Latest Valley project receives presidential seal of approval

When the president of the Unit- ed States speaks, people far and wide listen. Thus, it isn’t far-fetched to imagine the conversations last week in capitals around the world about President Obama’s State of the Union address in which he discussed the ground breaking research occurring in Youngstown, Ohio.

Obama’s comments have been quoted exten- sively since his Tuesday night speech before a joint session of Congress.

Here’s what he said:

“Last year, we created our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio. A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3D printing process that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. There’s no reason this can’t happen in other towns. So tonight, I’m announcing the launch of three more of these manufacturing hubs, where businesses will partner with the departments of Defense and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs. And I ask this Congress to help create a network of 15 of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is Made in America.”

The president’s shout out to the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII) on West Boardman Street downtown comes on the heels of the Brookings Institution and the Rockefeller Foundation naming the project in its Top 10 list of the most innovative development initiatives across the country.

On Thursday, Don Gonyea, national political correspondent for National Public Radio, had a piece on “All Things Considered” based on his visit to the city the day before. And the New York Times referred to the Youngstown project in a story about the president’s visit to a factory in North Carolina. We have no doubt that there will be other such coverage.

President Obama obviously believes in the potential of the institute, which is good news for its future growth and funding.

Public, private funding

Of the $70 million, the federal government has provided a $30 million grant, while the rest has come from the nine research universities, including Youngstown State, Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh and Case Western Reserve; five community colleges, including Eastern Gateway, companies, and 11 nonprofit organizations in the Cleveland-Youngstown-Pittsburgh Tech Belt.

The day after his State of the Union speech, President Obama went to North Carolina to visit a factory and drum up public support for the agenda he unveiled before Congress.

We would encourage the White House to consider a presidential visit to Youngstown, where Obama could host a meeting of the stakeholders of the manufacturing innovation institute.

This is an important project, as evidenced by the federal government’s involvement. The president would be opening the doors to national and international participants by showing the world what’s taking place in Youngstown.

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