DeWine, Ohio leaders celebrate Intel $20B silicon chip investment as company talks about plans

“Today, it’s the Silicon heartland,” Intel CEO declares

Intel’s investment in Ohio means 3,000 directly created jobs on a thousand acres 30 miles east of Columbus and 90 minutes from Dayton, $20 billion of investment into two planned semiconductor factories and thousands of other expected jobs, state leaders said at a formal announcement Friday afternoon.

It’s Intel’s first greenfield manufacturing project in four decades.

“We bring to Ohio today great news — Intel has chosen Ohio,” DeWine said in a ceremony at the Midland Theater in Newark.

“This is our first major site announcement in 40 years,” Pat Gelsinger, Intel chief executive, a native of Pennsylvania, said at the theater, a few hours after a visit to the White House Friday. “As you’ve seen in our history, we come to a site and we build for a long time.”

Here’s what Intel plans:

--- $20 billion investment to build a new factory in an attempt to help alleviate a global shortage of chips powering everything from phones to cars to home appliances while also signaling the giant company’s commitment to manufacturing crucial technology products in the U.S.

--- The move could also create a new technology hub in central Ohio as related businesses that support chip manufacturing open new facilities and bring expertise to the region.

--- Intel said two planned factories, or fabs, will support its own line of processors as well as its new “foundry” business, which will build chips designed by other firms. Existing chip foundries turn out a vast number of custom-designed chips, mostly in Asia. The business is currently dominated by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., or TSMC.

--- The future production site aims to meet multiple needs, Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger said during a White House event. Chips built there won’t just reduce supply chain pressures, he said, but will also bolster U.S. national security while bringing more tech jobs to the region.

--- The two factories on a 1,000-acre site in Licking County, just east of Columbus, are expected to create 3,000 company jobs and 7,000 construction jobs. The facility will support tens of thousands of additional jobs for suppliers and partners, Intel and local and state officials said Friday.

Planned total investments could reach $100 billion over the next decade at “full build-out,” Gelsinger said.

“This site in going to be strengthening Ohio’s leadership in research and high technology,” he added.

What the state is calling a “megaproject” is the largest single private-sector investment in Ohio’s history, expected to generate more than 20,000 jobs, including 3,000 direct Intel jobs earning an average of $135,000 per year, with benefits, 7,000 construction jobs over the course of construction, and tens of thousands of additional indirect and support jobs including contracted positions, electricians, engineers and other jobs.

“If there’s a concrete truck in the state of Ohio not working for me next year, I want to know about it,” Gelsinger said.

“This is a major win for Ohio, and it’s really a gamechanger,” the governor said, adding that 40 states competed for the development.

“And we won — we won. They chose Ohio,” DeWine said.

Ample water supply, colleges and universities, a geographic location within a day’s drive of 60% of the nation’s population and other attributes inspired the California company to build in Ohio, the governor said.

News had leaked about plans for the project in recent days and weeks, and in the pre-dawn hours Friday, DeWine confirmed on Twitter that Intel will invest $20 billion to build dual production facilities in Licking County, in what his office called “the largest single private sector company investment in Ohio’s history.”

The factory will be technologically advanced, making some of the most complex products ever known. A fast-growing array of devices — smart phones, appliances, medical devices and much more ― depend on silicon chips, the brains of computers, and production of automobiles worldwide has been slowed if not at times stopped altogether during the pandemic for want of a “two-dollar chip,” said Gelsinger.

Indeed, a third of inflation’s increase today can be attributed to the slowdown in production of automobiles, said Gina Raimondo, U.S. secretary of commerce, who was in Ohio for the ceremony.

“The demand for semi-conductors is truly unprecedented today,” the Intel CEO said.

He emphasized that Intel needs the federal “Chips Act” to pass Congress. The White House said the legislation will provide $52 billion to spark more private-sector investments.

Since the beginning of 2021, the semiconductor industry has announced nearly $80 billion in new investments in the United States through 2025, the Biden administration also said.

“If we want to compete globally, we have to invest domestically, and that’s what this is all about,” said Raimondo.

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