On Friday, Sept. 9, Intel broke ground on a $20 million semiconductor plant in New Albany. Political leaders from both sides of the aisle, including President Joe Biden and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, delivered remarks at the event. New Albany, a suburb of Columbus located in Licking County, is approximately 30 miles from Kenyon.
Intel announced Ohio as the winner of the new facility location in January over bids from 39 other states. In June, groundbreaking on the plant was delayed barring the passage of the CHIPS and Science act, which invested $52.7 billion in the American semiconductor industry. CHIPS passed through Congress with bipartisan support and was signed into law by Biden in August. According to Intel, the plant will employ at least 3,000 people with an average salary of $135,000, as well as producing 7,000 construction jobs as the plant is built. The plant, which is projected to start producing chips in 2025, will be the largest semiconductor facility in the world.
Beyond creating jobs in the region, Intel has pledged to invest $100 million in educational partnerships over the next decade. Acting President Jeff Bowman discussed how the development will create new opportunities at Kenyon. “We’ve had conversations with the people at Intel, the Ohio 5 have, and talked about what future opportunities might be,” he said. “That’s a little bit further down the line, because they have to build the thing before they can start hiring people to work there, but it’s going to have a significant effect.”
The groundbreaking event came in the midst of heated political campaigns gearing up in Ohio: the governor’s race between DeWine and democratic challenger Nan Whaley, and a one-point race for an open senate seat between Rep. Tim Ryan (D) and Republican candidate J.D. Vance. The event avoided partisan tensions, though Vance did not attend. Also invisible were tensions between Ryan and Biden. Ryan has distanced himself from Biden, suggesting Biden should not run for reelection in 2024.
At the event, Biden connected Friday’s groundbreaking to his broader efforts to revitalize American manufacturing, a priority for him since the campaign trail. More recently, Biden has emphasized increasing manufacturing in the United States as essential in the wake of supply chain issues and inflation. “We need to make these chips right here in America to bring down everyday costs and create good jobs,” he said. “Industry leaders are choosing us, the United States, because they see America’s back and America’s leading the way.”
Biden and Ryan, as well as Republicans including DeWine and Sen. Rob Portman (who will retire this year, leaving vacant the seat Ryan and Vance are running to fill), praised the plant as a bipartisan success.
“This is what happens when you stop the stupid fights that I keep talking about,” Portman said. “I hope this is an example of what can be if we just let go of the age of stupidity and move into the age of possibility, which has Ohio front and center.”
Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, speaking at the event, said the plant opening represents a new era for manufacturing in the Midwest. “The Rust Belt is dead and the Silicon Heartland begins,” he said.