On Friday INTEL issued a press release announcing the companies bigger endeavor in years. The people of Licking County, Ohio, are about to find out what tens of thousands of jobs can do to their communities. The news will certainly have investors running to buy homes and land in the area to get in front of the coming wave of tech and construction jobs that are slated to rise up starting in 2022. The press release makes it clear that this is the “biggest private sector investment in Ohio history”.
“As the largest single private-sector investment in Ohio history, the initial phase of the project is expected to create 3,000 Intel jobs and 7,000 construction jobs over the course of the build, and to support tens of thousands of additional local long-term jobs across a broad ecosystem of suppliers and partners. Spanning nearly 1,000 acres in Licking County, just outside of Columbus, the “mega-site” can accommodate a total of eight chip factories – also known as “fabs” – as well as support operations and ecosystem partners. At full buildout, the total investment in the site could grow to as much as $100 billion over the next decade, making it one of the largest semiconductor manufacturing sites in the world.
Planning for the first two factories will start immediately, with construction expected to begin late in 2022. Production is expected to come online in 2025, when the fab will deliver chips using the industry’s most advanced transistor technologies. Ohio will be home to Intel’s first new manufacturing site location in 40 years.
In addition to Intel’s presence in Ohio, the investment is expected to attract dozens of ecosystem partners and suppliers needed to provide local support for Intel’s operations – from semiconductor equipment and materials suppliers to a range of service providers. Investments made by these suppliers will not only benefit Ohio but will have a significant economic impact on the broader U.S. semiconductor ecosystem. As part of today’s announcement, Air Products, Applied Materials, LAM Research and Ultra Clean Technology have indicated plans to establish a physical presence in the region to support the buildout of the site, with more companies expected in the future. (See accompanying quote sheet for more details.)
“The impact of this mega-site investment will be profound,” said Keyvan Esfarjani, Intel senior vice president of Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Operations. “A semiconductor factory is not like other factories. Building this semiconductor mega-site is akin to building a small city, which brings forth a vibrant community of supporting services and suppliers. Ohio is an ideal location for Intel’s U.S. expansion because of its access to top talent, robust existing infrastructure, and long history as a manufacturing powerhouse. The scope and pace of Intel’s expansion in Ohio, however, will depend heavily on funding from the CHIPS Act.”
Those of you from Hillsboro who remember what Hawthorne Farms, Jones Farm, and Ronler Acres looked like before INTEL came, will see a familiar pattern unfolding in Ohio. The company buys massive amounts of land, spends massive amounts of money, and employs a lot of people. The results include rising home prices, billions in economic expansion, and wealth accumulation, along with traffic, power, water, and other environmental challenges.
Some INTEL executives we spoke to, who all asked to stay off the record, indicated that this is a sign the company is moving on from Oregon. This is not to say the company is leaving Oregon. That is not what we are hearing at all. But the growth of the largest semiconductor manufacturer in the world in Oregon may well be over. This may be why the last few large industrial sites in Hillsboro have not been purchased by the company; something they easily could have done.
The Ronler Acres Campus is one of the largest Fabs of its kind in the world and employs thousands of people. The Ohio site, however, is much larger in size at 1,000 acres and the press release indicates that 8 fabs can fit on the site as well as Intel Foundry Services. Further notes indicate that the US Government and our military could rely on chips and technology made at the Ohio locations. This announcement signals officials here in Oregon that the company may be done investing here, at least for now. Not to worry. The company will remain the largest in Oregon for many years to come and dictate the tone of the economy here in Washington County (Or). The COVID 19 pandemic has driven the demand and the cost of computer chips way up. The company remains the premier manufacturer in the USA and the growth of the company seems to be unbridled and guaranteed.
The CHIPS ACT is moving through the US Congress and House and will provide up to $57 Billion dollars in funds to pay for companies like INTEL to expand here in the US. This is being done to make sure the US can rely on INTEL and others to design and manufacture top-tier technology. This is a huge issue for national security and our ability to grow our economy. More here on the CHIPS ACT and why INTEL’s new CEO Pat Gelsinger, was here in Oregon during December of 2021. https://www.oregonlive.com/silicon-forest/2021/12/intels-ceo-comes-to-oregon-stumping-for-billions-to-aid-his-industry-and-his-company.html
INTEL has responded through their Hillsboro, Oregon Office with the following answers to our questions.
“The Ohio announcement affirms our commitment to Intel’s factory network, which includes Intel’s Oregon operations. With over 22,000 employees and over $49B invested since 1974, Oregon is Intel’s heart of R&D and will remain critical to Intel’s factory network. Our latest Oregon expansion, Mod 3 is currently underway, and is critical to support the development and ramp of future Intel leading-edge technologies. In 2021, we hired over 2,000 highly skilled technicians and engineers in support of our IDM 2.0 goals, and we expect to continue hiring as we enter 2022. Intel regularly explores opportunities for future expansion and growth as part of our normal business operations, including here in Oregon. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners in Oregon.”
Elly Akopyan (she/her)
INTEL Communications Manager | Public Affairs
We wish INTEL and the thousands of INTEL Employees the best of luck in all aspects of their pursuits and recognize the impacts made here in Oregon.
1/28/2021: Editors Note/Opinion: The Hillsboro Herald continues to be a news leader in our community, releasing stories long before other mainstream media pick them up. This story was followed and echoed in 5 major news sources. One of them is an editorial piece from Pamplin Media that you can read right here-We Lost Intel Because Ohio Worked Hard For Them
The TV News Stations picked up this as well.
We received some attacks towards our reporting from various Face Book warriors and Intel apologists for this story. Our story did not suggest they should leave nor do our staff want them to. It is time however that we look beyond the company’s 40 years of dominance of our daily political and economic lives. A Hillsboro beyond Intel could be a very peaceful and healthy one. One way to think about the future. We will continue to bring you the stories that matter.