President Obama Speaks on Manufacturing

President Obama Speaks on Manufacturing


The President:
Hello, Virginia! (applause) Thank you so much. Thank you, everybody. Wow, what a unbelievable crowd. Everybody, please have a
seat — if you have one. (laughter) Well, thank you, James, for that
rousing introduction and letting me hang out a little
bit with your workers. We’ve got a few other folks
I want to acknowledge: The Governor of the great
Commonwealth of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, is here. (applause) Outstanding Congressman
Bobby Scott is in the house. (applause) We’ve got your
Mayor, Brian Moore. (applause) And I want to very much say
thank you to our outstanding Secretary of Commerce,
Secretary Bryson, who was here and he is doing
great work trying to create jobs and investment and opportunity
all across the country. (applause) It is great to be
back in Petersburg. (applause) Last time I was here
was during the campaign. I had my bus pull over so I
could get a cheeseburger — (laughter) — at Longstreet’s Deli. (applause) You guys have eaten there. (laughter) Some of you may think
this violates Michelle’s Let’s Move program — (laughter) — but she gives me a pass when
it comes to a good burger — (laughter) — and fries. Now, back then, in 2008, we
were talking about how working Americans were already
having a tough go of it. Folks were working harder
and longer for less. It was getting tougher to afford
health care or to send your kids to college. The economy was already shedding
jobs, and in less than a decade, nearly one in three
manufacturing jobs had vanished. Then the bottom fell
out of the economy, and things got
that much tougher. We were losing 700,000
to 800,000 jobs a month. The economy was hemorrhaging. And three and a
half years later, we’re still recovering from
the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes. And we’ve got a lot of work to
do before everybody who wants a good job can find one, before
middle-class folks regain that sense of security that had been
slipping away even before the recession hit, and before towns
like Petersburg get fully back on their feet. But here’s the good news:
Over the past two years, our businesses have added
nearly 4 million new jobs. (applause) We just found out that last
month in February we added 233,000 private sector jobs. (applause) More companies are bringing jobs
back and investing in America. And manufacturing is adding
jobs for the first time since the 1990s. (applause) We just had another good month
last month in terms of adding manufacturing jobs. And this facility is part of the
evidence of what’s going on all across the country. This company is about to hire
more than 200 new workers — 140 of them right here
in Petersburg, Virginia. (applause) So the economy is
getting stronger. And when I come to
places like this, and I see the work
that’s being done, it gives me confidence
there are better days ahead. I know it because I would bet on
American workers and American know-how any day of the week. (applause) The key now — our job now
is to keep this economic engine churning. We can’t go back to the
same policies that got us into this mess. We can’t go back to an economy
that was weakened by outsourcing and bad debt and phony
financial profits. We’ve got to have an economy
that’s built to last. And that starts with
American manufacturing. It starts with you. (applause) For generations of Americans,
manufacturing has been the ticket into the middle class. Every day, millions clocked in
at foundries and on assembly lines, making things. And the stuff we made — steel
and cars and jet engines — that was the stuff that
made America what it is. It was understood
around the world. The work was hard, but
the jobs were good. They paid enough to own a home,
and raise kids and send them to college, gave you enough
to retire on with dignity and respect. They were jobs that told us
something more important than how much we were worth; they
told us what we were worth. They told us that we
were building more than just products. They told us we were building
communities and neighborhoods, we were building a country. It gave people pride about
what America was about. And that’s why one of the first
decisions I made as President was to stand by manufacturing,
to stand by the American auto industry when it was on
the brink of collapse. (applause) The heartbeat of American
manufacturing was at stake — and so were more
than a million jobs. And today, the American auto
industry is coming back, and GM is number one
in the world again, and Ford is investing
billions in American plants and factories. (applause) And together, over the
past two and a half years, the entire auto industry has
added more than 200,000 jobs. And here’s the thing. They’re not just
building cars again, they’re building better cars. For the first time
in three decades, we raised fuel standards
in this country, so that by the middle of the
next decade the cars that are built in America will average
nearly 55 miles to the gallon. (applause) That will save the typical family about $8,000 at the pump over time. That’s real savings. That’s real money. And it shows that depending on
foreign oil doesn’t have to be our future. It shows that when we
harness our own ingenuity, our technology, then
we control our future. See, America thrives when we
build things better than the rest of the world. I want us to make stuff
here and sell it over there. (applause) I don’t want stuff made over
there and selling it over here. (applause) And that’s exactly what you’re
doing here at the largest Rolls-Royce facility
in the world. That’s what you’re doing by
building the key components of newer, faster, more
fuel-efficient jet engines. I just took a tour and I learned
a bit about how a jet engine comes together. Don’t quiz me on it. (laughter) I’m a little fuzzy on
some of the details. (laughter) I did press some
buttons back there. (laughter) But a few weeks ago, I actually
got to see the finished product. I went to Boeing,
in Washington State, and I checked out
a new Dreamliner. I even got to sit in the
cockpit, which was pretty sweet. I didn’t press any
buttons there, though — (laughter) — because if it had started
going it would have been a problem. So this plane, the Dreamliner,
is going to keep America at the cutting edge of
aerospace technology. American workers are
manufacturing various components for it in Ohio, and Oklahoma,
and South Carolina, and Kansas, and right here in Petersburg. In fact, the demand for their
planes was so high last year that Boeing had to hire 13,000
workers all across America just to keep up. And Boeing is gaining more
and more share all the time. So think about that. Rolls-Royce is choosing
to invest in America. You’re creating jobs here,
manufacturing components for jet engines, for planes that
we’re going to send all around the world. And that’s the kind of
business cycle we want to see. Not buying stuff that’s made
someplace else and racking up debt, but by inventing things
and building things and selling them all around the world
stamped with three proud words: “Made in America.” (applause) Made in America. (applause) Think about how
important this is. I mean, imagine if the plane
of the future was being built someplace else. Imagine if we had given
up on the auto industry. Imagine if we had settled
for a lesser future. But we didn’t. We’re Americans. We are inventors. We are builders. We’re Thomas Edison and we’re
the Wright Brothers and we are Steven Jobs. That’s who we are. That’s what we do. We invent stuff, we build it. And pretty soon, the
entire world adapts it. That’s who we are. And as long as I’m President,
we’re going to keep on doing it. We’re going to make sure the
next generation of life-changing products are invented and
manufactured here in the United States of America. (applause) So that’s why we launched an
all-hands-on-deck effort. We brought together the
brightest academic minds, the boldest business leaders,
the most dedicated public servants from our science and
our technology agencies all with one big goal: a renaissance
in American manufacturing. We called it the Advanced
Manufacturing Partnership. The Advanced Manufacturing
Partnership. And today, we’re building on it. I’m laying out my plans for
a new National Network of Manufacturing Innovation — and
these are going to be institutes of manufacturing excellence
where some of our most advanced engineering schools and our
most innovative manufacturers collaborate on new ideas,
new technology, new methods, new processes. And if this sounds familiar,
that’s because what you’re about to do right here at Crosspointe. Later this summer, the
Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing will
open its doors. And it’s a partnership
between manufacturers, including this one,
UVA, Virginia Tech, Virginia State University — (applause) — VSU is a little
overrepresented here, obviously — (laughter) — the Commonwealth and
the federal government. So think of this as a place
where companies can share access to cutting-edge capabilities. At the same time, students and
workers are picking up new skills, they’re training on
state-of-the-art equipment; they’re solving some of the
most important challenges facing our manufacturers. You just got all this brain
power and skill and experience coming together in this hub, and
that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. It allows everybody to learn
from each other and figure out how we’re going to do
things even better. It’s going to help get that next
great idea from a paper or a computer to the
lab, to the factory, to the global marketplace. And that’s especially important
for the one in three Americans in manufacturing who work for
a small business that doesn’t always have access to
resources like these. Obviously, big companies
— the Boeings, the Intels, the Rolls Royces — they’ve
got the resources, the capital, to be able to create
these platforms. But some of the small to
medium-sized businesses, it’s a little bit harder. So this gives them access and
allows them to take part in this new renaissance of
American inventiveness. And we’ve got to build these
institutes all across the country — all
across the country. I don’t want it just
here at Crosspointe, I want it everywhere. To do that, we need
Congress to act. Hmm. (laughter and applause) It’s true. (laughter) But that doesn’t mean we
have to hold our breath. We’re not going to wait — we’re
going to go ahead on our own. Later this year, we’re going
to choose the winner of a competition for a pilot
institute for manufacturing innovation — help
them get started. With that pilot in place, we’ll
keep on pushing Congress to do the right thing because this is
the kind of approach that can succeed, but we’ve got to have
this all across the country. I want everybody thinking about
how are we making the best products; how are we harnessing
the new ideas and making sure they’re located here
in the United States. And sparking this network of
innovation across the country – it will create jobs and it
will keep America in the manufacturing game. Of course, there’s more we can
do to seize this moment of opportunity to create new
jobs and manufacturing here in America. We’ve got to do everything we
can to encourage more companies to make the decision to invest
in America and bring jobs back from overseas. And we’re starting to
see companies do that. They’re starting to realize
this is the place with the best workers, the best ideas,
the best universities. This is the place to be. (applause) We’ve got to give them a
little more encouragement. Right now, companies get tax
breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas. Companies that choose
to invest in America, they get hit with one of the
highest tax rates in the world. Does that make any sense? Audience:
No! The President:
It makes no sense;
everybody knows it. So it’s time to stop rewarding
businesses that ship jobs overseas; reward companies that
create good jobs right here in the United States of America. That’s how our
tax code can work. (applause) That’s how our tax
code should work. At the same time, we’ve got to
do everything we can to make sure our kids get an education
that gives them every chance to succeed. (applause) I’ve been told that last year’s
valedictorian at Petersburg High, whose name is
Kenneisha Edmonds, she had a pretty good statement. She said her cap and gown was
“the best gown that anybody can hang in their closet.” (laughter) I like that. So let’s make sure students like
Kenneisha have teachers who bring out the best in them. Let’s make sure if they
want to go to college, their families can afford
them to go to college. (applause) And let’s make sure all our
workers have the skills that companies like this
one are looking for — because we’ve got to have folks
engaged in lifelong learning. The days when you started out at
20 at one company and you just kept on doing the same
thing for 40 years — that’s not going
to happen anymore. So even if — as I was
meeting some of the folks here, they had been in the industry,
they’d been machinists, they’d been in
manufacturing for years. But they’re constantly upgrading
their skills and retraining. And some of them had been laid
off and had gone back to school before they came
to this company. And so we’ve got to make sure
those opportunities for people mid-career and onward, that they
can constantly go back to a community college and retool so
that they can make sure they’re qualified for the
jobs of tomorrow. At a time when so many
Americans are looking for work, no job opening should go
unfilled just because people didn’t have an opportunity to
get the training they needed. And that’s why I’ve
asked Congress — (applause) — I’ve asked Congress, join
me in a national commitment to train 2 million Americans with
the skills that will lead directly to a job — right now. (applause) We need to create more
partnerships like the one this plant has with John
Tyler Community College. (applause) We should give more
community colleges the resources they need. I want them to be community
career centers — places that teach people skills
that companies are looking for right now, from data management
to the kind of high-tech manufacturing that’s being
done at this facility. So day by day, we’re restoring
this economy from crisis. But we can’t stop there. We’ve got to make this
economy ready for tomorrow. Day by day, we’re creating new
jobs, but we can’t stop there — not until everybody who’s out
there pounding the pavement, sending out their résumés
has a chance to land one of those jobs. Every day we’re producing more
oil and gas than we have in years, but we can’t stop there. I want our businesses to lead
the world in clean energy, too. (applause) We’ve got the best colleges
and universities in the world, but we can’t stop there. I want to make sure more of our
students can afford to go to those colleges and universities. (applause) Everybody knows we’ve got
the best workers on Earth, but we can’t stop there. We’ve got to make sure the
middle class doesn’t just survive these times,
we want them to thrive. We want them to dream big dreams
and to feel confident about the future. I did not run for this
office just to get back to where we were. I ran for this office to get
us to where we need to be. (applause) And I promise you
we will get there. (applause) Some of these challenges
may take a year; some may take one term;
some may take a decade — but we’re going to get there. Because when we work together,
we know what we’re capable of. We’ve got the tools,
we’ve got the know-how, we’ve got the toughness
to overcome any obstacle. And when we come together and
combine our creativity and our optimism and our
willingness to work hard, and if we’re harnessing our
brainpower and our manpower, our horsepower, I promise
you we will thrive again. We will get to
where we need to go. And we will leave behind an
economy that is built to last. We will make this another
American century. Thank you. God bless you. God bless the United
States of America. (applause)

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