Pres. Obama: U.S. Companies Must Resume Innovating to 'Stay on the Cutting Edge'

President discusses the U.S. economy at North Carolina State University.
3:00 | 01/15/14

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Transcript for Pres. Obama: U.S. Companies Must Resume Innovating to 'Stay on the Cutting Edge'
-- -- North Carolina. Have a single -- have you -- seek -- don't have signal. It is good to be here at the home of the wolfpack. A lot of -- -- chancellor -- what's -- the introduction and the great work that he's going on behalf of students all across the system a lot of recognized my secretary of energy Ernie -- was here. Won't be doing New York. Your governor -- McCrory is there. The -- -- -- -- McFarland. The mayor -- a -- -- -- -- -- The mayor. Cabrera bill bill. Congressman mark my back. McIntyre doing great work. Your senator Ted and couldn't be here but I want to thank her publicly for the great work -- And -- I want to thank all the students for coming now. We're doing this bad nights and early as -- doesn't run up against the weight gain. Have learned a few things president and one of them is not to compete with college basketball. Down here on Tobacco Road. The -- in my second stop in Raleigh Durham. I just took a tour of a company called. But wrong. Where workers design the drives that power everything from elevators. To the giant fans. That help. School buildings like this one although I think we're gonna save money on. -- -- the Smart thing to -- So this governor is making these engines and these systems more efficient. -- and businesses big bucks on energy costs improving the environment those savings get passed on to customers. Put money in people's pockets. And growing companies that need the products that back on -- They're benefiting enormously. So it's a good news story but in a global economy. That -- just like every company in America has to keep inventing and innovating. In order to stay on the cutting edge. And that's were all of you coming. Here NC state you know something about innovation. You've got one of the largest undergraduate engineering programs in the country that's torturing. I'm a lawyer by -- and that's -- But we need more engineers. -- companies -- -- -- IBM they come to this school when they're looking to hire. Because of the quality engineering program. And over at Centennial campus. Some very Smart people. Experiment and state of the art facilities to figure out everything from how to design better fireproof. -- Better protect our computer systems. So. The reason I came here today. Is because. We've got to do more to connect universities like NC state with companies like back on. To make America the number one place in the world to open new businesses and create new jobs. We want to do that here North Carolina and we want -- do this all across America. Have. Been more than five years sense a devastating recession cost. This country millions of jobs and it hurt North Carolina. Pretty tough. But -- one here knows that even before the recession. The middle class have been hitting it. Getting -- on the Jennifer for years before that. Here in North Carolina factories. Were shut their doors jobs were getting shipped overseas. Wages and incomes were flat lines or even if you had a job you can see your standard of living going up very much. Meanwhile the cost everything from college tuition to groceries. Did go. So when I took office we decided. To focus on the hard work of rebuilding our economy on a new foundation for growth and prosperity and to make sure that. Everybody. Had a chance to get ahead. And thanks to the hard work and sacrifice the American people the good news is the economy is going strong. Are. Businesses poured. Businesses have now created more than eight million new jobs since we get since we have Bob. Because -- all of the above strategy for American energy for the first time in nearly two decades we produce more oil. Here in the United States that we -- from the rest of the world. That has. We now generate more renewable energy than ever before more natural gas -- Anybody on the play. We're lowering energy cost reducing pollution. Health care costs are growing at their slowest rate in fifty years. For the first time since 1990s. Health care costs eat up a smaller chunk of our economy and part of that yes has to do would be affordable care. -- Overtime that means bigger paychecks for middle class families bigger savings for companies that are look in the higher. And along with all this since I took office we cut our deficits by more than -- So. So. We've made progress. And that's -- -- -- I think this can be a breakthrough year. For America the pieces are all there. To start bringing back more the jobs that we've lost over the past Beckett. You know a lot of companies around the world -- started talk about. Bringing jobs back to the United States bringing jobs back to places like North Carolina. Partly because we get cheap energy costs we got the best workers in the world we get the best university systems in the world. -- And restore some of the ground the middle class has lost in recent decades start raising wages for American families. But it requires us to take action this has to be a year of action. And here in North Carolina you're doing your part to create good jobs that pay good wages. Congress must do its part to. Because restore the American dream of opportunity for everyone who's willing to work court is something that should unite the country -- divide the country that's what we should be aspiring to. Everybody have a shot. On the short term wanting congress to do it wasn't -- -- majority of the American people and restore. The unemployment insurance for Americans -- And won't. Just make an aside here North Carolina still has a higher than average unemployment rate so. This is important to the state folks. Aren't looking for -- a -- not looking for special treatment. There -- a lot of people who are sending out -- is every single lead. But the market the job market is still tough in in pockets around the country and and people need support. A little help so they can look at for the families while -- looking for a new job. So congress should do. The right thing and it's -- this vital lifeline for millions of Americans. Of course that's a short term long term challenge of making sure everybody worked hard to get ahead. In today's economy. Is so important that we can't wait for congress assault. Where I can act on my own without congress I'm -- to -- so. And today I'm your debt -- to help make. College -- and America and management for the good high tech manufacturing jobs that. A growing middle class requires the -- it's gonna continue to keep this country on the cutting -- -- Road and. We've already got some success to build up. Manufacturing is a bright spot in this economy. For decades we've been losing manufacturing -- But now our manufacturers added over the last four years. More than 550000. New jobs including almost 80000. Manufacturing jobs in the last five months along. So we want to keep that trend were don't. We want to build on the kind of work that's being done in places like NC state. To develop technology that leads to new jobs and entire new industries. So a little over a year ago we launched America's first manufacturing and innovation institute in Youngstown Ohio. I am and what it was is a partnership. It includes companies. And colleges. They came up with a joint plan they were focusing on developing 3-D printing technology. And training workers with the skills required to master that technology. Now that was a great start we got one -- and some of the folks that are here -- and we congratulate them -- -- -- -- -- don't. But here's the problem we we created one in Germany they've already got about sixty of these manufacturing immigration -- So we got some catching up to the I don't want the next big job creating discovery. The research and technology to be in Germany or China or Japan I want to be right here in the United States -- I want to -- at Nortel. The what I said was in my State of the Union Address last year. So the congress let's set up a network -- at least fifteen these manufacturing jobs all across America focusing on different. Opportunities. Where we can get manufacturing -- -- -- Great jobs. Make sure that the research is tied to businesses. That are actually hiring. And those synergies. Are gonna grow the economy regionally and ultimately it across the whole -- And last summer as part of our push to create middle class jobs let's say they don't want -- not settle on that English is going to fortify. Republicans and Democrats in the house the senate introduced bills that would get us going that's good. Whatever -- to -- yet. So I wanna encourage them to continue to pass. The bills that would create 45. Of these manufacturing jobs in the meantime. I'm directing my administration to move forward where we cannot borrow so today after almost -- your competition. I'm pleased to announce America's newest high tech manufacturing. Which is going to be focused on the next generation of power electronics. There's going to be based right here -- Raleigh, North Carolina. Remove. Remove -- a home. And good move. -- Just like the -- -- youngster. What we're calling the next generation power electronic innovation institute. Is bringing together leading companies. Universities. And federal research all together -- one -- Folks -- -- are -- develop. What are called wired band gap semiconductors map. I was just schooled on all this. I'm not sure that -- fully qualified. Two. Describe the technical elements of this. Raise your hand if you know what it is. Say we got some. For all you're not -- engineers out. Out there here's what it means -- in the simplest terms semiconductors obviously are at the heart of every piece electronics that we use every day's Smartphone. Televisions that these days every. Public research help development decades ago. And then that research. Allow commercialization. New products new services. And obviously not only improved -- the economy -- Greatly enhanced our lives. So we want companies to run with the ball also but first we've got to make sure that were also on the research and linking it up to those companies. Wide -- -- semiconductors. They're special because they lose up to 90% less power. They can operate at higher temperatures the -- -- normal semiconductors so that means they can make everything. From self post industrial motors to elect. Electric cars smaller faster cheaper we're going to be still applications for the traditional semiconductors but these can be. Focused on certain areas that will vastly improve energy efficiency. Vastly improve. The quality of our lives in the country that figures out how to do this first. And the companies that figure out how to do this -- -- the ones that are gonna attract. The jobs that come what. So -- manufacturing up right here. Focused in North Carolina. Go back. This this public gonna make it easier for these -- -- band gap semiconductors. To go from the drawing abort to the factory floor. To the store shelves. Or not -- -- store -- is what I just off for example were these really big. Piece of equipment that are attached utility companies -- Help Windmills trance like the power their generating actually get transmitted. To where they're going to be finally used. It's gonna bring together chip designers manufacturers with companies like back on M and -- that stand to benefit from these new technologies. And and this'll help big companies but also gonna help small companies. Because I certainly don't use equipment they otherwise wouldn't be able to afford. To test and prototype new products. And of course American workers will be able to come up right here to North Carolina to learn the skills. That companies are looking for. In the next generation -- manufacturing. Will be an American revolution. So in the coming weeks we're going to be launching two more of these renovation ups we -- -- him. All plan that. One's gonna folks on digital design and manufacturing. Another is going to be developing lightweight metals that could transform everything from wind turbines to military vehicles. And together they're gonna help build new partnerships. In areas that -- potential. The helped to lift up our communities. The help spark the technology and research that will create new industries the good jobs require. For folks to punch their ticket in the middle class. And that's what America's all about. Now we have always been about research. Innovation. And then commercializing that research and innovation so that. Everybody can benefit -- we start selling our stuff all around the world we start exporting. And we create good jobs and middle class families that are able to buy the products that result from this innovation. And you get a virtuous cycle where everybody is doing better and nobody's left behind. And that's what we can do if we pull together the way those companies and universities. Have pulled together. As part of this bit. Now write you a bit this is going to be a long haul we're not -- we're not gonna turn things around overnight. -- a lot of jobs were lost. You know in the textile industry it. -- -- But that great news is is that. Ultimately because our people are good. And Smart and hard work and we'll take risks. We are going to be able. To start bring in those jobs back to America. And that's that's what we. Do when. When times get tough we don't give up we get up within a bit we have now -- goal and we look to the future. I don't want I want all of you know North Carolina as long as we keep working together and fighting together and do what it takes. To widen the circle of opportunity for more Americans -- Nobody is left behind if you work hard if you were responsible. -- you can go up there get a skill train yourself. Find a job supported them -- If we work together and that's our focus. There's nothing we can achieve. A limit to how far we can go. So congratulations North Carolina State congratulations mainland. Let's get to work --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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