Obama, Biden Give Talks on ‘Manufacturing Innovation Hubs’ in East Tennessee, Nationwide

President Barack Obama, along with Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, will visit the Knoxville, TN, area on Friday, Jan. 9, to announce a new manufacturing hub centered in East Tennessee.

The trip, which is to Knox and Anderson Counties in the state, will culminate with details about the “manufacturing innovation hub” in the area. The hub will be a public-private partnership designed to bring more high-tech jobs to the region in certain industries.

The Obama administration has announced 45 such regional hubs across the country, with some already launched in cities such as Detroit, Chicago and Raleigh.

In addition to companies that focus on manufacturing, these hubs will also provide spaces to educate and train students and current workers. Small manufacturing businesses will also receive access to cutting-edge technology, in order to improve the design and implementation of new products and processes.

The East Tennessee manufacturing hub could host all different types of companies, from those that specialize in plastics molding to CNC machine manufacturers.

Establishing these centers around the country could help prepare more Americans to work in high-tech industries, and it could also encourage larger companies to relocate to the East Tennessee region, according to Rhonda Rice, executive vice president of the Knoxville Chamber.

The President has a stop planned at Techmer Polymer Modifiers in Clinton in Anderson County, which manufactures additives and colors for plastics. The 26-year-old company has about 200 employees locally and 600 employees nationwide.

In addition to speaking on manufacturing in the area, Obama will also speak at Pellissippi State Community College’s Hardin Valley campus, in West Knox County, to talk about the new initiatives to help more Americans go to college.

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