Inside Friday's "Silicon Heartland" groundbreaking
President Joe Biden is in rural Licking County today to celebrate the groundbreaking of Intel's new semiconductor factory site.
Why it matters: Groundbreaking ceremonies are often scripted, backslapping affairs for political dignitaries, but this marks an important milestone for a project with major regional and national implications.
- Gov. Mike DeWine will also be in attendance.
State of play: Intel considered sites in 40 different states before announcing plans in January for a $20 billion project about 20 miles from downtown Columbus.
- The corporation quickly bought out longtime residents of the area, now being called the "Silicon Heartland."
- The state offered nearly $2 billion in direct cash and tax incentives. New Albany, which annexed the project site, followed suit with a 30-year property tax exemption.
Yes, but: Intel waited on a more substantial federal investment before shoveling dirt.
- The company delayed a planned July groundbreaking until Congress passed the Chips and Science Act, which provides $52.7 billion toward domestic semiconductor production.
- Biden signed the bill last month and called it a "once-in-a-generation investment in America itself."
Two important pipelines
The two fabrication plants being built in Ohio, along with ongoing Intel expansions in Arizona and New Mexico, are part of what Intel calls its "lab-to-fab" pipeline.
Separately, Intel is supporting semiconductor education programs at various Ohio universities and community colleges, including several in the Columbus area.
- This will develop a homegrown talent pipeline to work in the industry, the company says.
The big picture: Together, these pipelines are meant to help the U.S. win a chip-making race against China — which is building more than two-dozen of its own factories by 2024.
- Having suffered from a global chip shortage during the pandemic, the countries want domestic production to supplant their reliance on overseas supply chains, Axios' Scott Rosenberg writes.
What he's saying: Ahead of the groundbreaking, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger credited leaders in Ohio and Washington "who share a vision to help restore the United States to its rightful place as a leader in advanced chipmaking."
- "Today marks a pivotal moment in the journey to build a more geographically balanced and resilient semiconductor supply chain," he said in a statement.
What's next: It will take 7,000 construction workers three years to build the Licking County factories, which will open in 2025 with around 3,000 permanent employees.
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