Rare is the design angle on a presidential address, but last night’s State of the Union included a shout-out to 3D prototyping. Early in the speech President Obama highlighted recent gains in domestic manufacturing jobs–more than 500,000 have been added in the past three years–offering examples of in-sourcing in progress at Caterpillar, Ford, and a little company in Cupertino. “This year, Apple will start making Macs in America again,” he said [cut to shot of a grinning Tim Cook] before turning to his administration’s manufacturing preservation initiative:
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 3-D printing 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 right here in America. We can get that done.
To which approximately half of the audience responded, “Yes we can!”