Several organizations in Indiana have been working on initiatives to bring more semiconductor production to our state, and recent news indicates that we’re more than ready to get things rolling. In fact, one of our regions was ranked among the best locations in the country for having a workforce prepared to fill critical roles in the semiconductor industry.
In a study from workforce data analytics firm Lightcast, the Elkhart-Goshen area was named 8th in the nation for semiconductor workforce readiness. This ranking evaluated the occupations with the newest demand, the top undersupplied occupations, and the number of similarly skilled workers in a given area.
Good Timing to Be in the Top 10
As the Lightcast study explained, the one of the biggest decisions that semiconductor manufacturers will make is the choice of where to build their new factories. Indiana might be a standout in this arena.
The authors said, “Deciding where to establish a new semiconductor plant relies on countless factors, including current industry presence, other nearby plants, or the cost of land. But a crucial factor in semiconductor production is the workforce responsible for the producing. To see which regions are best prepared for semiconductor manufacturing, we created a metric called the Regional Labor Force Readiness Ranking. This ranking measures readiness in terms of workers either available now or ready to reskill in the most highly-demanded and undersupplied semiconductor jobs.”
Based on that metric, Indiana’s Elkhart-Goshen region stood out among the best options in the country. This news comes at an opportune time for our state, as officials have been keen to attract new investments and potentially capture some of the incentives available under the CHIPS and Science Act that was signed into law in 2022.
The CHIPS and Science Act is a massive federal program that earmarks $280 billion in spending over the next ten years to onshore more semiconductor production. About $52.7 billion of that money is for semiconductor manufacturing, R&D, and workforce development, with another $24 billion worth of tax credits for chip production.
The White House said that “America invented the semiconductor, but today produces about 10 percent of the world’s supply – and none of the most advanced chips.” That’s a big problem, given that semiconductors are found in just about every piece of technology. Bringing more production home is vital to our supply chain strength and national defense.
Beyond the Factory
Here in Indiana, investments made under the CHIPS act may go much further than new factories and jobs. There is a 25 percent investment tax credit for capital expenses made for the manufacturing of semiconductors and related equipment. Plus, the bill requires recipients to show significant investments in their communities and workforce, including opportunities for small businesses and disadvantaged communities.
With all the activity happening lately, the semiconductor sector in Indiana has seen a range of big developments over the last few months. A focal point of this is the work taking place at some of our major universities.
Notre Dame signed a memorandum of understanding last summer to establish the Midwest Regional Network to Address National Needs in Semiconductor and Microelectronics. The network has expanded to include 24 universities and five community colleges with the goal of advancing semiconductor research and innovation.
Also, under Indiana’s new Accelerating Microelectronics Production & Development (AMPD) task force, representatives from industry as well as Indiana University, Ivy Tech Community College, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Notre Dame, and Purdue University will be working together to support microelectronics research and innovation.
Several investments from semiconductor companies have also come about. Minnesota-based SkyWater Technology plans to build a $1.8 billion state-of-the-art semiconductor manufacturing facility in the Discovery Park District at Purdue, which will create 750 new direct jobs within five years after opening.
Also, work on a new $84 million microelectronics campus is underway at the WestGate@Crane Technology Park in Odon, IN. Already, four semiconductor companies have signed on to establish operations at the campus.
Lookin’ Good, Indiana
With a ranking in the top 10 nationally for a workforce ready region, Indiana is going to be looking mighty attractive to semiconductor companies looking for a new place for production. That’s a great thing for a pro-manufacturing state like ours and could lead to several major new points of economic development for Hoosiers in the near future.