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President Joe Biden proclaims ‘industrial Midwest is back’ during Intel groundbreaking in Ohio

Biden at Intel groundbreaking
Andy Chow
/
Statehouse News Bureau
President Joe Biden at Intel groundbreaking ceremony in Licking County on September 9, 2022.

A large, bipartisan group of leaders — including President Joe Biden and Gov. Mike DeWine — gathered at the site of Intel’s new semiconductor manufacturing plant, just outside of Columbus, for a groundbreaking ceremony.

There was a buzz of excitement throughout the venue leading up to the ceremony, with different demonstrations and videos playing inside a tent where people gathered before the event.

Those displays were captioned with two main phrases “Ohio Let’s Build” and “A Future Made In America.”

Biden looks to the future

Biden said the Intel plant is a major step towards that future, where more high-tech products — such as advanced semiconductor chips — are developed and manufactured in the U.S.

“The industrial Midwest is back,” Biden said, with the large, open construction site behind him. “That's what you'll see in this field of dreams. PhD. engineers and scientists, alongside community college graduates. Skilled craftsmen and women. People of all ages, races, backgrounds. With advanced degrees or no degrees. Working side-by-side doing the most sophisticated manufacturing that's ever been done.”

The groundbreaking ceremony was originally scheduled for July, but Intel delayed the event until Congress passed the $52 billion CHIPS Act. Biden said that measure, which provides subsidies and credits to the semiconductor industry, was a vital move for America.

“Federal investments attract private investment. It creates jobs. It creates industries. It demonstrates we're all in this together,” said Biden.

DeWine administration takes victory lap

Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, and other officials in his administration used the groundbreaking ceremony as a platform to emphasize what Ohio has to offer.

DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted have been credited with playing a big role in landing the Intel plant over 39 other locations.

“By choosing Ohio, Intel has recognized what we have known all along. And that is, there is simply no better place to raise a family than Ohio, no better place to live, no better place to start or to grow a business. And no place, no place that provides more opportunity than the state of Ohio,” said DeWine.

The $20 billion plant is expected to lead to 7,000 construction jobs and 3,000 long-term jobs at Intel.

“This is a great victory. And it is just the beginning. In the days and months and years to come there will be many more victories in Ohio because we are investing in and preparing our young people and our older people for the future,” said DeWine.

Intel plant sparks more ‘opportunities’ in Ohio

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, emphasized the impact of the new project and said it’s a “new day” for Ohio.

“The days of corporate lobbyists pushing government to look for cheap labor and outsource jobs are over. This is a new manufacturing industrial policy with good union involvement, with good wages. Made in America, built in America. It's going to make a huge difference in people's lives,” said Brown.

Congressman Troy Balderson, a Republican, said Intel recognized the opportunities that Ohio can provide by doing business in the state.

“We have great leadership here, we have great communities, all forms of government work together from the local all the way up to the federal and I think that's very important. But more importantly, it's the constituents, it's the people that live in these communities that are going to work hard to make sure that we do the right things and hold us accountable too,” said Balderson.

Sen. Jay Hottinger (R-Newark), Senate president pro tempore, said he was recently at a conference with other state leaders from around the country. As he recalled, Ohio’s new Intel plant was a major topic of conversation.

“There were a lot of state leaders around the country really bemoaning the fact that they lost out to Ohio. It was kind of like a half ‘congratulations’ but there are some states that are really taking it really hard. I think this puts Ohio on the map,” said Hottinger, who added that the arrival of Intel to Ohio will likely lead to other suppliers following suit.

A lot of conversation at the groundbreaking ceremony also revolved around the workforce along with the education and training to support that workforce. Bruce Johnson, president and CEO of Inter-University Council of Ohio, said the state’s institutions of higher education are ready to take on that role.

As for Ohio’s reputation to the rest of the world, Johnson said, “If you haven't been looking at Ohio, you missed the boat. Intel knows that. Their supply chain now knows that. Great manufacturers like Honda know that. Google right down the street. Amazon. I mean, this is a destination worldwide."

Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.