Community leaders in Central New York welcomed the news last year that a major technology firm wants to open a facility just north of Syracuse.
Micron Technology Inc. plans to construct a computer chip fabrication plant in the White Pine Commerce Park in Clay. The project is expected to create at least 50,000 jobs statewide over the next few decades.
Micron’s plant would include the nation’s largest clean room space at 2.4 million square feet, the size of about 40 football fields. Clean room spaces are vital for companies that produce electronics. They are controlled environments designed to filter out pollutants.
Micron is the fourth-largest producer of semiconductors in the world, and it intends to invest up to $100 billion over the next 20-plus years to construct the campus in Onondaga County — this will be the largest private investment in state history. At $20 billion, the first phase of investment should be finished by 2030.
U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., played a lead role in helping to bring Micron to this region. He sponsored the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors and Science Act, which was signed into law Aug. 9.
Schumer pursued the CHIPS and Science Act, and his efforts paid off. The law is designed to create jobs and boost economic growth by investing in U.S. semiconductor manufacturing.
Companies such as Micron may claim a 25% federal tax credit on the cost of construction and equipment purchases for new chip fabrication facilities. Micron officials said they wouldn’t be able to proceed with their plans to construct a plant in Clay unless they could take advantage of this tax benefit.
“The federal subsidies were included in the CHIPS and Science Act, which set aside $52 billion worth of incentives to lure chipmakers back to the United States as a national security priority,” according to a story by the Post-Standard in Syracuse published Sunday by the Watertown Daily Times. “Micron is preparing its application for the CHIPS money. The guidelines from the [U.S. Department of Commerce] were released a little over a month ago. Semiconductor manufacturers will compete for a share of $39 billion in federal grants available to chipmakers who build new plants in the United States or expand their domestic chip production.”
Ensuring that Micron has the funding needed to construct its facility on the 1,400-acre site is one key part of this process. Another is creating job-training opportunities for the new employees that Micron will hire.
“More than 20 leading universities, from SUNY to Harvard, have formed a Northeast consortium to provide training for workers at Micron, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer announced [April 10],” the article reported. “The colleges can eventually apply for a share of a pot of more than $2 billion.”
Schumer met with two Micron executives and Sethuraman Panchanathan, director of the U.S. National Science Foundation, at Syracuse University on April 10. They discussed how to training individuals for the jobs to be offered. The Micron executives who attended the summit were Manish Bhatia, executive vice president of global operations, and April Arnzen, senior vice president and chief people officer.
“Without job training, you’re not going to get it done,” Schumer told the Post-Standard. “This is as concrete as it comes because what’s this ultimately all about two things: U.S. leadership and jobs, jobs.”
The Post-Standard also reported that Onondaga County officials are working behind the scenes to prepare the area for this facility. According to the newspaper, substantial hiring is expected to start in 2025 with production beginning in 2026.
It’s good that colleges and universities will be involved in drafting curriculums designed to meet the demand of Micron’s workforce. Much work will need to be done before ground is broken, but it sounds as though authorities have come up with well-crafted plans to accomplish this goal. This bodes well for this project, which holds great potential for upstate New York.
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