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8/17/22
Semiconductor Task Force Report Sets the Stage for Unprecedented Expansion in the Industry

Sharing on behalf of Oregon Business Council

Media Contacts:
Andrew Desmond, andrew@orbusinesscouncil.org, (253) 677-3230
Bart Eberwein, eberweinb@gmail.com, (503) 880-7877

(Hillsboro, OR) – Today, Senator Ron Wyden, Governor Kate Brown, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, and Maria Pope, CEO of Portland General Electric, held a press conference to release the Oregon Semiconductor Competitiveness Task Force’s report. Since March, the Task Force has analyzed Oregon’s semiconductor industry and how it can continue to thrive, grow, and create prosperity and opportunity for all Oregonians.

As a leader in US semiconductor research, design, and production, Oregon has an extraordinary opportunity to intentionally create the jobs and investments the state needs to create a stronger, more deliberately equitable economy. Revenues from the industry can broadly impact Oregonians across the state, including support for critical community priorities such as homelessness, affordable housing, and education.

Port of Portland Executive Director, Curtis Robinhold, said, “With expanded investments in the domestic semiconductor industry, Oregon has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build on our manufacturing strengths and shape a more equitable economy.”

In July of 2022, Congress passed the $52 billion CHIPS and Science Act. This funding creates a once-in-a-generation opportunity to greatly expand domestic semiconductor manufacturing and design, securing Oregon’s leadership in the global market. Edward Feser, Provost and Executive Vice President of Oregon State University, stated that “capitalizing on this advantage can lead to more jobs, higher incomes, and more tax revenues to support valued public services.”

“The work of the task force is a jumpstart to a unique opportunity,” Adrien Bennings, President of Portland Community College said. “Our work provides insight into industry impact, advanced manufacturing needs, and educational and workforce dynamics. Overall, the recommendations are intended to advance collaborative efforts across the state to solidify our position as a global leader in the semiconductor industry and create a sustainable future workforce.”

On August 17th, the task force will hold a press conference and release their report, Seizing Opportunity, on key factors that impact semiconductor manufacturing, Oregon's competitiveness in those areas, and options to position Oregon to attract industry investment.

Seizing Opportunity lays out an economic roadmap for Oregon that builds on our competitive advantage in the semiconductor industry, and capitalizes on our greatest natural resource – our people,” Lisa Skari, President of Mount Hood Community College, said.

Key Takeaways from the Report:

  • Research and Development Strength: Semiconductor research and development is Oregon’s competitive advantage. Oregon's strategy to secure chip investment should focus on solidifying a world-class innovation ecosystem around chip research and production.
  • Workforce: Premier access to talent and a robust, private-sector led innovation ecosystem gives Oregon another competitive advantage. To preserve this advantage, Oregon needs to invest in workforce training across the talent continuum, from entry-level positions to PhDs.
  • Land: To attract semiconductor manufacturers, the state needs more buildable industrial land. Oregon’s land use system and infrastructure investment programs need urgent legislative attention and investment to address this need.
  • Incentives: Oregon needs to become more competitive on incentives. Other states offer incentive packages that are both larger and more specifically tailored to the semiconductor industry.
  • Regulation: When it comes to governmental oversight, from permitting new facilities to environmental regulations, the subcommittee chaired by Governor Kate Brown reviewed “best practices” from competing states and identified the importance of forming stronger partnerships with manufacturers and streamlining the permitting process.

According to Monica Enand, CEO of Zapproved, “Oregon has the unique opportunity to lead” and grow Oregon’s semiconductor sector. However, the state also faces significant barriers that must be overcome for this opportunity to be realized. Leaders must act quickly to capitalize on this moment to preserve and grow our global leadership in the industry.

Metro Council President, Lynn Peterson, said, “The most important thing we can do, as a region, to prepare for the jobs of the future is to invest in development. That means making sure we have the pipes, roads, and schools that we need to attract new employers – both for the physical infrastructure of new job sites, and the human capital of skilled workers.”

Bennings concluded, “It is critical that we continue to steward cross-sectoral partnerships to leverage the new and upcoming resources from the CHIPS Act and state investments like Future Ready Oregon, championed by Governor Brown. These partnerships and investments will help reach and support the training and development of the next wave of workers in Oregon.”

See the full report here.

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