President Obama Introduces Innovation Institute At N.C. State

By Ran Northam Posted January 15, 2014 at 3:34 pm

RALEIGH – Your local economy is already one of the best in the state, but President Barack Obama traveled to N.C. State University Wednesday afternoon to announce the future of American jobs.

“I’m pleased to announce America’s newest high-tech manufacturing hub, which is going to be focused on the next generation of power electronics, is going to be based right here in Raleigh, North Carolina,” President Obama said.

That announcement received a standing ovation in N.C. State’s J.W. Isenhour Tennis Center.

***Listen to President Obama’s Remarks at N.C. State***

The Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institute is the second of its kind. The first was started more than a year ago in Youngstown, Ohio and focuses on developing 3D printing technology.

President Obama said Raleigh-Durham’s innovation institute will focus on energy efficiency through this partnership of universities and businesses.

“Bringing together leading companies, universities, and federal research all together under one roof,” President Obama said. “Folks at this hub are going to develop what are called wide band gap semiconductors.”

The President likely addressed many engineers as he pointed out that he was on the campus of a university with one of the largest undergraduate engineering programs in the country.

He said the wide band gap semiconductors will revolutionize energy conservation.

“They’re special because they lose up to 90 percent less power,” President Obama said. “They can operate at higher temperatures than normal semiconductors. So that means they can make everything from cell phones to industrial motors to electric cars smaller, faster, and cheaper. There are going to (still be) applications for the traditional semiconductors, but these can be focused on certain areas that will vastly improve energy efficiency (and) vastly improve the quality of our lives.”

President Obama said this is just the start of where he wants to see the United States go with these partnerships. A year ago in his State of the Union address, he told congress he wanted to see bills passed to allow for 15 institutes in the U.S. Now he says he wants congress to approve the funding for 45.

“Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate introduced bills that would get this going,” President Obama said. “That’s good. But they haven’t passed the bills yet. So, I want to encourage them to continue to pass the bills that would create 45 of these manufacturing hubs. In the meantime, I’m directing my administration to move forward where we can on our own.”

While the Triangle has the best unemployment rate in North Carolina, the state itself if still struggling. It currently ranks 35th in the U.S. at 7.4 percent as of November.

However, President Obama says this will institute will create job opportunities and provide a major boost to the state’s economy, and he says he hopes that it will spread nationwide.

“This can be a breakthrough year for America,” President Obama said. “The pieces are all there to start bringing back more of the jobs that we’ve lost over the past decade.”

And he says he’s seeing signs of other countries sending jobs back to American and that he doesn’t want to miss the opportunity.

“A lot of companies around the world are starting to talk about bringing jobs back to the United States, brining jobs back to places like North Carolina—partly because we’ve got cheap energy costs; we’ve got the best workers in the world; we’ve got the best university systems in the world; and we’ve got the largest market in the world,” President Obama said. “So, the pieces are there to restore some of the ground that the middle class has lost in recent decades.”

President Obama kept his focus on the economy, job creation, and the new innovation institute. He did not mention Democratic Senator Kay Hagan during his time at N.C. State. She’s running for re-election this year and has distanced herself from the President in recent months.

***Correction: President Obama mentioned Senator Hagan at the beginning of his speech by thanking her for the hard work she’s doing in Washington and that he was sorry she couldn’t make the trip.

She told the media that she felt it was important to stay in Washington while the Senate was in session. However, the Replublican party has criticized her for her support of President Obama, especially during the struggling times of Obamacare and its website troubles.

However, Sen. Hagan has tried to show that she wants to keep the president honest when she asked the Obama Administration for a full investigation of HealthCare.gov. She also asked the administration to extend the filing period for Americans since there were many problems.

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