President Barack Obama is scheduled to be in Asheville today.

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Appearance at Canadian auto-parts company will highlight jobs plan

This story originally appeared here and is published on Carolina Public Press through a content-sharing agreement with The Charlotte Observer.

By Anne Doss Helms,

President Barack Obama is scheduled to be in Asheville today.

After Tuesday’s State of the Union address focused on jobs, manufacturing and middle-class opportunities, President Obama is heading for Asheville Wednesday morning to reinforce his points at an auto-parts plant.

Obama is scheduled to speak to local dignitaries, media and workers at the Asheville plant of Linamar Corp., a Canadian company recruited in 2011. His midday appearance is not open to the public.

Tuesday night, Obama talked about “making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing.”

“A growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs, that must be the North Star that guides our efforts,” he said.

In Buncombe County, the Linamar plant represents a manufacturing revival that has brought 18 new employers in the last two years, said Ben Teague, executive director of the Asheville-Buncombe County Economic Development Coalition.

Recruiters worked with local partners, including public schools and a community college, and used state incentives to entice the multinational company to take over an abandoned Volvo plant south of Asheville. Linamar currently employs about 150 people in the Asheville plant, with a long-term goal of 650, Teague said.

Teague said Buncombe County’s unemployment rate of 6.8 percent is below the state average of 9 percent.

Obama’s appearance is expected to draw protests. The Citizen-Times reports that Tea Party groups, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and area environmentalists all plan rallies outside the company.

This will be Obama’s fourth visit to Asheville, starting with a campaign stop in 2008. He and Michelle Obama came back for a vacation at the Grove Park Inn, and the president made a brief speech at the airport in 2011, the Citizen-Times reports.

Watch the president’s 2013 State of the Union address here:

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