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Exclusive: Biden admin, tech giants launch women in CHIPS construction effort

May 2, 2024
A female robot flexing her bicep

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The Commerce Department and tech giants are partnering to boost women's participation in the semiconductor construction workforce, according to an announcement shared exclusively with Axios.

Why it matters: The U.S. has massive goals to reach under the CHIPS and Science Act, but is grappling with a workforce shortage that women can help fill.

Driving the news: The Commerce Department on Thursday will launch the voluntary CHIPS Women in Construction Framework for companies, contractors, unions and others to recruit and retain women and other economically disadvantaged individuals.

  • Intel and Micron are the first to commit to the program, and government officials expect more companies to sign on.

What they're saying: "It is a simple question of math," Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

  • "If we are going to meet the national and economic security imperatives of the CHIPS Program, we are going to have to figure out how to fill the hundreds of thousands of jobs we are creating, and we won't fill those jobs without growing our construction workforce to include more women."

How it works: Recruiting and retaining workers will mean offering services such as child care or transportation, according to the framework.

  • Companies would also invest in training as well as prevent and address harassment and discrimination.

By the numbers: Intel's chip investments across four states are estimated to create more than 20,000 construction jobs.

  • Micron's chip investments across two states are estimated to create more than 9,000 construction jobs.

Catch up quick: Raimondo announced the Million Women in Construction initiative in 2022, which aims to double women in construction in the next decade.

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