Mar 18, 2022 - Business

Intel invests $50 million in Ohio higher education

Illustration of a large pile of money with a graduation cap on top.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Intel will invest $50 million into higher education in Ohio to ensure a pipeline of workers is ready for its massive semiconductor manufacturing plant near New Albany.

Driving the news: The tech company announced the initiative Thursday at Columbus State Community College and invited colleges, universities and technical schools to submit grant proposals.

Why it matters: The manufacturing mega-site can't create the essential computer chips that power things like cars, appliances and phones without trained employees.

  • Bolstering educational programs will provide Ohioans with high-paying jobs that supply Intel with the engineers, technicians and other workers it needs amid a national talent shortage.

How it works: Intel plans to provide grants over 10 years to support curriculum development, faculty training, laboratory equipment upgrades, student experiential opportunities and semiconductor research.

  • Schools are encouraged to collaborate and bring industry partners into the mix.

Catch up quick: Intel announced the $20 billion project in January. Two factories are expected to employ at least 3,000 people at an average salary of $135,000.

  • It's the largest single private-sector investment in state history. The company was lured by $2 billion in incentives, including a 30-year tax break.

The big picture: In addition to $50 million for Ohio, Intel and the National Science Foundation will each invest $50 million in grants nationwide.

Between the lines: Ohio's strong higher education network and diverse workforce were big factors for Intel in bringing its plant to the Buckeye State, executives said Thursday.

  • They emphasized that community colleges and technical schools will be crucial to recruiting people from diverse backgrounds with a variety of skills and used a two-week "quick start" program launching in Arizona as an example.

What they're saying: "A whole spectrum of talent is going to be required to run this world-class operation," Intel executive vice president Keyvan Esfarjani said at the announcement. "The goal is not to be second or third place. We want to be No. 1."

  • " ... the minds and hearts of people in Ohio are all about winning," he joked, referencing Wright State's March Madness victory Wednesday, which he attended with Gov. Mike DeWine.

What's next: May 31 is the deadline for educators and researchers to submit proposals, with funding dispersed this summer.

  • Construction on the plant should begin this year with an anticipated opening in late 2025.
Intel executive vice president Keyvan Esfarjani speaks on stage
Intel executive vice president Keyvan Esfarjani speaks Thursday. Photo courtesy of Columbus State Community College

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