HILLSBORO, USA: President Barack Obama toured a modern microprocessor factory and spoke to local students and high-tech factory workers at Intel Corp.’s Oregon site, one of the largest and most advanced semiconductor research and manufacturing sites in the world. The theme of the President’s visit was innovation in America, and the crucial role of education in maintaining US competitiveness.
Intel president and CEO Paul Otellini said: “It is a great honor to host President Obama. Our country and this company have been built on innovation, and manufacturing has been at the heart of America’s economy for over a century. We share the President’s belief that with a culture of innovation we can and will retain a vibrant economy based on industries of the future.”
With more than 15,000 workers in Oregon, Intel is the state’s largest private employer. Intel’s growth helped lead Oregon’s transition from a natural resource economy based on timber and agriculture to a high-tech center of manufacturing and R&D, and helped spur a generation of spin-offs and new investments there.
During his visit, Obama toured Intel’s Fab D1D at the company’s Ronler Acres campus, a wafer fabrication facility that is an example of the leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing at Intel sites in Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico and other states. Such world-class manufacturing capability delivers a competitive advantage in the form of the most advanced transistors, helping fuel US exports into global markets. The US semiconductor industry is the country’s leading exporter when averaged over the past five years.
In comments before the President spoke, Otellini disclosed Intel’s plans to add 4,000 US jobs in 2011, primarily in product development and R&D. Otellini also announced an investment of more than $5 billion to build a new US fab at its Chandler, Ariz. site to produce future microprocessors. Designated Fab 42, it will be the most advanced high-volume semiconductor manufacturing facility in the world, and will result in thousands of construction and permanent manufacturing jobs in Arizona.
“This new factory will play a central role in extending Intel’s unquestioned leadership in semiconductor manufacturing,” Otellini said. “The transistors and chips it will produce will be the most dynamic platform for innovation that our company has ever created. Together they will enable more capable computers, the most advanced consumer electronics and mobile devices, the brains inside the next generation of robotics, and thousands of other applications that have yet to be invented.”
Previously, Intel announced plans to spend $6-8 billion over several years to upgrade several existing US factories and build a new development fab in Oregon. These activities, announced in October, would support approximately 6,000-8,000 additional US construction jobs during the building phase and eventually add up to 1,000 high-skilled, high-wage manufacturing jobs.
Shared commitment to education
Intel’s focus on education is based on the belief that young people are the key to solving the world’s challenges, and that a solid math and science foundation coupled with key skills such as problem-solving are the foundation for innovation. To that end, in the past 10 years alone, Intel and the Intel Foundation have invested more than $1 billion toward improving education.
In 2010, in conjunction with Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign, Intel announced a 10-year, $200 million commitment to advance education in math and science in the United States. Intel is also one of four founding companies of Change the Equation, a CEO-led initiative designed to answer the President’s call to move the US to the top in science and math education over the next decade.
During his visit, Obama met outstanding science and math students from Oregon, including two finalists of the Intel Science Talent Search, a high school team from the School of Science and Technology in Beaverton, Ore., and an all-girls middle school robotics team that competed in the Intel Oregon FIRST LEGO League State Championship the past three years.