Biden Cabinet Secretaries Tour an Industrial Heartland University that Will Provide a Semiconductor Workforce Pipeline

By Matthew McMullan
Sep 14 2022 |
Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Purdue President Mitch Daniels, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) participate in a public discussion following a tour of Purdue University’s microelectronics facilities. Purdue University photo/Charles Jischke

Purdue’s degree programs show the CHIPS Act’s investments beginning to take root.

The CHIPS Act only passed a month ago, but it’s already begun generating activity in the domestic semiconductor industry.

That figures. It’s an enormous bill. But that’s what makes it so important: It’s unlikely the U.S. would be seeing this kind of investment from semiconductor manufacturers without it. A few weeks ago, Micron announced it would be investing $40 billion in the United States over the next decade; the company said Monday that $15 billion of it would go into a chip fabrication plant in its home state of Idaho. Last week, Intel broke ground on a $20 billion chip fab outside of Columbus, Ohio. There was another factory announced in North Carolina, and another was announced for upstate New York.

This is all good and important news, because being able to produce these little computer chips is incredibly important to all kinds of manufacturing industries. They go in everything, and everything won’t run without them. It’s important to national economic security that we’ve got the domestic capacity to produce them ourselves.  

This is why the CHIPS Act’s political backers have been out and about, drawing attention to these investments, and it’s why they – including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo – were in Indiana on Tuesday for a tour of a nanotechnology laboratory at Purdue University and a brief on the semiconductor degrees it offers and its workforce development programs.

They call Purdue “Astronaut U” because of its strong science programs, and it’s no secret this research university is a good fit to work on semiconductor R&D. The workforce it produces is what helped secure a $1.8 billion promise this summer of a semiconductor manufacturing facility for the school’s industrial park.

Said Raimondo in the Lafayette Journal & Courier:

The CHIPS Act is an investment in America. It’s actually the biggest investment in the kind of industrial policy, research and development that we’ve seen in a generation in America. And it will unleash not only R&D, but the opportunity to create hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs in the semiconductor industry all over America, including in the heartland, right here in Indiana.

You can watch a discussion of the investments the CHIPS Act has spurred below, in which secretaries Blinken and Raimondo are joined by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), who sponsored the bill, and Purdue University President Mitch Daniels: