‘Silicon Heartland’: Biden shouts out Ohio’s $100 billion Intel project during State of the Union

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Posted at 6:29 PM, Mar 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-02 19:20:12-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio may just turn from a Rust Belt state to the Silicon Valley of the Midwest in a few years. In President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address Tuesday evening, he praised a multi-billion dollar project to revitalize the country’s supply chain.

“If you travel 20 miles east of Columbus, Ohio, you'll find a thousand empty acres of land and it won't look like much,” Biden said. “But if you stop and look closely, you'll see a field of dreams.”

People are putting a lot of hope in that field of dreams, and for good reason. Ohio is growing quickly, gaining the attention of one multi-billion dollar company.

“We have everything you can ask for when you combine that with a work ethic second to none for Buckeyes,” said Tim Burga, Ohio American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) president. “And we used to build things here that were second to none.”

Semiconductor maker Intel is spending $20 billion to create a 1,000-acre microchip factory site in Licking County, a 20-minute drive from downtown Columbus.

Burga said he couldn't be more proud that 10,000 jobs will be added right in Central Ohio. About 3,000 of those jobs are direct Intel jobs with an average salary of $135,000. The other 7,000 are construction jobs over the course of the build. But Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted say tens of thousands of jobs will be created indirectly from the site.

“It says a lot about who we are as a people,” Burga added. “It says a lot about our ability to get up and ask for the bell, answer the alarm clock, go to work and get the job done.”

Everything consumers depend on runs on computer chips – cars, phones and home appliances.

Right now, lawmakers say the U.S. relies on countries in Asia for these products. But with the supply chain and national security concerns, Intel wanted to bring these jobs home.

“We're thrilled about this and we just need to build on this momentum and repatriate this work back into the United States,” Burga said. “It's going to be a tremendous opportunity and Intel is going to see that the investment is going to pay off for them.”

An additional $2.8 billion is projected to Ohio’s annual gross state product, according to the legislators. But that's not all.

This could potentially be the biggest investment in manufacturing in American history. That’s because Intel said they would bump up their $20 billion to $100 billion.

With help from the CHIPS Act, which would provide more than $50 billion in subsidies to chipmakers, Intel would grow even faster.

“That's why we worked hard to put Ohio here, in what they call the Silicon Heartland, right here in Ohio,” Husted said. “It's going to ripple throughout Ohio in terms of job opportunities, educational opportunities, the growth of other supply chain businesses in our state.

“We're proud of what has been accomplished here. It's great to see it recognized on a bipartisan basis for the achievement that it is, and we hope that the federal government will act in passing the CHIPS Act because it will grow the site in Ohio even bigger and faster.”

The bill has already passed in the U.S. Senate, so Husted is asking members of the House to put any partisan differences aside and pass this bill.

“Don’t bet against Ohio,” Burga added.

Whether the CHIPS Act gets passed or not – Intel said construction is set to begin later this year. It could be finished by 2025.

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