President Barack Obama is leaving behind scandal-focused Washington to focus on the country's slowly improving jobs picture.

President Barack Obama (L) speaks as a U.S. Marine holds an umbrella over him, during a news conference with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey (not shown), in the Rose Garden (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Obama plans to fly by helicopter Friday about 40 miles north to Baltimore, which has had its share of tough times in the move from an industrial to service economy. But Maryland has experienced steady job growth so far this year.

The president plans to highlight one of the manufacturing companies still thriving in the city by speaking at Ellicott Dredges. It makes equipment for excavation under water and on beachfronts around the world.

Obama also plans to visit a community center that provides job skills to parents and an elementary school that provides early childhood education. Obama has proposed that public preschool be available for all 4-year-olds from low-income families.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)