At the State of Union address yesterday, President Obama made a rather interesting speech. Aside from the addressing deficit and debit, Obama announced a number of energy and technology-related incentives that are designed to help the education sector and fund a new Energy Security Trust, pitching it as a time ”to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race.”
President Obama made a notable mention of 3D printing, starting off by saying it “has the potential to revolutionise the way we make almost everything.” This is fitting in line with the White House’s efforts to open a 3D printing lab in Youngstown, Ohio last year, something Obama announced will be coming to an additional three manufacturing hubs that will create high-tech jobs in yet to be announced regions. Obama says he will call on congress to “create a network of 15 of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is made in America.”
Some of those high-tech jobs are with the likes of Intel and Apple, with Obama pointing out that Apple will “start making Macs in America again” something that CEO Tim Cook said was $100 million investment, and Intel will be ”opening its most advanced plant right here at home.”
Obama then went on to talk about schools, more specifically he wants to propose a challenge that ”redesign[s] America’s high schools” to prepare students for high-tech jobs. The president wants to reward schools that offer ”classes that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math” [STEM] and for coming up with ways to develop “new partnerships with colleges and employers.” Whether this will go beyond what the administration’s existing STEM efforts is unclear, but what was clear is the message that technology matters.
Its going to be a challenge for President Obama to get across to congress the significance of such proposals in the long term. He will battle with familiar arguments such as funding something as vague as the Space Race without any fixed date to finish. But ultimately its cultivating a future that Tim Cook actually highlighted, the US has lost over the years.
Header and feature image credit: aoc.gov
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