President Biden visits Syracuse to celebrate $100 billion Micron deal
Biden visits to celebrate $100 billion Micron deal
Even as Air Force One’s wheels grazed the runway at Syracuse Hancock International Airport, Onondaga Community College’s gymnasium was bustling with excitement as thousands of attendees waited for President Joe Biden to make his way to the campus not far from his law school alma mater, Syracuse University.
Signs reading “A Future Made in America” decorated the stage and podium, secret service dogs sniffed attendees and camera shutters whirred in anticipation.
President Biden, joined by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and other political figureheads, visited Central New York to celebrate Micron Technology, Inc.’s decision to invest $100 billion in building a semiconductor manufacturing plant in White Pine Commerce Park in the town of Clay north of Syracuse.
Micron is a major manufacturer of semiconductor chips and is the only memory manufacturer based out of the U.S. The multi-billion dollar company’s investment in the “megafab” – a massive manufacturing plant – is a result of the recently passed, reluctantly bipartisan, CHIPS and Science Act, which offers semiconductor chip manufacturing companies such as Micron federal incentives to encourage domestic production of the chips that make our electronic devices work.
Sitting in the audience were the two Republican Congressmembers who backed the act, Rep. John Katko of New York’s 24th Congressional District in Syracuse, and Chris Jacobs of New York’s 27th Congressional District in Buffalo.
“John is Republican … and I like him a lot,” Biden said, receiving chuckles from the crowd. He reminisced upon the earlier days when he and Katko were part of Congress – a time when passing bipartisan legislation was not as arduous a task.
It’s not just federal incentives that coaxed Micron to set up shop in Clay – New York State now offers up to $10 billion in incentives as a result of the Green CHIPS legislation. Legislation like this hopes to encourage American manufacturing, specifically of key technological components like chips, recentering the industry domestically and reducing American dependence on business overseas.
“Over 30 years ago, America had more than 30% of the global chip production,” Biden said, “Then something happened. American manufacturing, the backbone of our economy, got hollowed out.”
Currently, America produces 10% of the chips manufactured globally. Due to Micron’s investment alone, Biden said that America’s share of global memory chips and production is expected to increase by 500%.
Over the next 20 years, Micron’s investment will support the development of the country’s largest semiconductor megafab, consisting of four 600,000-square-foot cleanrooms where the chips will be made. The OCC website defines a cleanroom as “an enclosed space used in manufacturing to keep particulates and other contaminants away.”
The project will bring 50,000 jobs to the region over this time span, 9,000 of which will entail high-level specialized jobs in fields like software engineering. “50,000 New York jobs,” Schumer said, “enough to fill every seat in the JMA Dome where Syracuse is going to beat Notre Dame this week.”
Once the megafab is complete, Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra speculates the site will be able to produce about four billion chips a year, furthering the growth of the American semiconductor industry noted by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) last year.
According to the SIA, “sales into the American market saw the largest increase, 27.4%, in 2021.”
“We chose Clay due to the state’s long history of semiconductor development and manufacturing, strong university network, a strong military and defense networking [that will] provide a pipeline of technical talent and a great quality of life for our future workforce,” said Manish Bhatia, executive vice president of Micron’s global operations.
Part of Micron’s investment includes a $500 million Community Investment Fund meant to support populations like veterans, minorities, women and rural residents, which would often be barred from economic opportunities like those created by the megafab plant.
“It will get people of all ages, of all walks of life, from the dad, looking to upgrade his career in manufacturing, or the little girl who dreams of being an engineer, it will give them all the education, the training, the support they need to build a life here in the community they grew up in,” Schumer said.
Micron’s commitment to stimulating upstate New York’s economy also extends to education – they’re fostering partnerships with local higher education institutions like OCC, implementing training programs that would prepare college students for the qualifications of a semiconductor manufacturing plant professional. OCC’s campus is working to craft a complementary curriculum for students interested in joining Micron, and is also going to have a cleanroom of its very own to offer students the opportunity to gain valuable experience working in the authentic environments used to produce the chips.
The event seemed to evoke widespread excitement from the crowd, eager to see an economic boom in a region that struggled economically for the past generation.
Hochul, a Buffalo native, spoke of her family’s personal struggle with the area’s economy.
“My dad made steel, my uncles made steel, but in 1982, when all those jobs went away, my brothers and sisters couldn’t find work. Unemployment was 15% where I came from, and it was all over upstate New York. We lost those jobs to Japan and China, southwest. The phrase in our family was the last one out the door, turn off the lights,” Hochul said.
When opportunity struck with Micron, Hochul refused to let it slip through the cracks.
Now, Micron’s commitment to plant seeds in Syracuse will be “transformational,” according to Schumer, breathing life back into the CNY economy, and in turn feeding the flames of the nation’s manufacturing spirit.
For Biden, it was a full circle moment, celebrating a major delivery for the American people in the town where he began his career and family.
“Hello Syracuse,” Biden said, “It’s like coming home.”