President Barack Obama said Tuesday he was pushing forward with his “opportunity agenda,” announcing two new public-private manufacturing partnerships - one in Detroit, one in Chicago.
The announcement builds on promises made in his State of the Union address and pairs public funding with local consortia awarded grants based on applications. About a month ago, Obama made a similar announcement in North Carolina.
“This is a moment when our economy is growing,” he said during remarks at the White House, but noted Congress has failed to pass a bipartisan, pro-manufacturing bill he supports. His administration will plow ahead as a result, he said.
“Too many workers are working too hard for too little,” Obama said. “It’s our job to reverse that trend.”
Heading into midterm elections where Democrats are focusing on income inequality as a top campaign issue, Obama outlined the four components of his “opportunity agenda.” They include creating more jobs with better wages, training workers with the skills necessary to fill job openings, providing universal access to quality education and making sure that hard work pays off, he said.
The Detroit consortium will focus on lightweight, modern metals manufacturing and the Chicago group will have a focus on digital manufacturing and design - the two were awarded a combined $140 million federal grant paired with more than $140 million in non-federal monies, according to a White House release.