(WASHINGTON) — In his weekly address, President Obama talks about his efforts to grow economic opportunity and create jobs by launching new manufacturing hubs and expanding a competition to fund infrastructure projects. But he says Congress can add to the value of these efforts by passing a bipartisan proposal to create a domestic network of high-tech manufacturing hubs and invest in U.S. infrastructure.
Read the full transcript of the president’s address:
“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.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Lois M. Collins, Deseret News