Revisiting his call from last year for more American innovation and better education, President Obama said on Tuesday that such an America is within reach.
“A country that leads the world in educating its people,” he said in his annual State of the Union Address. “An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs. A future where we’re in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world. An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded.”
The president answered the calls of many tech companies for some tax reform and measures to provide an educated workforce.
Tech companies have complained of a lack of skilled workers to fill IT, cybersecurity, and other technology jobs. The IT trade group CompTIA, for example, says about 300,000 IT jobs are unfilled right now. And some analysts estimate the federal government needs as many as 20,000 high-skilled people to combat cyber threats.
Obama announced plans to train and place two million Americans in jobs in manufacturing, IT, and clean energy, among others. Included in that plan are proposals for more partnerships between high schools and industry.
Obama proposed ending incentives for companies to outsource work overseas, and instead, provide tax breaks for companies that invest here. He also proposed reforming the immigration system to keep more talented people in the U.S., and for continued funding for research and development.
Among those invited to sit with First Lady Michele Obama were Mike Krieger, co-founder of the social photo sharing service Instagram; Apple founder Steve Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, who heads an organization that helps underserved communities; and Hiroyuki Fujita, president of the electronics company Quality Electrodynamics.