Why Manufacturing Matters: Intel's 40 Years in Arizona
By Bob Swan, Intel CEO
Today is National Manufacturing Day, a great time to acknowledge the growth of manufacturing in Arizona and its positive impact on the state. Today is especially significant to Intel because this month we celebrate 40 years of manufacturing in Arizona.
In October 1980, the first silicon wafers came off our production line at Fab 6 in Chandler. That marked the start of what is now one of Intel’s largest manufacturing sites. Four decades later, Arizona is now home to 12,000 of the brightest minds helping Intel define the future of technology. It is Intel’s tech that powers our world’s digital infrastructure — allowing us to connect, invent and advance, even through the unprecedented challenges of 2020.
Arizona is also home to Intel’s newest, leading-edge manufacturing facility: Fab 42 in Ocotillo. The opening of Fab 42 is the culmination of a $7 billion investment that created 3,000 new high-tech, high-wage jobs at Intel, including process and facilities support engineers, equipment technicians and more. The project was among the biggest construction efforts in the U.S. and helped create about 10,000 new Arizona jobs from start to finish. Fab 42 connects to three other Intel fabrication plants, making the site our first mega-factory network. It manufactures our newest generation of leadership products, which will power hundreds of millions of computing devices worldwide.
Manufacturing is important not only for the delivery of essential products, but also because it makes communities stronger. Intel has invested roughly $23 billion in capital expenditures in Arizona, and our manufacturing operations contribute $8.3 billion annually to the state’s economy, according to an Arizona State University study. Our manufacturing presence powers the local economy, attracting talent, suppliers and other businesses.
Caring for the communities where we operate has always been important to us. I’m proud to say that over the past five years, Intel employees have volunteered more than 700,000 hours at Arizona schools and nonprofits where we’ve donated some $33.8 million. Just recently, we announced the contribution of critical technology and resources to Title 1 schools in seven Arizona school districts that have been significantly affected by the global pandemic.
We also know that securing the future of manufacturing in Arizona requires a focus on environmental sustainability, which is why we invest in on-site renewable energy, green buildings, and water conservation and restoration. The Southwest is grappling with the multipronged threat of extended drought, climate change and overallocation. Effectively managing water supply is essential to the state’s continued growth and economic security. To date, Intel has funded a dozen water restoration projects with nonprofits estimated to restore roughly 800 million gallons of water per year to support Arizona’s supply. And our new Fab 42 features our most ambitious on-site water recycling facility that, once complete, will be able to treat more than 9 million gallons of water each day.
Finally, maintaining a thriving manufacturing industry requires a commitment to training the next generation of talent and building their technical skills. Not only does Intel hire from local schools and universities, we also partner in strengthening them. This year, we helped Maricopa County Community College District launch the first Intel-designed artificial intelligence (AI) associate degree program in the United States. We strongly believe AI technology should be shaped by scientists with diverse experiences and backgrounds. This program has the potential to diversify AI while expanding access to high-demand technical skills.
It’s not surprising that Arizona is attracting more manufacturers across a variety of industries, and we’re encouraged by bipartisan efforts at the federal level to increase semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. Advancements in silicon technology will give the U.S. access to breakthrough capabilities. Today we’re working closely with the U.S. Department of Energy to strengthen U.S. leadership in semiconductor design and manufacturing, including exascale, neuromorphic and quantum computing.
As we know well, Arizona is a great place to build the future, and we’re honored to have paved the way. Forty years from now, how and what Intel manufactures may look quite different. But what won’t change is our belief in the power of technology to enrich lives and our relentless effort to provide the technology foundation for the world’s innovation.