BY D’ARCY PATRICK EGAN
Ohio’s leaders are celebrating as major manufacturers have announced billions in investments that will bring thousands of well-paying jobs to the Buckeye State.
The biggest news was a decision last week by global semiconductor manufacturer Intel Corporation to choose a site in central Ohio’s Licking County as the future home for its most advanced semiconductor manufacturing facilities in the world.
Intel plans to invest more than $20 billion to build two state-of-the-art factories by 2025, designed for what the company calls the “Angstrom era” — with materials processed on the atomic level — and with support for Intel’s most advanced process technologies.
Intel’s objective is to grab a vastly increased share of the global semiconductor supply chain. They are the “chips” that power electronics, and are in short supply around the globe.
For Ottawa County and Northwest Ohio, just as important was the announcement in August that Peloton Interactive Inc., the exercise equipment giant, will build its first U.S. manufacturing plant in Luckey, Ohio in Wood County, just a few miles from Western Ottawa County. The company expects to create more than 2,000 full-time positions, generating $138 million in annual payroll. The Peloton plant should open in 2023.
Also in August, solar energy company First Solar broke ground on a 3.3GWdc manufacturing facility in Lake Township, also a stone’s throw from Western Ottawa County. The First Solar manufacturing facility is a $680 million investment and has 1.8 million square feet of manufacturing capability. It is expected to come online in the first half of 2023.
Ottawa County has a population just barely north of 40,000, but the latest developments just across the county border are a slam dunk to bring prosperity.
“The manpower and support those businesses will need to support operations of their state of the art plants is tremendous,” said Ottawa County Commissioner Mark Stahl. “For example, water plants in the area will be gearing up to provide them with many millions of gallons of water they will need each and every day.
“These companies are not only great for state and regional governments, but for every county big and small in Ohio. The fact that Ohio successfully competed with dozens of other sites on the east and west coasts of the country to get these companies to build here says a lot about Ohio.”
Could Ohio become the Silicon Valley of the Midwest in a few years?
“We want people to come to our area to live, work and play,” said Stahl. “That’s why it is so important to showcase our area, which we’re doing with the new Park District of Ottawa County and The Arts Garage in Port Clinton, as well as the exceptional recreational and entertainment venues already here, including Lake Erie.”
Intel Corporation is the mega-project Ohio has long wanted and needs most to become the Silicon Valley of the Midwest. It will be the largest single private sector company investment in Ohio’s history and generate more than 20,000 jobs, including 3,000 direct Intel jobs earning an average of $135,000 per year, and 7,000 jobs over the course of plant construction.
Intel is forecast to also bring and tens of thousands of indirect and support jobs, and expected to add $2.8 billion to Ohio’s annual gross state product. More than 140 Ohio businesses around the state are already Intel suppliers. The project is expected to bring additional new businesses to Ohio to support the supply chain.
“We are excited to call Ohio home to Intel’s first new manufacturing site in 40 years,” said Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger. “We take an important step toward our goal to rebalance global chipmaking capacity and help boost production to meet the surging demand for advanced semiconductors, powering a new generation of innovative products.”