President Obama Takes Action to Push Manufacturing

Joe Weinlick
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President Obama has announced a plan to boost the manufacturing industry in the United States by funding new technologies and expanding apprenticeships to increase the number of skilled workers. This aim of this push is to continue the recovery of the United States manufacturing industry, which has seen strong growth in recent months.

On Oct. 27, The White House announced three executive actions that will push the manufacturing industry forward. The first executive measure is a fund of $300 million for the development of new technologies. An additional $100 million will be used to fund apprenticeship programs, which are needed to develop the skills required for advanced manufacturing. Finally, the government plans to authorize the Commerce Department to spend $150 million on helping manufacturers to adopt new technologies over the next five years.

In a statement about the new manufacturing push, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the recently announced measures represent "substantial investment" that could greatly benefit the most technologically advanced parts of the manufacturing industry.

The $300 million fund for the development of new technologies will be split between NASA, the Pentagon, and the agriculture and energy departments. Some of this money will be spent on developing advanced new materials, while another portion will go on developing smart technologies, such as sensors and digital products.

At the same time, the Labor Department will spend $100 million on apprenticeship training. One of the main challenges currently facing the manufacturing industry in the United States is the skills gap. While modern manufacturing is becoming increasingly high tech, the workforce has not kept up with the developments in manufacturing technologies. Apprenticeships can help to bridge this skills gap, creating a workforce that is ready to take on the challenges of modern manufacturing.

Apprenticeship programs have already been used in other countries, with good rates of success. In Germany, one of the world's leading manufacturing nations, roughly 55 to 70 percent of young people take part in apprenticeship programs. These programs teach young workers the hands-on skills they need to thrive in manufacturing jobs while giving companies the opportunity to screen young trainees without making the commitment of taking them on as permanent employees. Supporters of apprenticeship programs claim that they can reduce unemployment among young people, which would be a welcome development in the United States, where more than 14 percent of people aged 16 to 24 were out of work in July 2014.

The future looks bright for the United States manufacturing industry. More than 700,000 manufacturing jobs have been created since February 2010, when the recession was biting hard. Officials hope that the new executive measures can return the manufacturing industry to its former glory — it employed more than 19 million people in 1980.


Photo courtesy of Gualberto107 at



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