President Obama says technological innovations can help create jobs and spur growth in clean energy and advanced manufacturing.
In his radio and Internet address, the president promoted a plan in which the government would join with universities and corporations to re-ignite the manufacturing sector with an emphasis on cutting-edge research and new technologies.
"Their mission is to come up with a way to get ideas from the drawing board to the manufacturing floor to the marketplace as swiftly as possible, which will help create quality jobs and make our businesses more competitive," Obama said in the address aired Saturday.
It was taped Friday during his visit to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he saw a display of mini-robots that explore water and sewer pipes.
He marveled at robots that can defuse a bomb, mow a lawn, even scrape off old paint.
With growing interest from the military, businesses and consumers, the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute has more than 500 technical experts and a $65 million annual budget.
The $500 million initiative is the latest effort by Obama to promote job creation in the midst of an economic slowdown that has reduced hiring and weakened his job approval standing with the public.
Obama has tried to brave the weak economy by featuring job creation measures during weekly trips outside Washington and in his radio addresses. Tuesday, he will visit an Alcoa factory in Bettendorf, Iowa.
The goal of his manufacturing plan, he said, is "to help make sure America remains in this century what we were in the last - a country that makes things."
As he prepares to meet with Senate leaders Monday in hopes of restarting budget negotiations, Obama said he is "committed to working with members of both parties to cut our deficits and debt."
But he said he would not cut spending on education or infrastructure or on the type of innovative technologies he witnessed at Carnegie Mellon. "Being here in Pittsburgh, I'm hopeful about the future," he said.
In the Republican's weekly address, Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina proposed a different remedy to boost businesses.
Ellmers, who owns a small medical practice with her husband, said the Republican plan would reduce regulations, expand domestic energy production and require the government to consider the effect of federal rules on hiring.