President Joe Biden speaks after breaking ground on Intel’s $20 billion semiconductor plant

President Joe Biden traveled to Ohio on Friday to celebrate the opening of Intel’s new $20 billion semiconductor plant, one of the first domestic chip-making facilities to come out of the recently passed CHIPS and SCIENCE Act.

Intel’s opening ceremony on Friday marked the start of construction of what the company calls “the largest silicon manufacturing facility on the planet.” It’s part of Intel’s plans to invest $100 billion in Ohio over the next 10 years. The company said the project would involve building two separate factories and, upon completion, could employ more than 7,000 workers to build a facility that would employ 3,000 workers.

Intel had previously delayed the plant’s July opening ceremony because its plans depended on “funding from the CHIPS Act,” which Congress had yet to approve. But after a summer of debate, Biden last month signed a $280 billion tech and science bill that he called “a generational investment in America.”

A bilateral agreement to boost American innovation against growing Chinese competition in the tech industry is expected to protect US economic and national security interests after a global semiconductor shortage. The onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 disrupted global chip supply chains, making it more difficult for device makers to source semiconductors for their products. At the same time, demand for these items increased as offices closed and people began working from home.

“As we saw during the pandemic, when the factories that make these chips are closed, the chips are closed. The global economy is at a standstill,” Biden said Friday on the Intel site. “We need to make these chips in America to lower day-to-day costs and create good jobs.”

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger joined Biden in the ceremony, which he said marked the end of the Rust Belt and the beginning of the “Silicon Heartland.” Other major chip makers announced plans for new domestic semiconductor facilities after the bill’s passage. Earlier this month, Micron said it would invest $15 billion to build a new plant in Idaho. On Friday, Wolfspeed announced a $5 billion investment to build a new semiconductor facility in North Carolina.

“Today we created a future that every Ohioan can be proud of,” said Ohio candidate for U.S. Senate, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) said in a statement Friday. “This multi-billion dollar investment is the culmination of an unprecedented collaboration between federal, state and private sector leaders that will transform Ohio’s economy and provide future generations with the opportunity to build sustainable middle-class lives at home.”

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