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Obama plans executive actions to strengthen U.S. manufacturing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will launch a series of executive actions on Monday to strengthen U.S. advanced manufacturing, including a $300 million investment in three technologies considered crucial to the country’s industrial competitiveness.

The White House said in a statement the actions would build on the final report of Obama’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership that recommends measures to spur innovation, secure a skilled workforce and improve the business climate.

Obama is meeting at the White House on Monday with the partnership’s steering committee, a working group of the President’s Council of Advisors in Science and Technology.

The White House said NASA and the departments of Defense, Energy and Agriculture would invest more than $300 million in the emerging technologies of advanced materials including composites and bio-based materials, advanced sensors for manufacturing, and digital manufacturing.

It said the investments, matched by private-sector resources, would drive advances in the manufacturing of high-tech materials including “new steel alloys that are twice as strong and lighter than today” and new processes to eliminate reliance on foreign supplies of critical materials.

As part of the effort, the National Science Foundation will establish up to two manufacturing “centers of excellence” in basic research bringing together universities and industry with a focus on advanced sensors for manufacturing and digital manufacturing.

The White House statement added that the Labor Department was launching a $100 Million American Apprenticeships Grant Competition to spur apprenticeships in advanced manufacturing.

In addition, the Commerce Department’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership will pilot $130 million competition over five years across 10 states to help small manufacturers adopt new technologies and bring new products to market.

(Reporting by Peter Cooney; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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