make things like motors, consumer electronics and other devices that support the power grid, smaller, faster and more efficient. It’s being led by a consortium of 18 businesses and six universities, led by North Carolina State University
Obama said his administration will announce the two other innovation hubs in the coming weeks. The program is being funded by using $200 million in existing federal money.