President Obama Announces New Energy and Tech Initiatives

In his State of the Union address Tuesday evening, President Obama proclaimed, “now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race.” Obama is pushing a variety of new energy and technology initiatives, including a network of high-tech manufacturing hubs and a new Energy Security Trust designed to redirect oil and gas revenue to fund tech research that will address our dependency on oil.

“President Obama lauded the White House’s efforts last year to create a 3D printing lab in Youngstown, Ohio, and announced the launch of three additional manufacturing hubs to bring high-tech jobs to yet-unnamed regions,” reports The Verge.

The President believes that 3D printing “has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything,” and “there’s no reason this can’t happen in other towns.”

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.” Obama says these hubs will partner with the Departments of Defense and Energy “to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs.”

During his speech, President Obama noted that some of those high-tech jobs will be at Apple and Intel, now that both are investing heavily in domestic manufacturing (Apple CEO Tim Cook was in attendance).

The President is also proposing a “new challenge to redesign America’s high schools” to better prepare our students for high-tech jobs. His plans include rewarding schools for launching “new partnerships with colleges and employers,” and for developing “classes that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math” (STEM).

“While the President’s mention of top technology issues may please his Silicon Valley supporters, he’ll ultimately have to win familiar battles in Congress, where the idea of funding something vaguely like a Space Race could face skepticism,” notes the article. “President Obama’s prior calls for tech and energy spending have been dogged by a Congressional climate of austerity, though it has made some progress in priority areas like cybersecurity.”