Obama Manufacturing Hubs Face Uphill Struggle To Create Jobs

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APThen-presidential candidate Barack Obama poses with manufacturing workers in Youngstown, Ohio in 2008.



By Julia Edwards and Jason Lange

Along the banks of the Mahoning River in the struggling Ohio steel town of Youngstown sits a once-abandoned furniture warehouse that has been converted into a sleek new laboratory.

Inside is a Silicon Valley-style workspace complete with open meeting areas and colorful stools. Several 3-D printers hum in the background, while engineers type computer codes that tell the machines how to create objects by layering materials.

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.