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Why it matters: United States President Joe Biden and Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger were on hand for Friday's much anticipated groundbreaking ceremony in New Albany, Ohio. The event marked the kickoff of Intel's state-of-the-art semiconductor facilities project following the recently enacted Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act. The 1,000-acre site has enough real estate to support up to eight fabrication plants.
Officials postponed the original groundbreaking scheduled for July due to funding delays related to the CHIPS and Science Act. The event marks a formal milestone in Intel's fabrication roadmap and is a significant step toward the company's ability to compete with existing semiconductor manufacturers worldwide. Passed in August, the CHIPS Act will provide $52.7 billion in incentives and tax relief for US-based companies engaged in semiconductor R&D, manufacturing, and workforce development.
The new state-of-the-art facilities will drive Intel's technological advancements, increase overall semiconductor availability for U.S. markets, and decrease the general reliance on external manufacturers such as TSMC and Samsung. Currently, Asian semiconductor manufacturing operations produce upwards of 80 percent of the world's chips and other semiconductor-related components.
According to Intel's initial plans, the new $20 billion fabrication campus will employ more than 3,000 skilled workers earning an average salary of $135,000 per year. Gelsinger said those numbers could increase over time. The Intel boss previously stated that the Act's passage could result in Intel's investment exceeding $100 billion. These numbers do not include the more than 7,000 skilled workers required to build the actual facilities.
Biden and Gelsinger weren't the only honored guests on hand at the event. Finn Ashby, an 8-year-old elementary school student from the local area, was spotted by company representatives making robots and participating in other children's activities at an Intel-sponsored tent at the local Hartford Fair earlier this year. Impressed with his enthusiasm, Intel representatives reached out to Finn's family and invited him to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony. Gelsinger introduced the young attendee, joking that the young technology enthusiast would someday be the CEO's replacement.
The new fabrication facilities will produce semiconductors and other components for automotive technology, computers, and mobile devices. Intel senior VP Randhir Thakur told The Columbus Dispatch that the facility would be "the most advanced fab in the country and the planet." Thakur currently leads Intel's new foundry services line of business, which will receive direct support from the new Ohio-based fabrication facilities.
Intel plans to complete initial construction at the Ohio location and begin semiconductor manufacturing operations sometime in 2025. The new facilities will undoubtedly attract other jobs and businesses directly related to the semiconductor manufacturing and distribution industries.