PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center in Lawrenceville will be the scene of President Obama’s visit to Pittsburgh on Friday.
This visit will be his fourth as President. His first was to keynote a meeting of the AFL-CIO in Pittsburgh. He then hosted the G-20 Summit here in 2009, and most recently, he was at CMU a year ago to highlight his Economic and Energy Independence Program.
The site now sets a backdrop for a new manufacturing initiative.
“This is about revitalizing manufacturing in America overall using high technology,” says Ron Bloom who serves as Special Counsel to the President on Manufacturing.
Bloom says President Obama will announce an advanced manufacturing partnership of companies, universities and government.
“What we’re trying to do is pull together a group of the nation’s leading engineering universities,” Bloom explains. “And we’re doing that, you’ll see them there tomorrow, a group of the nation’s leading manufacturing companies and they’re all going to agree to work together.”
And Bloom believes Pittsburgh is a natural setting for the President to speak out for manufacturing jobs.
“He is standing up for manufacturing in a very different way than we’ve heard in this country in a long time, and that’s one of the reasons he wants to do it in Pittsburgh tomorrow,” says Bloom. “He wants to share his vision in a heartland city, in a heartland of manufacturing city about what it takes to bring manufacturing back because that’s what he wants to see happen.”
One local company involved in the initiative is Allegheny Technologies or ATI.
“We want to hear on where they think these dollars should be going, so we’re spending them in a way that’s effective,” says Bloom.
The focus is to develop and share high-tech manufacturing processes that puts America ahead of others in making the products of the 21st century, but Bloom cautions nothing will change immediately.
“The neglect of manufacturing has been going on for a long time, if we’re honest with ourselves, and this President is committed to taking steps to reverse that decline,” he clarifies. “But I want to be straight with people, and this is tough to talk about, but this is not going to fix itself overnight.”
Whether President Obama’s new initiative to create manufacturing jobs will work remains to be seen, but choosing Pittsburgh for this national manufacturing initiative has a political side. Pennsylvania has lost tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs since the 1980s and President Obama’s focus on this issue certainly won’t hurt him in a state he needs to win for re-election in 2012.