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President downs a cheeseburger, samples the LV workforce, and some unemployed

Published December 05. 2009 09:00AM

Following his speech at Lehigh Carbon Community College Friday, President Obama joined Allentown's Mayor Ed Pawlowski and other officials at one of the city's most popular haunts - The Hamilton Family Restaurant - locally known as the "Ham Fam," on Hamilton Boulevard.

The president enjoyed a cheeseburger.

The group included Applied Separations CEO Rolf Schlake, who discussed the company's supercritical fluids business. When Schlake was overheard asking Obama what he knew about supercritical fluids, the President joked, "I know that's super critical for you."

Schlake said his downtown Allentown business makes equipment that can be used in variety of high-tech applications and some more pedestrian ones like decafeinating coffee.

Following lunch, the president surprised a roomful of jobseekers at the Lehigh Valley Careerlink office on Union Boulevard in Allentown.

Obama toured the site's computer lab, talked with unemployed workers about the state of the economy and how their job searches are helped through the benefit of the computer lab.

Judy Hartzell of Salisbury Township, who was laid off from Tama Manucturing, a major local Lehigh Valley textile company that Obama had visited during his election campaign, asked the president how he was going to bring back manfacturing jobs.

The president said some manufacturing jobs like hers may never come back. He said the country needs to focus on industries where there is a technological advantage for the U.S.

"Clean energy, infrastructure, increasing our exports, that is what is going to help us create an advanced manufacturing sector," he said.

In his speech at LCCC, the president spoke of his trip to Allentown Metal Works, explaining how the company's workers are forging heavy duty machinery to help make the country run.

"Like so many others across America, they've been doing the best they can to stay afloat in a brutal recession that has hit folks like them hardest of all," Obama said.

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