Obama Announces ‘Manufacturing Hubs’ for Chicago, Detroit

Andrew Mortazavi

President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that the Midwest will soon be home to two new manufacturing and innovation centers. The project represents a public-private collaboration to jumpstart industry and innovation in the region by supporting centralized research and development alongside manufacturing in an effort to foster collaboration. Obama first proposed government support for such hubs in 2013. The first hub,  announced in January of this year, is based in Raleigh, NC and will work on developing next-generation computer chips. The Chicago and Detroit hubs will focus on digital manufacturing/design and developing modern composite and metals manufacturing, respectively. The two new hubs will advance the region’s economic and technological positions, as well as bring new jobs and industry to the Midwest. According to Reuters: Obama, who calls Chicago his home town, is seeking ways to find jobs for middle-class Americans and raise their incomes the U.S. economy continues to recover from a brutal recession. In the absence of a consensus in Congress on how to proceed, he has pledged to act on his own when he can. Part of that push is an effort to expand manufacturing jobs, many of which were lost in preceding decades as U.S. companies searched for cheaper labor abroad. Both of the institutes will be led by the Defense Department. They will be supported by $140 million in federal funds and another $140 million from businesses and universities. The public-private partnership will enable the hubs to address different issues than either sector would do alone. According to the Brookings Institution: “The centers will seek to accelerate technology deployment, operate demonstration facilities and test beds, support education and training, and perform applied research on new manufacturing processes—all unlikely activities for private industry on its own.”

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Andrew Mortazavi is a Spring 2014 editorial intern. Follow him on Twitter at @andrewmortazavi.
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