‘Silicon Heartland’ construction on schedule at Intel semiconductor plants that will employ 3,000

Company to get CHIPS Act funding

Construction is progressing on schedule for two new Intel Corp. semiconductor fabrication plants being built in New Albany, said Elly Akopyan, Intel communications and local media manager.

Intel began construction in late 2022 and is building the two plants simultaneously, said Linda Qian, communications director for the California-based company’s Ohio community relations team. Currently 1,000 construction workers are on site, a number the company expects will grow to 7,000.

Construction workers and suppliers are being drawn from across the state, including the Dayton-Springfield-Butler County region, according to Ohio Department of Development data. Intel expects the local region also will supply technicians, engineers, administrative and other support workers. Ten local colleges and universities are part of an Intel-funded statewide effort to get workers trained for the jobs.

“As the largest economic development project in the history of Ohio, Intel will have far-reaching impacts across the state,” said Stephanie Keinath, vice president of strategic initiatives at the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce. “We know that Intel’s supply footprint includes over 350 Ohio businesses across tier one and tier two suppliers, and we anticipate that number growing as more aspects of the project are underway.”

Credit: Intel Corporation

Credit: Intel Corporation

Since breaking ground in late 2022 “our construction has been proceeding on schedule. Typical construction timelines for semiconductor manufacturing facilities are 3-5 years from groundbreaking, depending on a range of factors,” Akopyan said.

Bechtel is the general contractor for the plants being built in the New Albany International Business Park northeast of Columbus in Licking County. Each fabrication plant, known as a “fab,” will be at least 250,000 square feet.

In addition to construction hiring, Qian said the company also has begun hiring for support functions.

Employment will reach 3,000 once the two plants are fully operational, and Akopyan said pay will average $135,000 annually.

The fabs will operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with employees working 12-hour shifts consisting of three or four days on and three or four days off work, Qian said.

Intel estimates the two Ohio plants will support 10,000 indirect jobs.

“It’s extremely high-tech advanced manufacturing, a huge factory to produce a little itty bitty chip that we all depend on for everyday life,” Qian said.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Semiconductors are critical components in a variety of products, including cellphones, appliances, satellites, electric vehicles, defense systems such as F-35 fighter jets, and also are required for artificial intelligence applications, quantum computing, biotechnology and clean energy.

Qian said the original estimated project cost of $20 billion in Ohio has grown to an investment of $28 billion.

The company will get assistance from the taxpayer-funded federal CHIPS and Science Act, according to a preliminary agreement Intel and the U.S. Department of Commerce signed in March.

“It’s critical. There is a significant cost differential between investing here in the U.S. and operating a fab in Asia. Somewhere around 30%,” Qian said. “So the CHIPS and Science Act will help address the difference there.”

The state of Ohio also awarded a $600 million onshoring grant to Intel to support the company’s two new plants, requiring the company to invest $20 billion, hire 3,000 people and have an annual payroll of $405 million by Dec. 31, 2028, according to the Ohio Department of Development.

Credit: Intel Corporation

Credit: Intel Corporation

Intel’s investment in Ohio could eventually total $100 billion at full site build-out for eight plants, according to an Intel fact sheet Qian provided.

“I would reiterate once again how excited we are to be building the Silicon Heartland in Ohio,” Qian said. “And I think it’s a project that will benefit Ohioans across the state.”

Race to produce U.S. semiconductors

Qian said the Ohio plants are likely to manufacture a mix of semiconductor types, including the high-end ones needed for artificial intelligence, but it is too early to know the exact mix because the industry changes so rapidly.

“The way the industry works we have to start constructing our new factories without knowing exactly what is going to be going into them,” Qian said. “They will be what we call leading-edge logic. Some of the most advanced manufacturing processes in the world.”

Semiconductors were invented in America but while the U.S. is a global leader in semiconductor design, research and development, only about 10% of semiconductors are produced in the U.S., according to an Ohio Department of Development fact sheet.

Longstanding concerns about the need for more U.S. production of semiconductor chips were amplified by COVID-19 pandemic-related supply chain snarls and shortages, along with growing geopolitical tensions such as China’s disputes with Taiwan, a major supplier of the chips.

The bipartisan CHIPS Act signed by President Joe Biden in 2022 is designed to boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing and research and development using nearly $53 billion in federal incentives.

Credit: Intel Corporation

Credit: Intel Corporation

“Nearly all manufacturing of leading-edge chips across the entire industry moved overseas to Asia years ago,” Biden said in a March 20 speech announcing a preliminary agreement with Intel giving it access to CHIPS Act funding for the two new Ohio plants, along with construction and expansion projects in New Mexico, Arizona and Oregon.

“That’s why today’s investment is such a big deal. We will enable advanced semiconductor manufacturing to make a comeback here in America after 40 years.”

Intel would get up to $8.5 billion in direct CHIPS Act funding for the projects, according to the preliminary agreement. The company also could access $11 billion in federal loans and a tax credit of up to 25% on more than $100 billion in qualified investments, according to a company news release.

Credit: Intel Corporation

Credit: Intel Corporation

The proposed funding would assist Intel with its plan to spend more than $100 billion in the U.S. over five years to “expand U.S. chipmaking capacity and capabilities critical to economic and national security and acceleration of emerging technologies, such as AI,” according to a March Intel news release announcing the preliminary agreement.

The projects in the four states are expected to create a total of more than 10,000 new permanent jobs and nearly 20,000 construction jobs and would indirectly support more than 50,000 jobs with suppliers and supporting industries, according to Intel.

“Today is a defining moment for the U.S. and Intel as we work to power the next great chapter of American semiconductor innovation,” Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said in the March news release.

“AI is supercharging the digital revolution and everything digital needs semiconductors. CHIPS Act support will help to ensure that Intel and the U.S. stay at the forefront of the AI era as we build a resilient and sustainable semiconductor supply chain to power our nation’s future.”

Dayton Daily News INVESTIGATES

The path forward: JOBS & THE ECONOMY

Our team of investigative reporters digs into what you identified as pressing issues facing our community. The Path Forward project seeks solutions to these problems by investigating how the region is preparing for the economy of the future. This series looks at progress on the two Intel Corp. semiconductor plants being built near Columbus and how the company is partnering with colleges and universities in the local region and across Ohio to train workers for jobs at the new plants.

Follow our work at DaytonDailyNews.com/path-forward/

See all the stories in our Intel Corp. series here:

Intel-funded higher education alliances training people for 3,000 new jobs at semiconductor plants

‘Silicon Heartland’ construction on schedule at Intel semiconductor plants that will employ 3,000

PHOTOS: See the Intel Corp. semiconductor fabrication plants in being built in New Albany, Ohio

VIDEO: See Intel’s Arizona semiconductor factories in action

5 things to know about Intel’s new Ohio plants and workforce training efforts

VIDEO: See what happens inside Intel Corp. factories in Oregon

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