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Obama unveils high-tech institute

RALEIGH, N.C. — It was President Obama’s first policy-related trip of 2014, but he used it to take care of some unfinished business from 2013.

With less than two weeks till his State of the Union address on Jan. 28, Obama hastened to make good on a pledge from last year’s speech, announcing the creation of a high-tech manufacturing institute aimed at creating well-paying jobs.

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Speaking to 2,000 students at North Carolina State University, which is leading a group of universities and companies that established the institute, Obama said it was the kind of innovation that would reinvigorate manufacturing.

“We’re not going to turn things around overnight,” Obama declared, referring to a decade of lost jobs in home-grown North Carolina industries like textiles. But, he said, “we are going to start bringing those jobs back to America.”

Last week, Obama checked off another initiative from last year’s address, announcing that the government had selected five communities to receive federal resources to help children and the needy. The program, known as “Promise Zones,” does not require new spending but will direct existing aid to these communities.

White House officials defended the time it took to unveil the institute, saying these ventures require extensive planning and are chosen through competitions.

This is the first of three such institutes the White House plans to announce in the coming weeks. It will be financed by a five-year, $70 million grant from the Department of Energy, which will be matched by funding from the consortium members .

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