Off Campus

Biden visits Syracuse to tout Micron federal funding

Biden touts Micron funding during Syracuse visit

The president’s remarks at the MoST Museum to promote $6 billion in money for the new Clay plant also met with protests.

Alternative Text
Nicole Hopwood
President Joe Biden speaks to an audience about the Micron deal at the Museum of Science and Technology in downtown Syracuse on Thursday.

President Joe Biden visited Syracuse’s Museum of Science & Technology (MoST) Thursday afternoon to address the direct federal investment of $6.14 billion into Micron Technology under the CHIPS and Science Act. The investment will bring two semiconductor fabrication plants, known as “fabs,” to Clay, New York and Boise, Idaho.

President Biden took the podium a few minutes after 2:30 p.m., standing in front of the navy blue backdrop with his agenda plastered beside him: “Investing in America.” The lacquered model plans hanging above the room were stagnant even with the audience roar.

“Hello, hello, hello! It’s good to be back in Syracuse,” Biden began before recognizing the recent deaths of two Syracuse police officers. He weaved in his own personal grief before announcing the Micron investment. 

“$6.1 billion in CHIPS funding paired with $125 billion from Micron to build these facilities here in New York and [in] Micron headquarters in Idaho,” the president relayed. “Even though America invented these advanced chips, we don’t make any of them here: Zero, zero. That’s why, today, this is such a big deal.”

With President Joe Biden aboard, Air Force One lands at Syracuse International Airport on April 25, 2024. Biden is in Syracuse to celebrate his CHIPS program that led to Micron building a multi-billion dollar semiconductor facility in Clay, NY.
Arthur Maiorella
With President Joe Biden aboard, Air Force One lands at Syracuse International Airport on Thursday.
President Joe Biden chats with NY Governor Kathy Hochul and House Majority Leader Chuck Schumer after exiting Air Force One at Syracuse International Airport on April 25, 2024. Biden is in Syracuse to celebrate his CHIPS program that led to Micron building a multi-billion dollar semiconductor facility in Clay, NY.
Arthur Maiorella
President Joe Biden chats with New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer after exiting Air Force One at Syracuse International Airport on Thursday.

The president’s 16-minute address included a minimum of $40 million in CHIPS funding for training and workforce development. The funding will be used in the curation of four workforce hubs throughout the U.S., including one in Upstate New York. 

The regional hub, supported by The Department of Commerce in conjunction with the Departments of Education and Labor, will train potential workers through partnerships with labor unions, employers and education and training providers.

“Thousands of workers will be trained in these facilities,” Biden said. “So many young people who are qualified and want to and are capable were going to never know they have the capacity.”

The fabs, supplemented by those trained in the hub, will bring 9,000 permanent Micron jobs to Clay, many of which the president said maintain a yearly salary of $100,000. “It doesn’t require a college degree,” he added.

The economic effort is part of the administration’s Investing in America agenda. The agenda supports the curation of domestic manufacturing jobs to promote Biden’s pro-worker and -union stance. 

Alternative Text
Nicole Hopwood
“New York is the place to be,” said New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on the thousands of incoming jobs for the Micron plant in Clay.

Boasting the 15 million new jobs created in his three-and-a-half years in office, Biden didn’t shy from attempts to appeal to the audience for his re-election. “The middle class built this country, unions built the middle class,” he said before audience applause and whistling. The statement came after reiterating his plans to be the most pro-union president in American history. 

In October 2022, President Biden visited Onondaga Community College in central New York where he delivered federal investment plans of $100 billion under the CHIPS and Science Act. Passed in July 2022, the Act approved the government for $280 billion in public spending for domestic production of semiconductors, an integral element in modern technology. 

During his 2022 visit, Biden joined the U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Micron in acknowledging the company’s plans to penetrate Syracuse and bring jobs to the region.

Now, not two years later, Micron’s investment in New York and Idaho is predicted to create over 70,000 jobs between the two states. The investment also marks the largest private investment in New York and Idaho’s history. For Biden, this signals “a comeback.”

“That’s the story you see in this community and in communities nationwide: Hallowed out, robbed of hope,” Biden said of cities dependent on manufacturing. “But not on my watch.”

In Clay, the investment will contribute to the construction of two of the four planned “megafabs” for DRAM chip production, often utilized for computer memory. The four fabs will have the largest amount of cleanroom space in the United States.

In Boise, the investment will support the development of a high-volume manufacturing fab, also utilized for the production of DRAM chips. The fab will be co-located with the company’s existing facility to improve research, development and manufacturing operations through a reduction in technology transfer lags and product time-to-market.

“American manufacturing is back!” Biden reiterated.

Speakers take center stage

Alternative Text
Nicole Hopwood
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer thanks Micron Technologies CEO Sanjay Mehrotra for helping bring the deal to life.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul began the address by acknowledging the two recent Syracuse police deaths and asking the audience to participate in a moment of silence. She continued listing commonalities between her and the president, their knowledge of the Syracuse community being the most important.

“We bleed orange,” Hochul said before the audience erupted in applause.

After honing in on Syracuse’s economic history dating back to the Erie Canal, she lamented that in recent years, New York’s manufacturing sector has been in a state of decline. According to her, Micron is changing the landscape. “You start to give up hope,” Hochul said in response to the demise of upstate New York’s factory-dependent economy. “You question, ‘Are better days really behind us?’” 

She referred to Micron as “a growth-oriented company with a clear vision.” The company, Hochul said, enables the future to arrive today.

“We’re changing the psychology of this community and all of upstate New York,” she said. “We’re bringing back hope. President Biden, thank you for bringing hope back to Upstate New York and it’ll forever be changed because of you.”

After a brief address from Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon followed U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“We are building, we are rebuilding, upstate New York’s economy one microchip at a time,” Schumer said. “America’s future will be built in Syracuse, not in Shanghai.”

Emphasizing the unionization of workers, Schumer said the Micron plant will be built with “the largest PLA – progressive labor agreement – ever in American history.” The simple phrase, “Made in Upstate New York,” he said, will characterize the best chips in the world. 

Micron Technology President and CEO Sanjay Mehrotra took the stage after the Senate Leader saying, “Today we are celebrating an investment in America’s Future.” 

Shannon Thomas, a second-year electrical apprentice and member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, introduced President Biden underscoring the importance of a unionized workforce in the Biden-Harris administration.

“I want to give a special thanks to President Biden,” Thomas closed. “Remember, he made this promise two years ago, he kept his promise.”

Protestors call for
Protestors call for “Genocide Joe” to leave Syracuse, outside the MoST science museum in downtown Syracuse on Thursday.
“From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” chant the protestors gathered outside the MoST in downtown Syracuse on Thursday.

Protestors make presence known

Over 50 people gathered parallel to MOST’s north entrance protesting Biden’s military aid to Israel. Standing on the corner of Armory Square behind a metal barricade, individuals held signs reading “Syracuse says no to Genocide Joe” and “GENOCIDE JOE WHAT DO YOU SAY HOW MANY KIDS WILL YOU KILL TODAY.”

A single voice cried, “Hey hey ho ho, the occupation has got to go!” while the remainder of the crowd’s boos became echoes of the chant.

A joint statement to President Biden, signed by several local pro-Palestinian organizations across Syracuse University and Rochester, read, “You represent a government with a history of actions that actively contribute to genocide, occupation and white supremacy. There can be no business as usual in our city while this government is enabling atrocities across the globe.”

Micron’s interest in Syracuse faces criticism from community members as the city already experiences a housing crisis that is expected to worsen with the creation of the Clay fab.

“You provide no assurances that this deal will not further violate this community’s lands and waters or that it will not further divert resources from those who are most in need,” the statement continued. “You promise job growth but we know that the most impacted in the city of Syracuse will not be able to benefit from this development.” 

The joint statement closed with a rejection of Biden’s presence.

“We the undersigned residents of Syracuse and Central New York unite in a spirit of togetherness to reject your opportunistic visit to our city,” it read. “We reject your presence here and, in our embrace of human rights and justice, we say you are not welcome in Syracuse.”

The anger of the statement rang through the protest’s chants. “Joe Biden what do you say?” the protesters chanted. “How many kids did you kill today?”