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Biden signs CHIPS Act, $1.8B semiconductor plant a step closer near Purdue
Work could start on West Lafayette plant in 2023, company says. Plus, this year’s Tyler Trent Courage and Resilience Award winner, McCutcheon grad Eric Magallenes
Today’s edition is sponsored by the ongoing support of The Long Center for the Performing Arts, which is presenting country singer Justin Moore to Loeb Stadium Sept. 2. For details and tickets, click here and scroll through today’s Based in Lafayette reporting project.
The CHIPS and Science Act was touted last month as the hinge for a $1.8 billion SkyWater Technology semiconductor facility at Purdue's Discovery Park District in West Lafayette. At a July announcement, state, university and company representatives said the plant could bring 750 high-paying jobs within five years of opening.
So, plenty of local eyes were on the White House Tuesday morning, as President Joe Biden signed the measure that channels some $52 billion meant to ramp up semiconductor research and development in the U.S.
On hand in the Rose Garden Tuesday morning: U.S. Sen. Todd Young, an Indiana Republican who first introduced the CHIPS and Science Act in 2020. And Thomas Sonderman, president and CEO of the Minnesota-based SkyWater Technology.
“It’s good to see the CHIPS Act signed into law,” Tim Doty, a Purdue spokesman, said. “It moves SkyWater, Purdue and our community one step closer to a breakthrough initiative.”
Sonderman said, in a statement released by SkyWater after the measure was signed into law: “Over the past five years, SkyWater has set out to be ‘America’s foundry’ – to do our part in the reshoring of semiconductor manufacturing. Semiconductors are at the center of our national security and cross all sectors of our economy; positioning the U.S. to regain the leading edge in research, innovation and manufacturing while developing crucially needed technology talent is at the heart of our company.”
Young, who received compliments across the aisle from U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer for his work on the bill, framed it in national defense terms: “Today, America goes on offense against the Chinese Communist Party. We have a national security imperative to ensure we don’t fall behind China in technological innovation, and getting this legislation enacted into law will help ensure America’s global leadership role in science and technology.”
From Biden, via NPR: "Today America is delivering, and I honest to God believe that 50, 75, 100 years from now, people who will look back on this week, they'll know that we met this moment.”
That moment still means SkyWater, Purdue and the state need to put together a proposal for work and a plant in West Lafayette, set to be a 600,000-square-foot semiconductor manufacturing facility just west of Purdue’s campus.
“Now that the legislation has passed, the next step is for the Department of Commerce to put together the protocols for project submissions,” Tara Luther, director of corporate communications with SkyWater, said Tuesday.
“We will submit a proposal with Purdue and Indiana,” Luther said. “If we are successful, we expect to be able to break ground in 2023. From there, it will take 30 (to) 36 months to begin production.”
The plans follow a concerted effort at Purdue and in the Greater Lafayette region to create a semiconductor hub here.
In June, the university and Taiwan-based MediaTek announced a partnership that will put a chip design research center in Purdue’s Discovery Park District, in a deal expected to bring 30 jobs to West Lafayette.
The partnership came on the heels of Purdue’s launch of its semiconductor degrees program and a collaboration with Ivy Tech Community College in the microelectronics field, part of a university and statewide attempt to pull the high-tech industry toward research centers away from the coasts.
And in 2021, in its 74-page ask for Indiana’s Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative, a six-county Greater Lafayette region included plans to build up semiconductor infrastructure, hoping to build on the region’s “existing strengths in designing, prototyping and performing reliability analysis for chips” to eventually persuade existing semiconductor manufacturers to locate here. The plan, at the time, said it had a $1.5 billion potential for a region centered around Greater Lafayette and Purdue.
TYLER TRENT SCHOLARSHIP WINNER’S STORY: Great story yesterday IndyStar reporter Dana Hunsinger Benbow had on McCutcheon High School grad Eric Magallenes, announced Tuesday was winner of the 2022 Tyler Trent Courage and Resilience Award at Purdue. Magallenes, pursuing a degree at Purdue that will lead him to a career in dentistry, is recovering from cancer discovered in early 2020 on his tongue, a development that forced him out of school before returning with plans to graduate in spring 2023. The scholarship – named for Trent, a Purdue student who rose to campus and national prominence during his battle with cancer before dying in January 2019 – goes each year to a Purdue undergrad dealing with “serious physical or similarly daunting adversity in their pursuit of higher education." For the story, here’s a link.
For more, here’s a university-produced video of Magallenes’ story …
Thanks to The Long Center for the Performing Arts for its support and sponsorship of today’s edition of Based in Lafayette. For details about upcoming shows, including Justin Moore at Loeb Stadium on Sept. 2, click here for tickets and more.
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