“Telling the Stories of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community”

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“Telling the Stories of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community”

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April 2, 2024

President Biden Visits the Valley to Announce Semiconductor Investment

By Chris Picciuolo

President Joe Biden was in the Valley on March 19 and 20 to visit semiconductor manufacturer Intel’s Ocotillo campus in Chandler. He was there to announce that the U.S. Department of Commerce has reached a preliminary agreement with Intel to provide up to $8.5 billion in direct funding and $11 billion in loans under the CHIPS and Science Act, which he signed into law in 2022.

The U.S. currently produces less than 10% of the world’s semiconductor chips and none of the most advanced ones.

President Biden Visits the Valley to Announce Semiconductor Investment

The Biden administration said that nearly 30,000 jobs will be created in Arizona, Ohio, New Mexico and Oregon from the agreement. Of those jobs, Arizona will see the creation of over 3,000 manufacturing jobs, 7,000 construction jobs and thousands of indirect jobs.

In Arizona, the White House said that the funding will help construct two new leading-edge logic fabs (semiconductor fabrication plants) and modernize one existing fab, which they said will significantly increase manufacturing capacity to produce Intel’s most advanced semiconductors in the United States.

In attendance for the announcement was Gila River Indian Community Governor Stephen Roe Lewis, GRIC Council member Lalena Jackson and Ak-Chin Indian Community Chairman Robert Miguel. Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community President Martin Harvier was invited by the White House but was unable to attend.

Lewis then invited the Gila River Basket Dancers to perform a traditional basket dance.

“This is a proud moment for the entire Gila River Indian Community as our dancers start today’s event in a good way. In a traditional way. In a sacred way. And we welcome all of you here with an especially warm and heartfelt welcome to our president, President Joe Biden,” Lewis said.

“The partnership that exists between the GRIC and Intel is evident as we start today’s program,” Lewis told the audience of press and others. “I want to acknowledge the lands, what we call our O’odham Jewed, that we are on, the traditional lands of the Akimel O’odham and Piipaash. These are the lands that bore witness to our greatest challenges but also offer us our greatest hope for the future.”

Also speaking at the event were Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and U.S. Representative Greg Stanton.

As the press waited for President Biden’s arrival on the stage, the Arizona State University Sun Devil Marching Band provided entertaining renditions of popular songs. Biden walked out to the band playing “Hail to the Chief.”

“During the pandemic, we had to learn about supply chains and the shortage of semiconductors—those tiny computer chips you all out here know very well, smaller than the tip of your finger, that power everything from … your cell phones, cars, dishwashers, satellites and weapons systems,” Biden said at the podium in Chandler.

“America invented these chips. Don’t forget that. We invented these chips. And over time, some thought it was cheaper to send the manufacturing overseas because labor was cheaper. As a result, when the pandemic shut down chip factories overseas, the prices of everything went up—and for the first time Americans began to realize just how important they were.” Biden said that the manufacturing jobs will have salaries that average more than $100,000 a year, and they don’t all require a college degree.