At Austin-area high school, Obama touts economic growth through tech sector

At Austin-area high school, Obama touts economic growth through tech sector

Credit: Saul LOEB / Getty Images

US President Barack Obama salutes as Texas Governor Rick Perry (L) reaches out to shake hands after arriving on Air Force One at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Austin, Texas, May 9, 2013. Obama will speak on the economy and job creation.

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KVUE/WFAA

Posted on May 9, 2013 at 10:37 AM

Updated Saturday, Nov 9 at 8:25 PM

President Barack Obama is in Central Texas Thursday afternoon.

Air Force One touched down at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport at about 12:15 p.m. This is the first stop of President Obama's so-called middle-class, jobs and opportunity tour. He's promoting his revamped economic agenda, which has faced strong criticism from Republican lawmakers. 

Among those administrative actions is a plan to launch a competition to create three new Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, partnerships among businesses, universities and government to help U.S.-based manufacturers and workers create good jobs.

Five federal agencies — the Defense, Energy and Commerce departments, NASA and the National Science Foundation — are putting $200 million toward the effort.

As the Texas Tribune reported this morning, Gov. Rick Perry awaited the president's arrival just as he did in August 2010, the last time the president visited Austin. 

As the Tribune's Aman Batheja reported: 

In August 2010, Perry greeted Obama as his plane landed at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and gave him a letter urging the president to send more troops to the Texas-Mexico border.

Just after noon on Thursday, as Obama steps off Air Force One in Austin, Perry plans to be again waiting on the tarmac. This time, with a message about the economy.

“Gov. Perry simply plans to welcome the president to Texas and perhaps encourage him to implement Texas’ successful economic policies nationwide,” Perry spokesman Josh Havens said.

Perry shook Obama's hand as he descended the stairs outside Air Force One and spoke as they walked along the tarmac. 

Mr. Obama's trip to Austin is to tout a school and a business that exemplify the president's push to promote economic growth through technology. 

The president visited Manor New Tech High School and spoke there at about 1:15 p.m. That school is teaching life skills to its students, which administrators hope will lead to jobs in the high tech industry.

"I'm hoping to see him, maybe get a picture with him, but I just want to hear what he says because it's a moment that we'll really never have again," Manor New Tech student Pete Stone said.

Obama chose this school because the students are learning real-world skills to fill jobs that are available now. He is expected to announce a new proposal to kick-start a network of 15 manufacturing innovation institutes across the country, similar to Manor New Tech. He will need Congress to approve the $1 billion investment.

"Folks around here are doing something right, and I think the rest of the country can learn from what you're doing because I've always believed that the best ideas usually don't start in Washington, they trickle up to Washington," he said. "So I've come to listen and learn and highlight some of the good work that's being done." 

He cited Austin as an example for the rest of the country, referring to a recent study that said a quarter of the city's entire economy came from the technology sector. Apple, Visa and General Motors are all bringing thousands of new jobs to the state capitol. 

"Folks around here are doing something right and the rest of the country can learn from what you're doing," Obama said.  

When President Obama is done visiting the high school, he will visit workers at Applied Materials, a computer chip company located in the northeast corner of the city between Round Rock and Cedar Park. He will be speaking there around 4:40 p.m. The Tribune reported that the Austin City Council and the mayor will recess a meeting so they can attend the president's visit. 

He'll be heading back to the White House just before 5:30 p.m.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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