The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has announced a nationwide competition between metropolitan regions to be designated as ‘Tech Hubs’. The Tech Hubs program was created under the CHIPS and Science Act. This program aims to invest in regions with the assets, resources, capacity, and potential to become globally competitive, within approximately ten years, in the technologies and industries of the future.
In September 2022, President Biden visited New Albany, Ohio for the groundbreaking of Intel’s $20-billion semiconductor fabrication facility, one of the largest and most advanced in the world. Calling the region the “Silicon Heartland,” President Biden underscored “the story of the field of dreams in the middle of Ohio where America’s future will be built.”
But turning that dream into reality requires that the Columbus-Southeast Ohio region (Region) marshal the capacity—financial, political, and institutional—to collaborate at a scale commensurate with the opportunity before us. Through a Tech Hubs designation, the Silicon Heartland-Appalachia Regional Engine for Semiconductors (SHARES) Consortium, led by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, will transform a high-potential emerging cluster into a globally competitive hub of high-performance computing, semiconductors, and advanced computer hardware and software. In doing so, SHARES would advance economic opportunity in the Heartland and bolster America’s economic and national security globally. Already, Columbus is the second-largest data center market in the Midwest and the sole emerging Midwest location for the most advanced chip production. Within KTFA 2, our selected core technology area is semiconductors, inclusive of fabrication and their use within high-performance computing and research and development (R&D). In addition to Intel’s historic investment—the largest project in Ohio’s history and among the top economic development announcements in North America in 2022iv—the Region has welcomed dozens of major investments in advanced cloud computing, such as Google and Amazon Web Services (AWS). Approximately $33 billion has been committed in KTFA 2 enterprises in the Region since 2015.
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