(CNN) – President Barack Obama will debut two executive actions designed to spur job growth when he visits Austin, Texas, on Thursday, fulfilling a vow he made during his State of the Union address to further bolster American manufacturing.
The trip south is the first in a series of day-long jaunts Obama will take to promote his jobs agenda, which was a major part of last year's presidential race but has been overshadowed by recent legislative fights over gun control and government spending.
In Austin, Obama will visit a high school specializing in science and technology, as well as Applied Materials, a tech company that a White House official touted as having helped "make Austin a hub for innovation and job creation."
He'll also meet with technology entrepreneurs and Austin residents to discuss his jobs plan further.
But the center of the trip will be the unveiling of two executive actions the White House says will help businesses create jobs. The first will establish competitions to create education-manufacturing alliances – dubbed "manufacturing innovation institutes" - to link businesses and schools, with the goal of developing new technologies and training workers to utilize them.
One such institute already exists in Youngstown, Ohio, but during his State of the Union address in February, Obama vowed to continue creating similar programs.
He'll also ask Congress to approve his proposal of spending $1 billion to establish 15 of the manufacturing institutes across the country, though any new government spending has proven a tough sell to Republicans, who argue the nation's deficit is a result of untamed government expenditure.
A second measure announced Thursday would require government data to be made available in machine-readable formats, which the White House says will help prompt the creation of new businesses.
While Gov. Rick Perry will greet Obama on the tarmac in Austin, the Republican governor will not attend any of the events, according to a Perry spokeswoman.
The Lone Star State's unemployment rate currently stands at 6.4%, lower than the 7.5% national average.
"I hope the President will come to Texas ready to take a few notes and learn from one of the most successful states in the nation when it comes to job creation and economic growth," said John Cornyn, the state's senior U.S. senator, in a statement.
And the president got some good news Thursday morning before taking off on a trip about jobs. First-time unemployment claims fell to 323,000 in the last week, the lowest level in five years, the U.S. government said.
The trip to Austin – a liberal enclave in red state Texas – will launch the latest push by the president to present his agenda to the public. He's made similar trips in the past months to press his agenda on gun control and immigration.
While jobs and the economy dominated last year's presidential election, and have been cited by Obama as his top priority, major attention on the issue shifted in the aftermath of December's shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut which left 20 young students and 6 adults dead. The tragedy prompted calls from Obama for new gun control measures.
Other topics, including the ongoing battle over government spending and comprehensive immigration reform, have also diverted public attention away from the jobs issue.
And while monthly jobs figures have shown steady growth in the past year, manufacturing jobs have declined drastically.
Over the last six years, the labor force has declined most dramatically in auto manufacturing states like Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. While some veteran workers may simply be retiring, the trend could also reflect former blue-collar jobs transforming into fewer high-skill, technical positions.
On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stressed the president remained committed to his jobs agenda.
"The president believes that in spite of the fact that Washington is, on occasion, throwing up obstacles to economic growth and job creation, that there are areas across the country where positive steps are being taken towards the kind of economic growth and job creation that the president talked about in the State of the Union," Carney said.
The trip to Texas, he said, had nothing to do with a long-standing Democratic goal of turning the state blue.
"I can guarantee you that is not what this is about," he said.
– CNN's Jessica Yellin and Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.
You are just a little late. 4 years, 109 days and now you are getting serious?
Obama visits TX to discuss job growth? A visit to a state that did not get hit by the housing bust, and is struggling to find enough people to work in oilfield related jobs? The visit is purely political, or he would have visited a state that is close to bankruptcy and has high unemployment.
I used to live in Austin—UT Austin and local corporations have been allying for decades. They don't need anything from Obama.
(I went to graduate school at UT Austin while I worked for IBM. Then, a couple years after grad school, my IBM R&D shop hired one of my former professors as a consultant; he wound up working for me.)
"manufacturing innovation institutes" – to link businesses and schools, with the goal of developing new technologies and training workers to utilize them.
Here in Newport News, our shipyard has an Apprenticeship Program that allows students to learn and work at the same time. More companies need to adopt this principle. Now as far as turning Texas blue, it will eventually happen. You can place a $10,000 bet on that!
I wish you the best of luck, President Obama. You have such good ideas and good intentions. It's hard to get past the Republicans in Congress, though. We know that. Keep fighting for us, please.
The dems are the only ones who have done anything about jobs for the last five years , the gop trash works againest job growth seeing its as a path to the white house at your exspense . Only idiots would vote for the gop and they will lose the house and senate in 2014, and forget 2016 , most voters aren't dumb enough to vote for a party that works againest the best interest of the country ,but instead works for their 1950 s agenda and grover norquest and the nra and the oil lobbyist, gop losers !!!!!
BO and jobs is an oxymoron
I think he's in Austin for political purposes – I may be wrong – but of all cities, Austin ? lol – well, at least it's a huge college town, and it's most definitely a "blue" city, even though there is a republican governor in this state – I mean, the majority of the population is a "40 & under crowd" or it could even be 35 & under. I've been thru Austin, and spent a lot of weekends there, and just about everywhere you go, Business is brisk. Obama should come to the other "blue" cities, if he want to try to get some of those people to vote in the mid-terms, such as Houston & San Antonio.
""The trip to Texas, he said, had nothing to do with a long-standing Democratic goal of turning the state blue""
Sorry, I dis-agree. Then why don't he go to another area, instead of "perry's" area ? He should stay in Youngstown & Toledo – I've been there, & know what's going on in parts of Ohio – Youngstown used to be a ghost town, among other cities.
""The Lone Star State's unemployment rate currently stands at 6.4%, lower than the 7.5% national average""
It's a wonder Texas isn't lower than 6.4% When I pick up the "Houston Chronicle" on Sunday mornings, it feels like a 6 # newspaper – when I open it up, about 1/3 of it is mostly want ads, from employers looking for people to work, in practically every field there is. All you have to do is go to – houston chronicle dot com if you don't believe me.
LBJ or Ann Richards couldn't turn today's Texas blue or even purple!!! Obama must be telling the truth on why he is there. It always seems to irritate the right that the president speaks the truth!!! They must not be used to that.
""While Gov. Rick Perry will greet Obama on the tarmac in Austin, the Republican governor will not attend any of the events, according to a Perry spokeswoman""
That's because Perry doesn't want to be near Obama – people will think that he's doing like Christy done, during "sandy"
""The trip to Austin – a liberal enclave in red state Texas – will launch the latest push by the president to present his agenda to the public""
The "public" LOL – are you kidding me ?? He wants to get those people to VOTE – and at least get that 35 & under crowd to get interested, instead of waiting 4 weeks before the next presidential election to Vote. lol
Sorry CNN, but this article really made me laugh. (BTW, Thanks for my Laugh of the Day)
Obama will unveil jobs bill...that is until the GOPT fillibuster it like they've done all the previous jobs bills!
Good for you Mr. President!!! Maybe you can teach our Rick Perry, not only how to lead but how to be intelligent.
Obama is not going to do ANYTHING, so quit saying that