In The “Silicon Heartland”

Ohio generally, and central Ohio specifically, got some good news on Friday, when Intel and Ohio governmental leaders announced that Intel will be building a semiconductor manufacturing “megasite” in southwestern Licking County, just across the Franklin County line. Intel will be investing $20 billion initially to construct two new factories on a nearly 1,000-acre site, but the project could ultimately house up to eight factories and become “the largest semiconductor manufacturing location on the planet.”

That’s why some people have started calling central Ohio the “Silicon Heartland.”

Local and state officials are thrilled because the project will create jobs. The project will be the largest private-sector investment in Ohio history. The Intel megasite is expected to create 7,000 construction jobs as the first factories are built, 3,000 jobs during its initial phase, and more than 10,000 long-term jobs. The average salary for the long-term jobs is expected to be around $135,000.

Obviously, the combination of Intel’s investment and the creation of high-paying jobs will be a boon for the local and state economy. Intel also is expected to invest in local community colleges and universities. And state officials anticipate that additional companies will locate in Ohio to do business with the Intel facilities–which is what happened when Honda built its motorcycle, automobile, and engine plants in Ohio and suppliers moved into the area to provide the parts and other services Honda needed.

Virtually every electronic gizmo we use in the modern world has a semiconductor, and there is currently a semiconductor shortage that has caused manufacturing delays for many products and devices. The initial Intel plants won’t solve the short-term supply issue–the goal is for them to be fully functional by 2025–but they will help to provide a long-term solution. And there is strategic value in maintaining significant semiconductor production in the United States.

Welcome to the “Silicon Heartland,” Intel! We’re glad you have come, and we think you’ll like it here.