"In a global economy where the best jobs follow talent - whether in Kolkata or Cleveland - we need to do everything we can to encourage that same kind of passion, make it easier for more young people to blaze a new trail," Obama said in his address yesterday before presenting nation's top medals in the field of science, technology and innovation.
One of the recipient was Indian American Rangaswamy Srinivasan.
Right now, only about a third of undergraduate students are graduating with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math - areas that will be crucial if the US expects to complete the work that has been done by these awardees and compete for the jobs of the future, Obama said.
"And that's why we've worked to make more affordable college opportunities, and set a goal of training 100,000 new math and science teachers over the next decade.
We are working to train 2 million Americans at our community colleges with the skills businesses are looking for right now," he said.
"We also need to do something about all the students who come here from around the world to study but we then send home once they graduate," he said referring to the need of a comprehensive immigration reform, which he has been arguing is the key to attract the best talents of the world.
"One important piece of that (immigration) reform is allowing more of the best and brightest minds from around the world to start businesses, initiate new discoveries, create jobs here in the United States of America. If we want to grow our economy and strengthen the middle class, we need an immigration system built for the 21st century. It's that simple," he added.