By Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A crowd of 150 university, business and government officials heard President Obama call for a new advanced manufacturing approach to reclaim America’s edge.

“This partnership is about new, cutting-edge ideas to create new jobs, spark new breakthroughs, reinvigorate American manufacturing today. Right now. Not somewhere off in the future. Right now,” he said.

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The President toured CMU’s National Robotics Engineering Center before announcing the new $500 million initiative.

“You’re seeing private companies co-locating inside Carnegie Mellon so that the research that is being done goes much more quickly into application,” said the President.

It’s about using advanced technologies to regain America’s manufacturing, and job creation is key.

“We have not run out of stuff to make. We’ve just got to reinvigorate our manufacturing sector so that it leads the world the way it always has, from paper and steel and cars to new products that we haven’t even dreamed up yet.”

The President outlined an academic-business-government partnership to work together to develop such processes.

“That’s how we ended up with some of the world-changing innovations that fueled our growth and prosperity and created countless jobs, the mobile phone, the Internet, GPS, more than 150 drugs and vaccines over the last 40 years.”

And he believes making things is very American.

“That’s in our blood. That’s who we are. We are inventors, and we are makers, and we are doers.”

One example of innovation the President referenced drew a laugh from his audience — diapers.

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“Those who’ve been parents are always on the lookout for indestructible, military-grade diapers,” he joked.

Proctor & Gamble worked with scientists at a national defense lab on better ways to make diapers.

“We partnered with Los Alamos to leverage some of their software tools,” said Burce Brown of Proctor & Gamble. “And we were able to use that to design our diaper manufacturing operation.”

The President also praised the development of a military vehicle designed to rescue wounded from battle.

Jay Rogersof Local Motors is a former marine. He thought of the concept of the military rescue vehicle after losing friends in Iraq.

“It is possible to rock the manufacturing world and do some amazing things using crowd-derived and small manufacturing to really make America stand on top,” he said.

President Obama said future jobs depend on Americans out-thinking the foreign competition. He called for a return to the spirit of Pittsburgh’s own Andrew Carnegie.

“Just 20 years after founding his company, not only was it the largest, most profitable in the world, America had become the No. 1 steelmaker in the world.”

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