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Chicago could become a leading producer of products like this Sciaky 3-D CAD model processing system, presented at an event co-hosted by the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute in January

The middle class, jobs, manufacturing to be key points in Obama's Chicago speech

by Jessica Soberman
Feb 14, 2013

The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute

-A consortium of manufacturing firms, universities, community colleges and non-profit organizations from the “Tech Belt”

-The pilot hub was established in Youngstown, Ohio, in 2012 through a selection process led by the Department of Defense with $30 million in federal funding.

-The institute focuses on expanding U.S. capabilities in additive manufacturing (3-D printing)

-Companies include Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Electric, Honeywell and IBM

-Research Universities include Carnegie Mellon University and Youngstown State University

-Community Colleges include Eastern Gateway Community College, Northampton Community College and Penn College of Technology

-Non-Profit Organizations include the Association for Manufacturing Technology, MT Connect and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers

President Barack Obama’s speech at Hyde Park Academy High School on Friday is expected to highlight proposals made in his State of the Union address to strengthen the economy for the middle class, according to a release issued from the White House.

The president made manufacturing a key element in Tuesday’s speech, when he announced the launch of three manufacturing hubs in the U.S.

“Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing. Businesses will partner with the Departments of Defense and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs,” Obama said.

He also asked Congress to help create the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. The president initially announced his plan to invest $1 billion in this network of 15 hubs in March.

A pilot hub, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, was established in Youngstown, Ohio in August and aims to increase the United States’ manufacturing competitiveness through additive manufacturing—3-D printing.

“This innovation institute was front and center in the State of the Union,” said Scott N. Paul, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. “It is clearly a priority of the administration.”

The Chicago-area is a conceivable contender for one of these three hubs, said Paul Labriola, CEO of Robinson Laser in East Chicago, Ind.

“At the end of the day everything that makes Chicago attractive to manufacturers to locate headquarters here would also make it attractive to making it one of these manufacturing centers,” said Labriola.

Last week   Gov. Pat Quinn announced in his State of the State address a partnership with the University of Illinois and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications to create an advanced manufacturing hub.

Following the president’s speech Tuesday, Quinn issued a statement on the Chicago-area’s and the state’s role in manufacturing.

“President Obama laid out an inspiring agenda that will make America a magnet for jobs and drive economic growth for the next generation,” said Quinn.

The statement continued: “Illinois stands ready to do our part. As the president called for manufacturing hubs across the nation, we are already on our way to making the Illinois Manufacturing Lab a reality.”