NEW ALBANY, Ohio (WCMH) — From kindergarten to college, schools in central Ohio can expect a big boost in funding, technology, and enrollment thanks to Intel.
The tech giant is building a massive semiconductor chip factory in New Albany, promising to bring thousands of high-tech jobs.
When Intel announced the project in January, company executives said Intel will play a role in educating its future workforce in its own backyard.
Colleen Flannery, as chief technology officer for the Chandler, AZ Unified School District, has watched her school system benefit from Intel, which began operating its Chandler semiconductor factory in 1980.
“I started (working) in Chandler 25 years ago, and I believe we had one high school,” she said. “And we had about 12 elementaries, and three junior highs. We are now the second largest school district in Arizona, and we have about 45,000 students.”
Flannery credits Intel for fueling that growth, and not just in the student population.
“There is funding, there is access to experts, and just an overall partnership to develop a program,” she said.
Over the years, Flannery said Intel has provided grants to train Chandler teachers on technology. Intel is also part of a $2 million partnership to provide every student in Chandler with a laptop and develop the learning process to get the most out of the technology.
“It’s very reciprocal,” Flannery said of the district’s relationship with Intel. “They look to us as a partner to develop their workforce, to also provide education for folks that are moving into work in their plants, and also to learn from us on what they’re developing works in education, and how they can help us improve that process.”
When it comes to higher education, Intel partners with community colleges in Maricopa County, where Chandler is located. The company also has partnerships with four Arizona universities, including Arizona State University and the University of Arizona.
Intel has already announced a partnership for new programs at The Ohio State University and said it plans to invest about $100 million over the next 10 years with Ohio’s colleges and universities.
The company will start scouting talent at Ohio colleges this fall, to potentially hire graduates from the class of 2023.
In its five-year forecast released in April, the New Albany-Plain Local School District said it expects to see increases in enrollment because of the Intel plant and that the district will have to work with its community partners to understand any needs to expand as those needs become more clear.
Despite its location in New Albany, the plant will sit in the Johnstown-Monroe school district.
“I’m very excited,” said outgoing Johnstown-Monroe Superintendent Dale Dickson. “I think the future’s bright for this entire Silicon Heartland and all the schools in the area.”
Dickson said he has had multiple meetings with Intel and other local stakeholders to discuss issues such as workforce development, housing, and childcare. He said he will take part in another meeting this week to review potential curriculum to prepare local students for jobs at Intel, or other companies that are expected to follow Intel into Licking County.