WVXU: Intel bringing semiconductor chip factory to Ohio

UC economics professor says investment means Ohio is a manufacturing hub

Semiconductor chip manufacturer Intel recently announced it will construct a $20 billion factory northeast of Columbus. According to WVXU, the development would not only become Ohio’s first “chip factory” but would employ 3,000 workers, with each employee averaging $135,000 annually.

Michael Jones, PhD, associate professor of economics at the University of Cincinnati’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business, said Intel’s investment reflects Ohio’s manufacturing capabilities.

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Michael Jones, PhD, associate professor of economics at the Carl H. Lindner College of Business.

“We know what we’re doing in manufacturing,” Jones said. “Even though historically we’ve done a lot of car manufacturing and aircraft engine manufacturing, so the opportunity to work in the semiconductor industry I think is exciting for the state.”

Jones is looking forward to the positive ramifications of what is being billed as the largest private-sector investment in Ohio’s history.

“Ohio has made significant investments,” Jones said. “Just recently the Cincinnati Innovation District here with the University of Cincinnati received $100 million from the state to grow its workforce where thousands of new employees trained in STEM fields.”

Per WVXU, though Intel has four chip plants in the U.S., 75% of semiconductors are made in Asia in Taiwan, South Korea, China and Japan. Semiconductor chips are essential for cars, cell phones, medical devices and other products, and customer demand during the pandemic has created a scarcity of available chips. 

Rashmi Jha, PhD, and a professor in electrical engineering and computer science at UC's College of Engineering and Applied Science, said semiconductor jobs moving offshore has created a workforce shortage.

“If the students can’t find a job in the areas we teach them, over time those areas will vanish, right?” Jha said. “So the fact that Intel is opening here will also promote educators to train the workforce in this area.”

See more from WVXU.

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