From Chandler, Arizona to New Albany, Ohio, NBC4 Investigates is looking into how Intel can transform a community – from the vantage point of a community that’s gone through it – in our series The Intel Impact.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Ohio lawmakers are pushing Congress to allocate funding for the CHIPS Act, a measure that could help boost the Intel project in Columbus.
In addition to the 7,000 construction jobs Intel said it’ll take just to build a semiconductor chip factory in central Ohio, it’ll take about 3,000 workers to pump out the product.
Will central Ohio be ready to provide those jobs?
From cars to computers, semiconductor chips power the things we rely on every single day, and Intel plans to make those chips in a fabrication plant it hopes to open in 2025.
Of the roughly 3,000 people Intel is looking to hire, the company said roughly 70 percent of them will be technicians, 25 percent will be engineers, and five percent will be support staff.
This isn’t the first time Intel has embarked on such a massive hiring project.
“When Intel came to Chandler, we were very much an agricultural community,” said Kevin Hartke, mayor of Chandler, Arizona, where Intel already operates a semiconductor factory.
Hartke said the plant opened about 40 years ago in the Phoenix suburb.
“We call ourselves and are viewed by others as a city of innovation,” Hartke said of the perception of the city these days.
Even in what was once a community of farmers, much of Intel’s workforce at the Chandler plant is homegrown.
“They’ve worked with our educational institutions, whether community colleges, our ASU, Arizona State University, or University of Arizona, to really transform their engineering schools to train more engineers that will work at these types of fab,” Hartke said. “So, my son who is a Chandler-raised kid works at Intel as an engineer.”
And Intel looks to do the same in New Albany. The company plans to invest about $100 million into Ohio’s universities and community colleges over the next decade.
There’s another way Intel’s workforce has reshaped Chandler.
“Chandler also has the highest diversity of any city in all of Arizona,” Hartke said.
According to the U.S. Census, nearly half the people living in Chandler are a racial or ethnic minority. Percentage-wise, Chandler also has larger Black and Asian populations than the average community in Arizona.
“We’ve seen diversity in Chandler as a tremendous asset, not just new great restaurants from different communities, but new cultures,” Hartke said. “I’ve seen many of our immigrants embody and remind us again and again and again, what is the American Dream, which, if you come here, if you plant roots, if you work hard, you can succeed, you can be prosperous, and they’re going to see that too.”
Intel’s vice president of Global Talent Acquisition said the company hopes to hire a 50-50 workforce of men and women at the Ohio plant.
The company has donated millions of dollars to STEM programs at historically Black colleges and universities, as well as programs that promote STEM education for girls.
The average salary for Ohio’s Intel plant will be $135,000 per year, and the company said roughly 30 percent of that talent will likely be relocating to central Ohio from somewhere else.
With so many well-paid professionals added to central Ohio’s economy, there’s little doubt it’ll have a ripple effect well beyond the tech sector.