President Barack Obama will launch a new manufacturing innovation hub during his visit to Knoxville and Clinton on Friday, a presidential aide said Wednesday.
The manufacturing innovation hub will be a private-sector partnership that will attract more well-paying middle-class jobs in high-tech manufacturing to Tennessee, said Dan Pfeiffer, an assistant to the president and senior adviser.
During their Friday visit, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with his wife Jill Biden, will stop at Pellissippi State Community College in west Knox County and at manufacturer Techmer PM in the Eagle Bend Industrial Park in Clinton.
As previously reported, Obama is expected to propose ways to help more young Americans go to college and get ahead.
“In today’s economy, access to a college education is the surest ticket to the middle class — and the president’s proposals will help more young people punch that ticket,” Pfeiffer said in a blog post on the White House website.
Pfeiffer said the president is doing something he’s never done before: laying out some of his State of the Union message and policies ahead of his address to Congress on January 20.
“Typically, we try to hold all the news until the day of the speech,” Pfeiffer said. “And there will still be plenty of moments on the big night. But this year, we figured there’s no time like the present…Building on the momentum of the last several weeks, the president didn’t want to wait until the State of the Union to take new steps to help the middle class and lay out his ideas to keep strengthening the economy.
“So today, the president is getting out of Washington and taking his message on the road — straight to the people his policies will affect most.”
Pfeiffer said Obama will be putting forward next steps as he travels the country.
“Call them ‘SOTU Spoilers,'” Pfeiffer said. “Some of his announcements will be executive actions, and others will be legislative proposals. And despite what you might hear from the Beltway pundits, this president looks forward to working with the new Republican Congress on ways we can move America forward.
“That means working with the 114th Congress to make sure that more middle class families feel the benefits of our recovery. But it also means making sure that the new Congress doesn’t roll back the progress and protections that Americans have fought so hard for over the last six years.”
This will Obama’s first visit to the Knoxville area in his six years as president, although he has been to Tennessee, including in a Nashville stop in December.
Friday’s stop in East Tennessee is part of a week-long, cross-country tour to promote presidential policies on housing, economic development, and education. The president also plans trips to Detroit (Wayne, Michigan) and Phoenix this week before ending his week in Tennessee.