President Obama Talks Jobs, Skills and Opportunity in Austin

Today President Obama traveled to Austin, Texas, kicking off a series of Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tours focused on creating a strong and vibrant economy built on good middle class jobs.

The first stop on today’s tour was Manor New Tech High School, where students are learning the real-world skills they need to fill jobs that are available right now. Watch the President’s remarks at the school here.

President Barack Obama has lunch and talks with local residents at Stubb’s BBQ

President Barack Obama has lunch and talks with local residents at Stubb’s BBQ in Austin, Texas, May 9, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Next, President Obama sat down for lunch (Texas barbecue, of course) with local residents to discuss his vision for making sure that hard work leads to a decent living. He also met with technology entrepreneurs who showed him some of the tools and products they are developing that will drive America’s long-term economic growth.

President Barack Obama listens to a presentation about a new car that you can drive a wheelchair into

President Barack Obama listens to a presentation about a new car that you can drive a wheelchair into, at Capital Factory in Austin, Texas, May 9, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Finally, President Obama visited Applied Materials, one of the high-tech companies that has helped make Austin a hub for innovation and job creation. Read his remarks at Applied Materials here.

President Barack Obama takes a tour of Applied Materials Inc.

President Barack Obama takes a tour of Applied Materials Inc., a high-tech company in Austin, Texas, May 9, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

During this trip, the President also announced two important executive actions that will strengthen the economy.

First, the President is following through on a promise he made during the State of the Union by launching competitions for three new Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, which are partnerships among business, universities and community colleges, and government, to develop and build manufacturing technologies and capabilities that will help U.S.-based manufacturers and firms like Applied Materials to invest, innovate, and create more high-quality jobs in the United States. Watch Gene Sperling explain these institutes in less than 60 seconds.

President Barack Obama views equipment during a tour of Applied Materials

President Barack Obama views equipment during a tour of Applied Materials in Austin, Texas, May 9, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Second, President Obama issued an executive order requiring that newly released government data be made freely available in open, machine-readable formats, while appropriately safeguarding privacy, confidentiality, and security. The move will make troves of previously inaccessible or unmanageable data easily available to entrepreneurs, researchers, and others who can use those files to generate new products and services, build businesses, and create jobs. In fact, one of the technology entrepreneurs the President met with today utilizes government data to grow their company, create jobs, and strengthen their local community. Learn more about the executive order here.

Although these steps are not a substitute for the bold Congressional action we need to create jobs and grow the economy, they will make a difference. But President Obama is not waiting for Congress to act, and he will continue pushing lawmakers on Capitol Hill to take action on our economic initiatives while doing everything he can to strengthen the economy and create jobs.

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