Oregon Cities

Gov. Kotek says Oregon should be home of proposed federal semiconductor center

Gov. Tina Kotek says Oregon is the obvious choice for more federal funding to advance the national semiconductor industry, and she’s among a number of top state officials pushing to host a national research and development center.

In February, the Biden Administration committed to spending as much as $5 billion in CHIPS Act funding to create a National Semiconductor Technology Center. Guidelines have yet to be released on how states can compete to host the center, but Gov. Kotek made her case for why Oregon should be at the top of the list while speaking at an Intel event in Hillsboro on Monday.

“We have all the ingredients to be successful: world-class talent, leading edge semiconductor company, strong partnerships with our higher education institutions, and the foundational support,” Kotek told the room of elected officials, Intel representatives, and state college and university leaders. “These elements will propel us into the future — and we are sending a clear message to our friends of Washington DC that we want that center here.”

In this provided photo, Intel's High Numerical Aperture Extreme Ultraviolet lithography tool in a clean room at Intel Corporation's Fab D1X in Hillsboro, Ore., in April, 2024. The 165-ton High NA EUV tool was built by ASML and is the first commercial lithography system of its kind in the world.

In this provided photo, Intel’s High Numerical Aperture Extreme Ultraviolet lithography tool in a clean room at Intel Corporation’s Fab D1X in Hillsboro, Ore., in April, 2024. The 165-ton High NA EUV tool was built by ASML and is the first commercial lithography system of its kind in the world.

Courtesy of Intel Corporation

Kotek said there is no other place in the U.S. with the same level of semiconductor research and manufacturing as Oregon. She pointed to Intel’s work implementing a cutting edge tool meant to help build more efficient chips. Intel hopes the first-of-its-kind machine will cement the company and Oregon as a leader in emerging semiconductor technology.

In March, the industry — which includes companies that research, develop, design and/or manufacture computer chips — employed around 33,000 Oregonians. State economists estimate that number will grow by around 3,000 jobs over the next eight years.

Oregon companies and universities have already received billions in federal CHIPS Act funding. State lawmakers have started to dole out funding as well with a promised $200 million to support the industry. Economists watching Oregon’s semiconductor firms say that money will help speed up planned expansion projects and spur more research.

Recent investment in semiconductor facilities and equipment is one reason for the Governor’s pitch to host the national center. Another is the number of higher education programs focused on growing the state’s semiconductor workforce.

Speaking at the Intel event on Monday, Portland Community College president Adrien Bennings said training for the industry is not one size fits all. She pointed to high-tech degrees that take years to earn at PCC, as well as short-term certificate programs, including a 10-day course sponsored in part by Intel.

“The program has now graduated 299 students with 87% of graduates completing interviews with Intel, 54% placed in jobs in the semiconductor industry, and 8% continuing to upskill through PCC,” Bennings said. “This program is also focused on diversifying the semiconductor workforce, and 78% of participants are women or students of color.”

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