Obama Confirms Funding for Manufacturing Innovation Hub in Chicago

February 26, 2014

3:25 pm

Chicago received a boost to its innovation engines today when President Obama made official that $70 million in federal money will go to the city to help create a manufacturing innovation hub.

Formally called the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, the hub will receive an additional $250 million in state and private-sector money, giving it the cash injection needed to bring the area’s manufacturing industry back from the brink.

The U.S. lost one-third of its manufacturing jobs in the 2000s, and our economy has suffered. While the past few years have seen 620,000 manufacturing jobs added back to the economy, Obama hopes initiatives like the one in Chicago will attract even more. “We’ve got to make sure we’re on the cutting edge of new manufacturing techniques and technologies,” he said.

Similar manufacturing hubs exist in Youngstown, Ohio and Raleigh, N.C., and more hubs are in the pipeline (including one in Detroit), according to Obama. “If we stay focused on winning this race, we will make sure the next revolution in manufacturing is an American revolution,” he said.

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Meg Rayford is a communications consultant based in Northern Virginia. She previously spent two years as the Director of Public Relations for a nonprofit startup, where she learned a lot about providing clean water for impoverished countries, even within the confines of a bootstrapped startup. She is the editor of Tech Cocktail, and she develops media strategies for companies in Washington, DC and Virginia. You can read her most recent work in the marketing chapter of the upcoming book, "Social Innovation and Impact in Nonprofit Leadership," which will be published in Spring 2014 by Springer Publishing. Follow her @megkrayford.

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