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Local, state and federal leaders gather for Intel's ceremonial groundbreaking in Licking County

Biden
Manuel Balce Ceneta
/
AP
President Joe Biden speaks during a groundbreaking for a new Intel computer chip facility in New Albany, Ohio, Friday, Sep. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Intel hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking at its construction site in Licking County Friday morning. It’s a billion-dollar investment to build up to eight semiconductor manufacturing facilities, or “chip fabs” as they call them.

Intel invited local, state and federal leaders to officially celebrate the construction phase of two chip fabs that will be built by 2025. Governor Mike DeWine, senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, congresswoman Joyce Baetty, and Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger spoke at the event.

President Joe Biden also joined others on stage.

“It’s time to bury the label rustbelt and call it as Pat [Gelsinger] says the silicon heartland,” Biden said. “That’s what’s happening on these 1,000 acres. A brand new $20 billion dollar campus. 7,000 construction jobs, union construction jobs, 3,000 full-time jobs.”

That is 3,000 full-time jobs for the first two fabs. Intel also launched the first phase of its $50 million investment in Ohio higher education institutes. It is a $17.7 million for eight different projects.

Jim Evers is Intel Ohio’s general manager. He said it is an investment in that goes beyond Intel's specific needs.

“We’re not just investing only in our workforce, which we’re very happy to see all that workforce, but 9,000 students that’s to basically educate the overall community,” Evers said. “We want them to have science, technology, engineering, arts and math degrees cause this is a field that needs that kind of talent.”

It will also give over 2,300 scholarships to students. It is a collaboration led by six universities that include Ohio State and Central State University. But it also connects these schools with 80-other higher education institutions across the state.

Evers also shared his vision for Intel Ohio. He is committed to a diverse workforce and hopes future generations consider careers in science and technology.

“One day it would be great to get to population global representation. In order to do that – the sons and daughters of Ohio and the Midwest that are in K-12, we have to encourage them to be scientists and engineers.”

Intel has also committed that a quarter of its workforce will be women.

Business leaders have also hailed the success of Intel’s investment. Don DePerro, is the president and CEO of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. DePerro said even though the project has drawn its skeptics, projects like Intel are necessary for economic growth.

“If you’re not growing, you’re dying,” DePerro said. “To have an announcement like this in a community like Columbus Ohio is extraordinary. This can lead to great things. Our children can find wonderful jobs here they don’t’ have to leave Columbus they don’t; have to go to other parts of the country they can stay home and have great career opportunities.”

DePerro also said that Intel has shown good faith in working with Ohio businesses.

“Will not only have 30 to 40 direct suppliers to Intel, but we’ll also have suppliers to suppliers of intel,” he said. “They already have 140 suppliers existing now in the state of Ohio. I’m told a couple a couple will be cajoled to move a little closer to this facility it’s just unbelievable news.”

DePerro adds that the Chamber of Commerce is on Intel’s workforce committee and plans to help them recruit employees from out of state as well.

Intel intends to build up to eight chip fabs by 2030 with passage of the CHIPS Act. It is a $50 billion subsidy for semiconductor manufacturers in the United States.

Tyler Thompson is a reporter and on-air host for 89.7 NPR News. Thompson, originally from northeast Ohio, has spent the last three years working as a Morning Edition host and reporter at NPR member station KDLG Public Radio and reporter at the Bristol Bay Times Newspaper in Dillingham, Alaska.