Obama’s First “Innovation Hub” Falls Flat: Creates Only 10 Jobs In A Year And A Half
During his State of the Union Address earlier this year, President Obama said:
My administration has launched two hubs for high-tech manufacturing in Raleigh and Youngstown, where we’ve connected businesses to research universities that can help America lead the world in advanced technologies. Tonight, I’m announcing we’ll launch six more this year. Bipartisan bills in both houses could double the number of these hubs and the jobs they create. So get those bills to my desk and put more Americans back to work.
It would seem that for once, the President wasn’t lying when he said his “Hubs” would put Americans back to work. According to an article on Reuters, The Hub in Youngstown, for instance, has employed a whopping 10 people in the year and half it’s been open:
Of six organizations in Youngstown and Cleveland – the nearest major city in the state – working on America Makes projects, none has made new hires for the work. But the non-profit managing the initiative, the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, has added 10 employees to run the lab and oversee the application process, said executive director Ralph Resnick.
If that wasn’t enough to get you on board the Obama train, then you might be happy to know that these “Hubs” may not directly create jobs for middle class Americans (like the President promised) but instead may directly cause fewer middle class jobs:
The lab, called America Makes, is the first in a series of so-called “manufacturing innovationhubs” that President Barack Obama has launched with the promise that they could revitalize America’s industrial sector and spur jobs growth in downtrodden communities like Youngstown. Seven more hubs are planned by the end of the year, including projects in Chicago, Detroit and Raleigh, North Carolina, that will follow the Youngstown model of bringing together businesses, non-profits and universities to pursue technological breakthroughs.
But after more than a year of operation, the Youngstown hub underscores the challenges facing Obama’s goal of ensuring “a steady stream of good jobs into the 21st century,” as he put it in remarks at a White House event last month.
One of the biggest challenges is the nature of factory innovation itself, which often reduces, rather than bolsters, the need for workers who aren’t very skilled. That means the manufacturing initiative could help create jobs for people with highly specialized skills, such as engineers, but it may do far less to help people struggling to find work after the shuttering of local steel mills.
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