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New York to share $6.1B federal grant for semiconductor project

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(The Center Square) — The Biden administration is touting $6.1 billion in funding for a semiconductor plant in upstate New York that supporters say could dramatically boost domestic U.S. chip production to compete with China.

The U.S. Department of Commerce said it reached a preliminary agreement with Micron Technology to provide direct funding under the CHIPS and Science Act for the company’s semiconductor plant in Syracuse, a project that has promised to invest $100 billion in the state’s economy and create tens of thousands of jobs.

President Joe Biden visited New York on Thursday to announce the grant money and tout his administration’s economic policies as he campaigns for a second term in office against former President Donald Trump.

He boasted that Micron’s New York project and one like it in Boise, Idaho — which will share the CHIP grant announced this week — will create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs and help develop the U.S. semiconductor industry.

“These new — brand new — facilities are going to produce the most sophisticated, powerful, leading-edge memory chips in the entire world,” Biden said in remarks in Syracuse with state and federal officials and company executives. “They’ll make everyday things faster, lighter, smaller, and more reliable. And it’s about time.”

Biden announced that the commerce department will also set up a “workforce hub” in upstate New York to help meet the training needs of the semiconductor industry and spur additional private investments in the region.

Micron’s project is touted as the largest private investment in New York and Idaho’s history, expected to create more than 70,000 jobs, including 20,000 direct construction and manufacturing jobs and tens of thousands of indirect jobs, according to the company.

“This is a historic moment for semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S.,” Micron President and CEO Sanjay Mehrotra said in remarks on Thursday. “Micron’s leading-edge memory is foundational to meeting the growing demands of artificial intelligence, and we are proud to be making significant memory manufacturing investments in the U.S., which will create many high-tech jobs.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said during Thursday’s event in Syracuse that the public and private investments will help create a “semiconductor super-highway” through the state.

“From smartphones to AI to our nation’s most sensitive defense technologies, the memory chips Micron makes are in nearly every product of our modern economy, but as the pandemic showed when we don’t shore up our supply chains and make these chips in America it can sky rocket prices and threaten our national security,” Schumer said in remarks.

Semiconductor chips are used in a range of consumer electronic products, including smartphones, computers, refrigerators, cars, trucks and other vehicles.

The 2022 CHIPs law, which was approved with bipartisan support, was a response to strained supply chains from China during the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused chip shortages in the United States and globally. China is one of the world’s largest producers of semiconductor chips. Lawmakers who approved the legislation said it would help create a domestic chip industry, creating jobs and ultimately lowering costs for manufacturers.

Other federal CHIPS grants have gone to semiconductor projects in Arizona, Ohio, New Mexico, Oregon and Texas, according to the Biden administration.

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