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Biden announces up to $8.5 billion in preliminary funding for Intel 

The White House on Wednesday announced a preliminary agreement with Intel for up to $8.5 billion in funding to help the semiconductor manufacturer expand in four states, including the company’s research and development hub in Hillsboro. 

The deal, which also includes another $11 billion in loans, will help Intel build and expand facilities in Arizona, Ohio, New Mexico and Oregon. President Joe Biden traveled to Chandler, Arizona on Wednesday to an Intel facility and announced the agreement between Intel and the U.S. Department of Commerce. 

The funding is part of a larger plan in Oregon to create thousands of well-paid, high-technology jobs in the state. Oregon’s footprint in the semiconductor industry is already wide: About 15% of the nation’s semiconductor workforce lives in Oregon, while the state only has about 1.3% of the U.S. population. 

Microchip Technology Inc., which has a Gresham facility, reached a $162 million agreement with the federal government in January to modernize and expand its Oregon and Colorado facilities. 

Intel said it plans to spend more than $100 billion across the nation in the next five years to increase its ability to make semiconductors, which power cell phones, electric vehicles, refrigerators and defense technology. 

 In Oregon, Intel is putting more than $36 billion into its Hillsboro research and development hub, the company said. Intel plans to expand and modernize its facilities with advanced lithography equipment to make semiconductors of miniscule sizes. Intel also will do more research and development in the years ahead in Oregon. 

“Today is a defining moment for the U.S. and Intel as we work to power the next great chapter of American semiconductor innovation,” Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said in a statement. “(Artificial intelligence) is supercharging the digital revolution and everything digital needs semiconductors. CHIPS Act support will help to ensure that Intel and the U.S. stay at the forefront of the AI era as we build a resilient and sustainable semiconductor supply chain to power our nation’s future.”

Plans for 10,000 jobs

Nationwide, Intel’s expansions will create an estimated 10,000 new permanent jobs, almost 20,000 construction jobs and another 50,000 indirect jobs with suppliers and related industries. 

Intel, which has more than 23,000 employees at its Oregon site, said in a statement that the expansion would support “several thousand” new permanent and construction jobs. The company declined to provide a more specific estimate or range of jobs that would entail for Oregon.

Oregon lawmakers have seen the potential for semiconductors to grow the state’s economy. In 2023, state lawmakers passed – and Gov. Tina Kotek signed – Senate Bill 4, which provides $210 million to the semiconductor industry.  The bill allowed Kotek to award $90 million to Intel for its Hillsboro expansion. 

The legislation is intended to make Oregon semiconductor companies more competitive when they applied for a piece of the $52 billion in federal money that Congress made available through the CHIPS and Science Act to expand semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. That act led to Biden’s announcement on Wednesday.

“Today marks another good news chapter for Oregon in the ongoing story of wins from the CHIPS Act for good-paying jobs in our state,” U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said. “The continuous federal investment in the Silicon Forest and its central role in world-class innovation means a stronger economy in Washington County and significant statewide ripple effects for employment opportunities that benefit Oregonians.”

Hillsboro Mayor Steve Callaway praised the deal as an economic boon for the region. Intel has partnered with schools for training and internship programs as it seeks to grow the semiconductor workforce. 

“These investments will continue to drive innovation and expand the semiconductor industry ecosystem throughout the Silicon Forest — solidifying the Gordon Moore Park campus at Ronler Acres as the premier hub, and heart of Intel’s innovation, for leading-edge semiconductor research and development in the United States,” Callaway said in a statement.

This story originally appeared in the Oregon Capital Chronicle and is republished here under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license. Read more stories at oregoncapitalchronicle.com.

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