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Secretary of Commerce: How We'll Spend $50 Billion to Dominate Semiconductors

Feb. 24, 2023
“The research, innovation and manufacturing sparked by this law will enable the United States to be the technological superpower, securing our economic and national security for the next generation.” —Gina Raimondo

Last year's CHIPs Act created a $50 billion pool of cash to invest in boosting America's semiconductor industry. How does the government plan to spend that, and what are the goals?

  • The U.S. will design and produce the world’s most advanced chips domestically.
  • America will have at least two new large-scale clusters of leading-edge logic fabs with specialized infrastructure, R&D facilities and robust supplier ecosystems.
  • The U.S. will become a global leader with its multiple high-volume advanced packaging facilities.
  • The fabs will “produce advanced memory chips on economically competitive terms.”
  • The country will have strategically increased production capacity for current-generation chips as well as mature-node chips that are used in cars, medical devices, and other instruments for economic and national security.

Those priorities came from a speech given Thursday at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service titled “The CHIPS Act and a Long-term Vision for America’s Technological Leadership,” by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.

$39 billion has been allocated for incentives to encourage domestic semiconductor manufacturing; $11 billion has been invested in semiconductor R&D. The first application for commercial manufacturing building and expansion with CHIPS funding will launch next week. Looking forward, further funding opportunities for supply chain companies and R&D will become available in the coming months.

Click here for details of more than a dozen recent semiconductor plant announcements.

Raimondo remarks that the country needs more than government investment, calling on the private sector to invest in the industry and supply chain, noting that CHIPS for America is designed to spur private investment, not replace it. “If we do our job right, the $50 billion of public investment will crowd in $500 billion or more of private investment of additional funding for manufacturing, for research and development, for startups,” she said.

To create the workforce needed for these goals, Raimondo issues a call for colleges and universities to triple graduates in semiconductor-related fields. She also implores high schools and community colleges to train 100,000 technicians in the next 10 years.

Raimondo adds the importance of construction workers to the mission, estimating the need for over 100,000 workers to build the needed facilities. “We will not succeed without the trained workforce to meet this mission,” she said.

Raimondo emphasizes how far domestic production has fallen, noting that the U.S. accounted for 37% of global chip manufacturing capacity in 1990, compared to only 12% today. “It was manufacturing – not creation of algorithms, not software, not internet – it was manufacturing of hardware, making things, that powered that engine of innovation,” she said.

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