Arizona leaders say the Grand Canyon State is one of a handful of states that is poised to significantly benefit from the Chips and Science Act, which on Wednesday received final U.S. Senate approval.
The bipartisan bill, which contains billions in government incentives for semiconductor manufacturing and research, was created to increase domestic manufacturing and compete with countries that currently make most of the world’s supply of chips.
In addition to more jobs and millions in investment from the dozens of semiconductor-related companies looking to move to Arizona, state leaders say the bill will help propel Arizona forward to emerge as a science and technology hub.
“This is the next chapter of Arizona’s economy before your eyes, we’re not only becoming a national leader in so many of these areas, but now we’ll be on the global stage,” Chris Camacho, CEO of Greater Phoenix Economic Council said at a press conference on Wednesday. “That’s very different than the past in Arizona in terms of an agrarian economy driven by [agriculture], then ultimately military into a lot of tourism and homebuilding — the next chapter is centered on microelectronics hub development with many other industries that are not born yet.”
Arizona is currently home to Intel Corp.’s (Nasdaq: INTC) manufacturing campus, which is undergoing a major expansion, and the planned Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. factory, as well as multiple suppliers. In addition, Arizona State University turns out thousands of engineers each year and is launching a new advanced manufacturing and network engineering school at its Polytechnic Campus in Mesa.
“We’ve tripled down on the expansion of engineering, we’re working with dozens and dozens of other companies, not only in the micro electronics space, but in all the spaces on which this kind of high-tech foundation and workforce can be co-dependent and interdependent on each other,” said Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University in the press conference. “I’m confident this will leapfrog Arizona into one of the five leading science and technology-based driven economies in the country and this is a big step in that direction.”
Additionally, under the New Economy Initiative, ASU plans to spend $75 million to create three science and technology centers that will work in conjunction with industry to further advance the state’s semiconductor sector. Crow said that Arizona will emerge not only as a leader for the manufacturing, design and development of advanced microchips, but also the research of of manufacturing systems.
While the bill waits a final vote from the U.S. House of Representatives, it will take time for the Arizona Department of Commerce to assign and distribute funds from the bill. U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Arizona, said the legislation will lower costs for everyday goods and strengthen Arizona’s position as a leader in the production of manufacturing of semiconductors.
“It does appear to me that Arizona will benefit as much as any other state, if not more, with TSMC and Intel and the possibility of other chip companies and all the other ancillary companies coming here, we’re very well positioned to benefit from this legislation,” Kelly said Wednesday.
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