Full Text Obama Presidency July 15, 2015: President Barack Obama’s Remarks on Launch of ConnectHome Initiative to connect low-income homes to the internet Transcript



Remarks by the President on Launch of ConnectHome Initiative

Source: WH, 7-15-15

Durant High School
Durant, Oklahoma

6:07 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Oklahoma!  (Applause.)  Halito!

AUDIENCE:  Halito!

THE PRESIDENT:  Everybody, please have a seat.  Have a seat.  It’s good to see you.  How is everybody doing?  (Applause.)

First of all, Michelle says hi.  (Laughter.)  And I want to thank all of you for helping to build the terrific partnership that we share with the Choctaw Nation.


THE PRESIDENT:  I love you, too.  (Laughter.)  So I want to first of all thank Chief Gary Batton and the many tribal leaders who are here today.  (Applause.)  I want to thank the extraordinary young people that I just had a chance to meet with.  Give them a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  They were just exceptional, and gave me all kinds of interesting thoughts and ideas about how young people can lead and thrive, and reshape America.  And I could not be prouder of them.

As many of you know, we’ve held a Tribal Nations Conference each year that I’ve been President.  And just last week, as part of what we call our Generation Indigenous initiative, focused on young people, we hosted our first-ever Tribal Youth Gathering with over 1,000 young leaders from 230 tribes -– including several Choctaw youth.  (Applause.)  You spend time with these young people from all across the country and they will blow you away.  They are smart, and they’re passionate, and they are ready to seize the future.

And Michelle and I believe we’ve got a special obligation to make sure that tribal youth have every opportunity to achieve their potential not just for the benefit of themselves and their communities, but for our entire nation; that all of you young people have a chance to succeed not by leaving your communities, but by coming back and investing in your communities, and that you have a whole range of options that can lift us all up.  And so we are really excited about what you’re doing, and we’re really excited about some of the work that’s going to be done not just here but all across the country.  That’s why I’m here today.

When you step back and look at everything that we’ve done in the past six and a half years to rebuild our economy on a new foundation –- from retooling our industries to rethinking our schools, reforming our health care system –- all of it’s been in pursuit of one goal, and that’s creating opportunity for all people — not just some, but everybody.  (Applause.)

And thanks to the hard work and the resilience of the American people, the work we’ve done is paying off.  So our businesses have created 2.8 12.8 million new jobs over the past 64 months in a row.  That’s the longest streak of private sector job growth on record.  (Applause.)  The housing market is stronger.  The stock market recovered, so people’s 401(k)s and retirement accounts got replenished.  More than 16 million Americans now have the financial security of having health insurance.  (Applause.)  We’ve invested in clean energy.  We’ve made ourselves more independent of foreign oil.  We’ve seen jumps in high school enrollment and college graduation rates.

So across the board, there’s really no economic measure where we’re not doing better than we were when I came into office.  That’s the good news.  But I also made it clear when I came into office that even as we’re trying to make sure the entire economy recovers, we also have to pay attention to those communities that all too often have been neglected and fallen behind.  And as part of that, I said we’re going to do better by our First Americans.  We’re going to do better.  (Applause.)

Now, we can’t reverse centuries of history — broken treaties, broken promises.  But I did believe that we could come together as partners and forge a new path based on trust and respect.  And that’s what we’ve tried to do.  So we strengthened the sovereignty of tribal nations.  We gave more power to tribal courts and police.  We restored hundreds of thousands of acres of tribal trust lands.  We expanded opportunity by permanently reauthorizing the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, and helping businesses, and building roads, and moving forward on renewable energy projects in Indian Country.  We untied tribal hands when it came to dealing with domestic violence, which was really important.  (Applause.)

Here in Oklahoma, we designated the Choctaw Nation as one of America’s first Promise Zones -– areas where the federal government is partnering with local communities and businesses to jumpstart economic development and job creation, expand educational opportunities, and increase affordable housing, and improve public safety.  And as a result, you’ve already received federal investments in Early Head Start, to make sure our young people are getting the best possible beginning in life; child care, job training, support for young entrepreneurs.  And I’ve called on Congress to pass a Promise Zone tax credit to encourage employment and private sector investment in places like this.  (Applause.)

So we’ve made a lot of progress not just in Indian Country but in America as a whole.  But we’ve got more work to do.  We’ve got more work to do, especially because the economy around the globe is changing so fast.

So today, I want to focus on one way we can prepare our kids and our workers for an increasingly competitive world, a way that we can help our entrepreneurs sell more goods here at home and overseas, a way where we can get every American ready to seize the opportunities of a 21st century economy.

Today, we’re going to take another step to close the digital divide in America, and make sure everybody in America has access to high-speed broadband Internet.  (Applause.)  We’re taking some initiatives today to make that happen.

Now, I don’t really have to tell you why this is important.  Even old folks like me know it’s important.  In this digital age, when you can apply for a job, take a course, pay your bills, order a pizza, even find a date — (laughter) — by tapping your phone, the Internet is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.  You cannot connect with today’s economy without having access to the Internet.  Now, that doesn’t mean I want folks on the Internet all the time.  I always tell young people when I meet them, sometimes they just have the phone up, I’m standing right in front of them — (laughter) — and I got to tell them, young man, put down that phone.  Shake the hand of your President.  (Laughter.)  And then after you shake my hand and look me in the eye, and told me your name, then you can maybe go back to taking pictures.  (Laughter.)  So there’s nothing wrong with every once in a while putting the technology aside and actually having a conversation.  This is something I talk to Malia and Sasha about.  We don’t let tose phones at the dinner — but that’s a whole other story.  I went off track.

But if you’re not connected today, then it’s very hard for you to understand what’s happening in our economy.  Now, here’s the problem.  While high-speed Internet access is a given, it’s assumed for millions of Americans, it’s still out of reach for too many people — especially in low-income and rural communities.  More than 90 percent of households headed by a college graduate use the Internet.  Fewer than half of households with less than a high school education are plugged into the Internet.  So, in other words, the people who could benefit the most from the latest technology are the least likely to have it.

So if you’re a student and you don’t have Internet access at home, that means you could be struggling to type papers or do online homework assignments, or learn basic computer skills, or try to get help from your teacher.  You may have to wait in long lines at public libraries or even in parking lots at the local McDonald’s just to try to get digital access.  And what that means is you’re not learning the critical tech skills required to succeed in tomorrow’s economy.

And this has consequences.  A lot of you have heard about the achievement gap, how some kids in certain groups consistently lag behind, and the opportunity gap, where certain groups have a tougher time getting attached to the labor market.  Well, this starts with a “homework gap” for a lot of young people, and an “access to learning” gap, which then can translate into a science gap or a math gap, and eventually becomes an economic gap for our country.  And that’s not what America is about.  America doesn’t guarantee you success.  That’s never been the promise.  But what America does stand for — has to stand for — is if you’re willing to work hard and take responsibility, then you can succeed — (applause) — no matter where you start off.

That’s the essential American story.  That’s why we admire stories like Abraham Lincoln’s.  Starts off in a log cabin, teaches himself to read and write, and becomes our greatest President.  That’s what America is supposed to be about.

And in an increasingly competitive global economy, our whole country will fall behind unless we’re got everybody on the field playing.  Obviously, as President, you travel around a lot, and you go to countries like South Korea where a higher percentage of the population has high-speed broadband — and, by the way, they pay their teachers the way they pay their doctors — (applause) — and they consider education to be at the highest rung of the professions.  Well, we will start falling behind those countries — which is unthinkable when we invented the stuff.  It’s American ingenuity that created the Internet, that created all these technologies.  And the notion that now we’d leave some Americans behind in being able to use that, while other countries are raising ahead, that’s a recipe for disaster, and it offends our most deeply held values.

A child’s ability to succeed should not be based on where she lives, how much money her parents make.  That’s not who we are as a country.  We’ve got a different standard.  We’re a people who believe we should be able to go as far as our talents and hard work will take us.  And just because you don’t have money in your household to buy fancy technology, that should not be an obstacle.

We’ve been doing a lot to encourage coding and STEM education — math and science and technology education.  And unfortunately, for too many of our kids, that’s something that’s viewed as out of reach.  Listen, people are not born coders.  It’s not as if suddenly if you’re born in Silicon Valley you can figure out how to code a computer.  That’s not — what happens is kids get exposed to this stuff early, and they learn, they soak it up like sponges.

And somewhere among the millions of young people who don’t have access to the digital world could be the next Mark Zuckerberg, the next Bill Gates.  Some of them might be right here in the Choctaw Nation.  (Applause.)  But only if we make sure you have access and exposure.  If we don’t give these young people the access to what they need to achieve their potential, then it’s our loss, it’s not just their loss.

So that’s why my administration has made it a priority to connect more Americans to the Internet, and close that digital divide that people have been talking about for 20 years now.  We’ve invested so far in more than 100,000 miles of network infrastructure; that’s enough to circle the globe four times.  We’ve laid a lot of line.  We’ve supported community broadband.  We’ve championed net neutrality rules to make sure that the Internet providers treat all web traffic equally.  And then we launched something called ConnectEd, and this was targeted at making sure that every school was connected and classrooms were connected.  And we’re now well on our way to connecting 99 percent of students to high-speed broadband in their classrooms by 2018, and that includes here in Durant.  (Applause.)

So far, 29 million more students in 55,000 schools are on track to have access to high-speed broadband, and 20 million more have Wi-Fi in their classrooms.  And last year, when I visited Standing Rock Nation in North Dakota, I announced that Verizon would connect 10 Native student dorms, Microsoft would donate more tablets to more Native students, including students right here in Oklahoma.  So we’ve been making progress.  We’re chipping away this thing.

But today, we’re going to go further.  I’m announcing a new initiative called ConnectHome.  Now, ConnectEd, the idea was making sure the schools were connected and that you didn’t have a situation where in a classroom, even if it was connected to the Internet, you could only have one student at a time or a couple of computers at a time.  So we had to make sure that the classroom was state of the art.  ConnectHome is designed to make high-speed Internet more affordable to residents in low-income housing units across the country — because young people today, they’re not just learning in the classroom, they’re learning outside the classroom as well.  So my Department of Housing and Urban Development is going to work with 28 communities, from Boston to Durham, from Seattle to Durant.  About 200,000 of our most vulnerable children and their families will soon be able to access affordable Internet in their home.  (Applause.)

Now, I want to give credit where credit is due.  This is not something government does by itself.  I’m proud to say that folks around the country are stepping up to do their part.  So businesses like Cox are providing low-cost Internet and devices.  Best Buy is committing free computer education and technical support so that folks learn how to make the most of the Internet.  Organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs will teach digital literacy so that kids in this community can be just as savvy as kids growing up in Silicon Valley.  You’ve got non-profits like EveryoneOn and U.S. Ignite who are going to help make this work on the ground.  So we’ve got some great businesses and some great non-for-profits who are partnering with us on this.

But most importantly, it really requires all of us to be involved — parents, principals, teachers, neighbors — because we have to demand the best in our schools and for our kids.

These investments are the right thing to do for our communities.  They’re the smart thing to do for the national economy.  And we can’t allow shortsighted cuts to the programs that are going to keep us competitive.

So this is a smart investment.  These are the kinds of investments we need to make.  Sometimes there’s a debate going on in Washington about the size of government and what we should be spending on.  And look, I’ve said before, there are programs in Washington that don’t work, and we don’t want taxpayer money wasted.  But there are some investments that we make in future generations, there are investments we make in things that help all of us that we can’t do by ourselves.  We’re not going to build a road by ourselves; we’ve got to do that together.  We’re not going to invest in basic research to solve Alzheimer’s by ourselves.  At least I don’t have enough money to do that.  We’ve got to do that together.  I’ll pay some tax dollars, we’ll pool our money, and then we all invest in the research because we all stand to benefit at some point.  We don’t know when we might get sick, and it’s good for us to keep that cutting edge of science.

Well, the same thing is true when it comes to schools and investing in our young people, making sure that they’ve got the tools they need to succeed.  So this idea of ConnectHome, just like ConnectEd, this is going to make the difference for a dad who can now — because it’s not just for the kids — now he can learn a new skill and apply for a better job after work, because he’s working a tough shift to pay the rent, but he knows he wants to advance.  He may be able to take an online course because he’s got access to the Internet — and that could make all the difference in his family and his future.  This will make a difference for the young entrepreneur — got a great idea, wants to start a business.  Can start it from her home.  This will make a difference for the student who can now download the resources he needs to study for that exam that’s coming up, and then maybe come up with a new theory that’s going to make a difference in our understanding of the world.

This will make a difference for young people like Kelsey Janway.  Where’s Kelsey?  There’s Kelsey, right here.  (Applause.)  Stand up, Kelsey, so everybody can see you.  All right, Kelsey, I know this is embarrassing, so you can sit down for a second.  (Laughter.)

Kelsey is 16 years old, a proud member of the Choctaw Nation.  This might be a game-changer for her.   When she was younger, her family only got phone reception if they stood on a particular rock in their yard, or on the top window sill in their bathroom.  Is that right?

MS. JANWAY:  Yeah.

THE PRESIDENT:  You remember the rock.

MS. JANWAY:  Yeah.

THE PRESIDENT:  It was this particular rock.  So today she has spotty, slow Internet service at home.  And at school, service is just as bad — which makes it tough for students like Kelsey to learn the skills they need for success.  Meanwhile, a high school nearby has much better technology; it gives those kids an advantage that she doesn’t have.

Now, even though she’s seen many of her peers get caught up in trouble or lose motivation and maybe drop out of school, Kelsey is keeping on pushing.  She works two jobs, belongs to 11 organizations.  Now, we’re going to need to talk about that.  That’s a lot of organizations.  I don’t know where you’re finding that time.  (Applause.)  She’s leading a youth council where she helps guide some of her peers.  And she says that even the slow Internet that she’s got — probably that buffer and things coming up all the time is getting on her nerves.  Nevertheless, that’s opened her mind and introduced her to views outside of her own.  “I have a sense of a bigger world out there.”  That’s what Kelsey says.

And that glimpse of what’s possible, that can change everything.  So last week, Kelsey represented Choctaw Nation at the White House Tribal Youth Gathering.  Had a chance to hear from Michelle, right?  And she plans to return to the White House one day — as President.  So I’m just keeping the seat warm for her until she gets there.  (Laughter.)  But I wanted to point out Kelsey having to stand on a rock trying to get phone service as an example of what we’re talking about here.

There are amazing young people like Kelsey all across the country.  I meet them every day.  Talented, smart, capable; of every race, of every ethnicity, every faith, every background.  They’ve got big dreams.  They’re just poised to succeed, and they’re willing to work through all kinds of obstacles to make great things happen.  But they’ve got big dreams — we’ve got to have an interest in making sure that they can achieve those dreams.  Kelsey, these young people, young people all across the country — they deserve a country that believes in those dreams, and that invests in those dreams, and that loves them for their dreams.  (Applause.)

And ultimately, that’s what America is about.  You know, I know sometimes folks get discouraged about Washington — I know I do — because the arguments between the parties are just so stark, and all the differences are exaggerated, and what attracts attention and gets on the news on TV is conflict and shouting and hollering.  And as a consequence, everybody kind of goes into their corners and nobody agrees to anything, and nothing gets done, and everybody gets cynical and everybody gets frustrated.

But the thing is that for all our disagreements, for all our debates, we are one family.  And we may squabble just like families do, but we’re one family — from the First Americans to the newest Americans.  We’re one family.  We’re in this together.  We’re bound by a shared commitment to leave a better world for our children.  We’re bound together by a commitment to make sure that that next generation has inherited all the blessings that we inherited from the previous generation.

And that requires work on our part.  It requires sacrifice.  It requires compromise.  And it requires that we invest in that future generation; that we’re thinking not just about taking care of our own kids — because I know Malia and Sasha will be fine — but I want to make sure Kelsey is fine.  I want to make sure every one of these young people are fine.  I want to make sure that some kid stuck in the inner city somewhere, that they’ve got a shot.  I can’t do it for them, but I want to make sure at least that they’ve got a shot.  I want to make sure that somebody down in some little border town in Texas, whose parents maybe never went to college, that they’ve got a dream and they’ve got a shot.

And I’m willing to do something about that.  And we all have to be.  When we make those commitments to all of our children, the great thing about it is the blessings are returned back to us — because you end up having a workforce that is better educated, which means suddenly companies want to locate, which means businesses start booming, which means businesses start hiring, which means everybody does better.

So not only is it the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.  That’s our tradition.  It’s not Democratic or Republican; it is the American tradition.  And we forget that sometimes because we’re so caught up in our day-to-day politics, and we listen to a bunch of hooey on TV or talk radio — (laughter) — that doesn’t really tell the truth about what’s going on.  (Applause.)

So I’m proud of Kelsey.  I’m proud of these young people.  I’m proud of Choctaw Nation.  And I surely am proud of these United States of America.  Let’s get to work and make sure we’re leaving the kind of country we want for our kids.

God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

6:37 P.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency March 1, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address: Investing in Technology and Infrastructure to Create Jobs



Weekly Address: Investing in Technology and Infrastructure to Create Jobs

Source: WH, 3-1-14

WASHINGTON, DC — In his weekly address, President Obama said he took action this week to launch new manufacturing hubs and expand a competition to fund transformative infrastructure projects.  Both are policies aimed at expanding economic opportunity for all by creating jobs and ensuring the long-term strength of the American economy.  Congress can boost this effort by passing a bipartisan proposal to create a nationwide network of high-tech manufacturing hubs and taking steps to invest in our nation’s infrastructure — rebuilding our transportation system, creating new construction jobs, and better connecting Americans to economic opportunities.

Transcript | mp4 | mp3

Video Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
March 1, 2014

Hi everybody.  In my State of the Union Address, I said that the best measure of opportunity is access to a good job.  And after the worst recession of our lifetimes, our businesses have created eight and a half million new jobs in the last four years.

But we need to do more to make America a magnet for good jobs for the future.  And in this year of action, where Congress won’t do that, I will do whatever I can to expand opportunity for more Americans.  This week, I took two actions to attract new jobs to America – jobs in American manufacturing, and jobs rebuilding America’s infrastructure.

Here’s why this is important.  In the 2000s alone, we lost more than one-third of all American manufacturing jobs.  One in three.  And when the housing bubble burst, workers in the construction industry were hit harder than just about anybody.  The good news is, today, our manufacturers have added more than 620,000 jobs over the last four years – the first sustained growth in manufacturing jobs since the 1990s.

Still, the economy has changed.  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 technologies and techniques.  And in today’s global economy, first-class jobs gravitate to first-class infrastructure.

That’s why, on Tuesday, I launched two new high-tech manufacturing hubs – places where businesses and universities will partner to turn groundbreaking research into real-world goods Made in America.  So far, we’ve launched four of these hubs, where our workers can master 3-D printing, energy-efficient electronics, lightweight metals, and digital manufacturing – all technologies that can help ensure a steady stream of good jobs well into the 21st century.

Then on Wednesday, I launched a new competition to build 21st century infrastructure – roads and bridges, mass transit, more efficient ports, and faster passenger rail.  Rebuilding America won’t just attract new businesses; it will create good construction jobs that can’t be shipped overseas.

Of course, Congress could make an even bigger difference in both areas.  Thanks to the leadership of a bipartisan group of lawmakers, there’s a bill in Congress right now that would create an entire network of high-tech manufacturing hubs all across the country.  And next week, I’ll send Congress a budget that will rebuild our transportation systems and support millions of jobs nationwide.

There’s a lot we can do if we work together.  And while Congress decides what it’s going to do, I’m going to keep doing everything in my power to rebuild an economy where everyone who works hard has the chance to get ahead – where we’re restoring our founding vision of opportunity for all.

Thanks, everybody, and have a great weekend.

Full Text Obama Presidency February 25, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Speech Announcing Manufacturing Innovation Institutes



Manufacturing Innovation Institutes: Putting America at the Forefront of 21st Century Manufacturing

Source: WH, 2-25-14

President Barack Obama delivers remarks announcing two new public-private Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, and launches the first of four new Manufacturing Innovation Institute CompetitionsPresident Barack Obama delivers remarks announcing two new public-private Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, and launches the first of four new Manufacturing Innovation Institute Competitions, in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Today President Obama announced two new public-private manufacturing innovation institutes – one in Chicago and one in the Detroit area — as well as a competition for the first of four additional institutes that will will boost advanced manufacturing in the United States and attract the types of high-quality jobs that a growing middle class requires….READ MORE

Remarks by the President on Manufacturing Innovation Institutes

Source: WH,  2-25-17

Watch the Video

President Obama Speaks on Manufacturing Innovation
February 25, 2014 8:08 PM

President Obama Speaks on Manufacturing Innovation

East Room

3:19 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  Everybody, please have a seat.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  Hey!  Thank you.  (Applause.)

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 else, the lead we’ve got in terms of design and research and development, we’ll lose that too.  That will start locating overseas.  And we will have lost what is the single most important thing about American economy, and that is innovation.

So that’s what all these hubs are about.  They’re partnerships that bring together companies and universities to develop cutting-edge technology, train workers to use that technology, and then make sure that the research is translated into real-world products made by American workers.

So the first hub, in Michigan, is going to focus on developing advanced lightweight materials.  Detroit has already helping lead the American comeback in manufacturing.  Since we stepped in to help our automakers retool, the American auto industry has created almost 425,000 new jobs.  And they’ve already begun using new high-strength steel to make lighter cars that use less gas, save money, help save the planet, cars are still safe — because of these new metals.

And that’s just one example of the incredible things these new metals can do.  You’re seeing the same thing when it comes to lighter armored vehicles for our troops; planes and helicopters that can carry bigger payloads.  If you look at some of the new planes that Boeing is manufacturing, they look lighter; even though they have the same capacity, they use less fuel.  Wind turbines that generate more power at less cost.  Prosthetic limbs that help people walk again who never thought they could.  So we believe there’s going to be an incredible demand for these metals, both from the military and from the private sector, and we want to make sure they’re made right here in America.  We want our workers to have those jobs.  So that’s what our first hub is going to do — focus on making these cool metals.

Second hub — based in Chicago, but keep in mind this is a consortium of more than 40 companies, 23 universities, labs like Northwestern and the University of Illinois, and nearly 200 small businesses.  A number of other states are participating in this consortium.  It’s funded by a $70-million award led by the Defense Department, but the state and its businesses raised $250 million in private funding commitments to help win this bid and make it happen.

So this Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation [Institute] is going to be headquartered not far from downtown Chicago, on Goose Island, where there’s also a very superior beer in case you are — (laughter and applause) — I’m just letting you know.  (Laughter.)  A little hometown plug there.  Feel free to use that, Goose Island.  (Laughter.)  And it’s going to focus on using digital technology and data management to help manufacturers turn their ideas into real-world products faster and cheaper than before.  And it will include training to help more Americans earn the skills to do these digital manufacturing jobs.

And this is critical:  The country that gets new products to market faster and at less cost, they’ll win the race for the good jobs of tomorrow.  And if you look at what’s happening in manufacturing, a lot of it is much more specific.  Companies want to keep their inventories low.  They want to respond to consumer demand faster.  And what that means is, is that manufacturers who can adapt, retool, get something out, change for a particular spec of a particular customer, they’re going to win the competition every time.

And we want that country that is specialized in this to be us, the United States of America.  We want suppliers to be able to collaborate with customers in real-time, test their parts digitally, cut down on the time and money that they spend producing expensive prototypes.  We want our manufacturers to be able to custom-design products tailored to each individual consumer.  We want our troops to be able to download digital blueprints they can use to 3-D print new parts and repair equipment right there in the field.  And these are all ambitious goals, but this is America — that’s what we do, we’re ambitious.  We don’t make small planes.

Now, that doesn’t mean we’re going to be able to make all these happen overnight.  This stuff takes time.  And we also know these manufacturing hubs have the potential to fundamentally change the way we build things in America.  So 10 years from now, 20 years from now, imagine our workers manufacturing materials that used to be science fiction — a sheet of metal that’s thinner than paper but is strong as steel.  Or our workers being able to design a product using these materials entirely on a computer, they bring it to market, less money, hire folks to build it right here, sell it all over the world.  That’s what the next generation of American manufacturing could look like.

But to get there, we can’t stop at just four of these hubs.  I’m really excited about these four hubs; the only problem is Germany has 60 of them.  Germany has 60 of them.  Part of the reason Germany has been able to take the lead in certain manufacturing areas is because they’ve invested in these hubs and then they invest in the training of the workers for these very precise machines and tools, and that means that that cuts into our market share when it comes to manufacturing around the world.

So we can’t let Germany have 60 and us have four.  We’ve got to do better.  So I’m hoping that we can get these outstanding members of Congress to push this through so I can sign a bill.  But without waiting for Congress, we can launch four new manufacturing hubs this year.  That’s our intention.  My Department of Energy is announcing the competition for the first of these new hubs today.  So to businesses and universities or civic leaders who are watching, start forming those partnerships now.  Turn your community into a global center for creating high-tech jobs.

We can’t turn the clock back to earlier, easier times when thousands of Americans would just punch in at a single factory and pound out the products for the industrial age.  But thanks in part to our investment and most importantly to the collaboration of some of these outstanding institutions and leaders, factories that once went dark are turning their lights on again.  More assembly lines are churning out the cars that the world wants to buy, humming with components of the clean energy age.  If we stay focused on winning this race, we will make sure the next revolution in manufacturing is an American revolution.  (Applause.)  And we’ll make sure that opportunity for all is something that’s made in the USA.

Thanks very much, everybody.  Congratulations.  Good job.  Keep it up.  (Applause.)

3:40 P.M. EST

Political Headlines May 9, 2013: President Barack Obama Finishes Trip Highlighting Innovation & Technology Industry “Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tours” in Austin, Texas





Obama Finishes Trip Highlighting Innovation & Technology Industry in Austin

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-9-13


President Obama rounded out his tour of Austin, Texas, by speaking at Applied Materials, a company that provides equipment, services and software to the semiconductor, flat panel display and solar industries, as he highlighted the innovation occurring in the Austin area.

“If you watch the news sometimes you may think that it’s just doom and gloom out there, but the truth is there’s incredible stuff going on all across America and right here in Austin that I think could be good models for the rest of America to follow,” the president said….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency May 9, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech at Applied Materials on Innovation and Manufacturing During “Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tours” in Austin, Texas



Remarks by the President at Applied Materials, Inc. – Austin, TX

Source: WH, 5-9-13

Austin, Texas

4:57 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Austin!  How you doing?  (Applause.) Well, it is wonderful to see all of you here today.  First of all, give Nicole an outstanding round of applause for the great job that she did.  (Applause.)

It is wonderful to be here at Applied Materials.  I want to thank Mike and everybody who helped out hosting us and a wonderful tour of the facility.  It was incredible.  Rick was showing me some of your “clean rooms” where you are building the equipment that makes the chips that is basically powering everything that you guys are taking pictures with right now.  (Laughter.)  Smartphones, computers, iPads, laptops.  And it is just remarkable to see.  Every time I walk through these kinds of facilities I’m thinking, this is just magic.  I don’t know how they do it.

Somebody was explaining to me that — I guess one of the wafers was being cleaned, and he said, this would be the equivalent — it was Alex who told me this — Alex is around here somewhere — the equivalent of if you were mowing the South Lawn but every blade of grass was exactly cut at the same height within a single human hair.  That’s how precise things are.  That sounds pretty precise to me.  And if that’s, by the way, the precision that you operate on, if that’s how you define a clean room, then Sasha and Malia are going to have to step up their game at home.  (Laughter.)  Because it is not that clean.  (Laughter.)

I want to thank your Mayor, Lee Leffingwell, who’s doing a great job.  (Applause.)  Lee is doing outstanding work every day and helping to bring the Austin community together.  Congressman Lloyd Doggett is here.  (Applause.)  They’ve been great hosts.  We actually have a special guest — the Mayor of San Antonio in the house — my friend, Julian Castro is here.  (Applause.)

Now, I’ve spent the day in Austin talking with folks about what we can do to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth — a thriving, rising middle class and a dynamic, cutting-edge economy.  That’s our priority.  That should be Washington’s top priority.  (Applause.)  And I see three things that we need to focus on to do it.

Number one, we’ve got to make America a magnet for good jobs.  Number two, we’ve got to help people earn the skills they need to do those jobs.  Number three, we’ve got to make sure people’s hard work is rewarded so that they can make a decent living doing those jobs.

And if you watch the news, sometimes you may think that there’s just doom and gloom out there.  But the truth is there’s incredible stuff going on all across America and right here in Austin that I think can be good models for the rest of America to follow.

This morning I visited Manor New Tech High School, where students are learning high-tech skills that companies like Applied are looking for right now.  They are getting excited, working with math and science and technology and engineering.  And it’s a hands-on high school where subjects are integrated, and kids are building things and conducting experiments at very early ages.  And it’s sparking their imagination in ways that may lead them to start up the next Applied, or come here and work at Applied.

And then I joined a few local families for lunch to talk about how we can make sure that hard work pays off with wages you can live on and raise a family, with health care that you can count on, and the chance to put away some money for retirement.  And we also had good barbeque — (laughter) — which is necessary for economic growth.  (Laughter.)  Some good barbeque once in a while.  And then I came to Applied Materials to talk about what we can do to make America a magnet for new jobs in manufacturing.

After shedding jobs for a decade, our manufacturers have added now about 500,000 new manufacturing jobs over the past three years.  (Applause.)  That’s good news.  Caterpillar is bringing jobs back from Japan, and Ford is bringing jobs back from Mexico.  And after placing plants in other countries like China, Intel is opening its most advanced plant right here at home.  This year, Apple started making Macs in America again.  (Applause.)

So there are some good trend lines there, but we’ve got to do everything we can to strengthen that trend.  We’ve got to do everything we can to help the kind of high-tech manufacturing that you’re doing right here at Applied.  And we want to make sure it takes root here in Austin and all across the country.  And that means, first of all, creating more centers of high-tech manufacturing.

Last year, we launched our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio, to develop new technologies and equip workers with the skills required to master 3-D printing techniques.  And in my State of the Union address, I called on Congress to set up 15 more of these manufacturing hubs all across America, and I said that my administration was going to go ahead and move forward with three new hubs on our own, even without congressional action.

Well, today, we’re launching a competition for those hubs.  We are looking for businesses and universities that are willing to partner together to help their region — help turn their region into global centers of high-tech jobs.  Because we want the next revolution in manufacturing to be “Made in America.”  (Applause.)  We’re going to do that.

The truth is, over the past couple decades, too many communities have been hit hard when plants closed down and jobs dried up.  The economy obviously is changing all the time.  Nobody knows that better than folks here at Applied.  I was talking to somebody who’s — after showing me the wafer and some chips, and then they showed me a smartphone, they pointed to the smartphone and they said, 40 years ago, there’d be about $3 billion just trying to get this much computing power in this little thing, except it would fill up a whole room.

And so the economy is dynamic.  Technology is constantly changing.  That means we’ve got to adapt as well.  And even as we’re working to reverse the trend of communities that have been hard hit with old manufacturing leaving, we’ve got to propose partnerships with local leaders in manufacturing communities to help attract new investment in the infrastructure and the research that will attract new jobs and new businesses, so that communities that have been knocked down can get back up and get back on their feet.

And we should help our workers get the training they need to compete for the industries of tomorrow.  No job in America should go unfilled just because we don’t have anybody with the right skills.  (Applause.)  And that’s a priority.  Now, some of your colleagues that I met, some of them have advanced degrees.  Some of them came to apply basically right out of high school.  But all of you, whether it was, in some cases, through a university education, in some cases the military, in some cases just on-the-job training — all of you have specialized skills that are exactly what we need to continue to grow our economy.  But we’ve got a whole bunch of folks out there who don’t have those skills, either because the education system failed them or because their skills have been rendered obsolete.

And that’s why I want to rethink how our high school kids are prepared.  I want to make sure that we’re training two million Americans at our community colleges for skills that will lead directly to a job.  (Applause.)  And that’s also why we’ve got to make sure that college is affordable and people aren’t burdened by a mountain of debt so that they can continue to upgrade their skills as well.

Now, if we want to manufacture the best products, we’ve also got to invest in and cultivate the best ideas.  Innovation, ingenuity — that’s the constant of the American economy.  That’s one of the constants of our character.  It’s what keeps America on the cutting-edge.

And just before I came here, I visited the Capital Factory, which, as some of you know, is a place that helps start-ups take off.  And everywhere you turn, somebody has got a new idea.  They’re all thinking big.  They’re taking risks.  It’s exciting.

There was a young woman who is in a wheelchair and physically disabled but is just incredibly inspired to make sure that she’s not in any way confined by that situation.  And she’s basically designed and is now manufacturing a car that people in wheelchairs can just drive their wheelchair right into the car and start driving.

And then you had a young man who had a 3-D camera — it was about this big — and basically from filming either a static image or in the round, can basically download that immediately and create a 3-D image, and then use that for 3-D manufacturing  — 3-D printing and manufacturing.  And what currently costs about $80,000 costs about $3,000 — the technology that he’s developed.  So they’re doing amazing stuff.

And one of the things we’re doing to fuel more inventiveness like this, to fuel more private sector innovation and discovery, is to make the vast amounts of America’s data open and easy to access for the first time in history.  So talented entrepreneurs are doing some pretty amazing things with data that’s already being collected by government.

So over at the Capital Factory, I met with folks behind the start-up called StormPulse, which uses government data on weather to help businesses anticipate disruptions in service.  And then you’ve got a Virginia company called OPower that’s used government data on trends in energy use to save its customers $200 million on their energy bills.  There’s an app called iTriage, founded by a pair of ER doctors that uses data from the Department of Health and Human Services to help users understand medical symptoms and find local doctors and health care providers.

And today I’m announcing that we’re making even more government data available, and we’re making it easier for people to find and to use.  And that’s going to help launch more start-ups.  It’s going to help launch more businesses.  Some of them undoubtedly will be using this data powered by chips that essentially started right here at Applied Materials.  (Applause.)

It’s going to help more entrepreneurs come up with products and services that we haven’t even imagined yet.

This kind of innovation and ingenuity has the potential to transform the way we do almost everything.  One-third of jobs in Austin are now supported by the tech sector.  And we should do all we can to encourage this kind of innovation economy all across America, in ways that produce new jobs and new opportunities for the middle class.

And we’re poised for a time of progress — if we’re willing to seize it.  Not even five years after the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes, our jobs market, our housing market are steadily healing.  Our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in decades.  The American auto industry has made a comeback.  It’s thriving.  American energy is booming.  But we’ve got to keep moving forward, and we’ve got to make sure that Washington is not administering self-inflicted wounds when we’re making progress.

So Mike and I were talking about the fact that if we can reform our tax system to eliminate some of these loopholes potentially we could lower some rates.  That would make our businesses more competitive.

Basic research, you’ll hear people talk about how government is not going to do anything for us.  Well, we all understand that the private sector powers and drives our economy.  On the other hand, most of the private sector right now has a lot of trouble financing basic research.  And that basic research is the foundation for everything that’s done at this company, and everything that’s done for most of your customers.  And we can’t afford to fall behind when it comes to basic research.  So there’s some key things that we can do that shouldn’t be ideological.  They’re not Democratic ideas or Republican ideas or independent ideas.  They’re just good ideas that allow the government to help create the foundation, the platform, the environment in which companies like Applied Materials can thrive. And that’s what we’ve got to constantly champion.

And when you’re talking to your members of Congress or you’re talking to elected officials, you’ve got to remind them we don’t want government to do everything for us, but it’s got a role to play on infrastructure, basic research — making sure that we’ve got a tax system that’s fair, making sure that we’ve got some basic stability in our budget so people aren’t always guessing what’s going to happen around the corner.

Think about how this company was built.  Back in 1967, when Applied Materials was just getting off the ground, there were five employees.  They worked out of this small industrial unit in California.  And I suppose they had a “clean room” in there, but I don’t know what it looked like.  (Laughter.)  But what they lacked in size, they made up with ingenuity and imagination and risk-taking.  And over the years, as you grew to become a leader in high-tech manufacturing, that ingenuity never faltered.  Whether you’ve been with this company for decades — as I know some of you have — or just for a year, you’re all focused on the future.  Every day you’re pushing the limits of technology a little bit further.

And you’re not alone, because somewhere over at the Capital Factory, there’s an entrepreneur mapping out a new product on a whiteboard that may be the next big thing.  Somewhere over at Manor New Tech High School, there’s a kid scribbling down an idea for a new invention that one day may turn into an entirely new industry.  That’s America.

And when you look out across this room, what you also notice is there’s talent drawn from every segment of our society.  We don’t care what you look like, where you come from, what your last name is.  We just want to make sure we’re all working together to create a better future for our kids.

That’s America. We innovate.  We adapt.  We move forward.  That’s what Austin is all about.  That’s what’s going on in this city.  (Applause.)  And that’s what I want to keep on promoting as your President of the United States of America.

Thank you, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless America.

END                 5:15 P.M. CDT

Full Text Obama Presidency May 9, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech at Manor New Technology High School on “Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tour” in Austin, Texas



Remarks by the President at Manor New Technology High School

Source: WH, 5-9-13 

Austin, Texas

1:38 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Texas!  (Applause.)  Howdy, Manor.  (Applause.)  Go Titans!  (Applause.)  I hear that there’s a rule that anyone who gives a presentation in front of the class has to dress up, so I made sure to wear a tie.  (Laughter.)  I didn’t want to lose points.

I want to thank Tevyn for the very generous introduction.  Give Tevyn a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  I want to thank Principal Zipkes for his great work.  (Applause.)  I want to thank Dylan and Jahman for showing me around.  Great job.  (Applause.)

We’ve got a number of other luminaries here today.  First of all, we’ve got Acting Secretaries of Commerce and Labor, Becky Blank and Seth Harris.  There they are right there.  (Applause.)  Becky is going to be leaving us to become the president of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  So if you all are interested in cold weather, you can apply.  (Laughter.)  You’ve got the hook-up right here.  And she’s going to do a great job.

We’ve got Congressman Lloyd Doggett, who’s here.  (Applause.)  We’ve got Mayor Jeff Turner, who’s here.  (Applause.)  And it is Teacher Appreciation Week.  (Applause.)  So all the teachers, raise your hands.  Everybody give them a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  We appreciate you.  Teachers work hard every single day, and they don’t do it for the money.  They do it because of the love of learning and love of their students.  And so we could not be prouder of them, and we are grateful to all of them.  And I want to thank all of you for a Texas-sized welcome.

Now, those of you who have seats, feel free to sit down.   Those of you who don’t, you’re out of luck.  (Laughter.)  You got to keep standing.

So this is the first stop that I’m making on a tour of the Austin area today.  And I chose Austin partly because I just love Austin — (applause) — but also because there are some terrific things going on in this area, in communities like Manor.  And there are terrific things going on in communities all across the country that are good models for all of America to follow.

You might not know this — because if you listen to all the doom and gloom in Washington, in politics, and you’re watching cable TV sometimes, you might get kind of thinking nothing is going right.  But the truth is there’s a lot of reasons for us to feel optimistic about where we’re headed as a country, especially after all the tough times that we’ve been through over the last several years.  And that should encourage us to roll up our sleeves and work even harder and work together to take on the challenges that are still holding back parts of our economy.

In a little over three years, our businesses have now created more than 6.5 million new jobs.  And while our unemployment rate is still too high, it’s actually the lowest that it’s been since 2008.  But that’s not good enough.  Now we’ve got to create even more good, middle-class jobs, and we’ve got to do it faster so that by the time you guys graduate from college the job market is strong.

Corporate profits have skyrocketed to all-time highs.  But that’s not good enough.  We’ve got to make sure that middle-class wages and incomes are also going up, because most families haven’t seen their take-home pay rise for years now.  Our housing market is healing, but that’s not good enough.  We still need to help a lot more families stay in their homes, or refinance to take advantage of historically low interest rates.

Our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in years.  But now we’ve got to budget in a smarter way so it doesn’t hurt middle-class families or prevent us from making the critical investments that we need for your future.

So a lot of sectors of our economy are doing better.  The American auto industry is thriving.  American energy is booming.  American ingenuity and our tech sector continues to be the best in the world and has the potential to change almost everything that we do.  And thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, we’ve cleared away the rubble of the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes.

So we’re poised for progress.  All across America, Americans are working harder and they’re living up to their responsibilities, both to themselves and to one another and to their communities — every single day.  Part of our challenge, though, is you’ve got to try to see the same kind of seriousness of purpose in your leaders.  From Washington to Wall Street, all of us have to commit ourselves to doing better than we’re doing now.

And all of us have to rally around the single-greatest challenge that we face as a country right now, and that’s reigniting the true engine of economic growth, a rising, thriving middle class, where if you work hard — no matter what you look like, where you come from — you can succeed.  (Applause.)  That’s what we’re fighting for.

Now, there are three things that we’ve got to focus on to create more jobs and opportunity for the middle class.  First of all, we’ve got to make America a magnet for good jobs.  Second, we’ve got to help people earn the education and develop the skills they need to do those jobs.  And number three, we’ve got to make sure that people who are working hard are able to achieve a decent living.  (Applause.)  All right?  That’s what we’ve got to focus on.

And I’ve sent Congress proposals on a whole range of ideas that will help in these three areas:  creating jobs, helping families stay in their homes, lifting wages, helping more young people get a good education and afford college.  But some of them have been blocked in Congress for, frankly, political reasons.  And I’m going to keep on trying.  I’m an optimistic guy, so I’m just going to keep on talking to members of Congress, because I believe that America does best when we work together.  (Applause.)  I believe that.

Every once in a while I’m going to need your help to lean on your elected representatives and say, hey, let’s do something about this; even if don’t like it politically, if it’s a good idea, let’s go ahead and support it.  So sometimes I’m going to need constituents to pressure their members of Congress to do the right thing.

But where I can, I’m just going to go ahead and take action on my own, including some executive actions that I’m taking today that I’m convinced will spur innovation and help businesses create more jobs.  Because we know what’s possible when Americans — whether they’re Republicans or Democrats or independents — are working together, and when parents and teachers and business owners and local leaders come together.

And that’s what we’re seeing here in Austin.  We’re seeing people working together — not because of politics, not because of some selfish reason, but because folks here understand that when we’re all working together everybody does better, everybody succeeds.  (Applause.)

So over the last three years in the Austin area, businesses have created 85,000 new jobs.  And companies like Apple and Visa are getting ready to open new offices.  General Motors is already hiring at its new innovation center.  According to one report, the tech sector now drives more than one-quarter of Austin’s economy.  And all of this has helped to make Austin one of the fastest-growing cities in America.  (Applause.)

So folks around here are doing something right, and I think the rest of the country can learn from what you’re doing — because I’ve always believed that the best ideas usually don’t start in Washington, they trickle up to Washington.  So I’ve come to listen and learn and highlight some of the good work that’s being done.

This afternoon, I’m going to go visit a local factory where workers are building the equipment that makes cutting-edge microchips — all those smartphones and iPads that you guys are using, a lot of this stuff is made there.  I’m going to have lunch with some local families to talk about what they’re facing, the challenges that they’re facing, and figure out how we can make sure that people’s hard work pays off.

But as you can see, my first stop was Manor New Tech.  (Applause.)  That’s my first stop.  (Applause.)  And the reason is because our economy can’t succeed unless our young people have the skills that they need to succeed.  And that’s what’s happening here, right at Manor New Tech.  There’s a reason why teachers and principals from all over the country are coming down to see what you’re up to.  Because every day, this school is proving that every child has the potential to learn the real-world skills they need to succeed in college and beyond.  (Applause.)

And you all are doing it together.  At Manor, a history teacher might get together with a math teacher and develop a project about the impact of castles on world history and the engineering behind building castles.  Or a group of students might be in charge of putting together a multimedia presentation about the moral dilemmas in literature as applied to World War II.  Internships help students get even more hands-on experience.  And while most high school students in America give a handful of speeches by the time they graduate, a student at this school might give as many as 200.  That’s a lot of speeches.  (Applause.)  I can relate.  (Laughter.)

And I just had a chance to see some of the incredible work that some of the young people here are doing — folks who used mathematical equations to build musical instruments, and tests on bungee jumping with rubber bands and weights, and robots that were being built, all kinds of great stuff.  And you’re doing things a little differently around here than a lot of high schools, and it’s working.  (Applause.)  It’s working.

And, by the way, the majority of students at Manor don’t come from wealth or privilege.  Some folks here might have come from some pretty tough backgrounds.  And yet, the vast majority of students here stay in school, they graduate.  Your test scores in most subjects have been higher than the state average.  Almost every member of the recent graduating class went on to college, and about 60 percent of them were the first in their families to do so.  (Applause.)  You should be proud of that.  (Applause.)

And you can see it when I was talking to some of your classmates on the projects they were working on.  There were a couple of your classmates who were studying how earthworms regenerate when they’re injured.  I saw solar cars.  Your championship regional “TEXplosion” robotics team — (applause) — competed in the world championships a couple of weeks ago.  And this program has only been around for five years.

So this is an impressive group.  And the teachers here you can tell are passionate about what they do and couldn’t be more impressive, although some of them look like they were in high school.  (Laughter.)  There were a couple of them I met, I said, are you sure you’re a teacher?  (Laughter.)  No, not you.  You look like you’re — (laughter) — I’m teasing.  You really are a student.  I know.  (Laughter.)

But it’s important to remember that, every year, schools like Manor New Tech hold blind lotteries to determine who gets in, because there just aren’t enough spots for all the students who want to go to a school like this one.  There are too many kids in America who are not getting the same kinds of opportunities through no fault of their own.  And we can do better than that.  We can do better than that.  (Applause.)

Every young person in America deserves a world-class education.  We’ve got an obligation to give it to them.  And, by the way, that helps the whole economy.  Every business in America we want to draw from the world’s highest-skilled and most educated workforce.  We can make that happen.  But we’re going to have to put our shoulder against the wheel and work a little harder than we’re doing right now as a nation.

So, number one, we’ve got to start educating our kids at the earliest possible age.  And that means giving every child in America access to high-quality, public preschool — something that I’m pushing for.  (Applause.)

Every dollar that we put into early childhood education can save $7 down the road because it boosts graduation rates, reduces things like teen pregnancy and violent crime, helps young people succeed not just in high school but beyond.  So let’s make that happen.  Let’s make every child’s early success a recipe for long-term success.  We can do that.

We’ve also got to make sure that we help more students at more schools get the kinds of skills they’re getting here at Manor Tech to compete in a high-tech economy.  (Applause.)  So that’s why we’re working to recruit and train 100,000 new teachers in science and technology, engineering and math; helping our most talented teachers serve as mentors for their colleagues so that they can help to push the great stuff that’s going on here out to other schools throughout the state and throughout the country.

We’ve also got to start rethinking and redesigning America’s high schools.  That’s part of what’s happening here is there’s innovation going on that equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy.  There’s a lot of hands-on learning here.  People aren’t just sitting at a desk reading all the time.  Reading is important.  I’m a big reader.  But part of what makes this place special is, is that there’s all this integration of various subjects and actual projects, and young people doing and not just sitting there listening, so we’ve got to reward schools like this one that focus on the fields of the future — (applause) — schools that focus on the fields of the future, use technology effectively to help students learn, and are also developing partnerships with local colleges and businesses so that a diploma here leads directly to a good job.

And finally, we know that even with better high schools, if you want a good job and work your way into the middle class, most young people are going to need some higher education.  Unfortunately, in recent years, college costs have skyrocketed and that’s left too many students and their families saddled with a mountain of debt.  So we’ve worked to make college more affordable for millions of students already and families through tax credits, grants; more access to student loans that go farther than before.  We’ve reformed the student loan process by putting students ahead of big banks, providing options to make it easier for young people to repay these loans.

But even if we do all that, if the price of higher education keeps going up, then eventually there’s not going to be enough money to help young people.  So we’ve got to figure out how to reduce college costs.  And that’s why my administration has released what we’re calling a “College Scorecard” that gives parents and students the clear, concise information that you’ll need to find a school that best fits your needs but also gives you the best value.  (Applause.)  Gives you the best value.  It’s like a consumer report for colleges — because you don’t want a lemon, and you don’t want too much debt.

And going forward, colleges that don’t do enough to keep costs down I think should get less taxpayer support.  We want to support the schools that are doing a great job giving good value to students.  That’s what we want.  (Applause.)  And, young people and families, you shouldn’t have to subsidize skyrocketing costs if the colleges aren’t trying hard enough to keep costs down and provide a high-quality education.

So I could not be prouder of what’s happening here at Manor.  That’s why I wanted to come.  Last month, students in a digital media class made a YouTube video describing why this school was so special.  Some students talked about how they’re looking forward to being the first in their family to go to college.  Others talked about learning new skills, taking on more responsibility.  And one sophomore summed it up nicely when she said, “This school is a lot more than just a school.  It’s a family.  And it’s filled with people that are going to care about you and are going to help you.”

Manor, that’s what every school should be.  That’s what our country should be — (applause) — caring for each other, helping each another, being invested in each other’s success.  We’re not just a collection of individuals, we’re one American family.  And if we follow Manor’s example — if we give every child the chance to climb new ladders of opportunity; if we equip every American with the skills and education they need to succeed in the jobs of the future; if we make sure that hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded; and if we fight to keep America a place where you can make it if you try, then you’re not just going to be the ones who prosper, we’ll all prosper.  And together, we’ll write the next great chapter in America’s history.  (Applause.)

So thank you very much, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

2:00 P.M. CDT

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