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CHIPS Act: Semiconductor jobs are a 'competitiveness' and wage issue, JobsOhio CEO says

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JobsOhio CEO and President J.P. Nauseef joins Yahoo Finance Live to explain what the CHIPS Act means for the semiconductor industry and Intel's new chip factory in Ohio.

Video Transcript

DAVE BRIGGS: Some big breaking news earlier today. In a 64-33 vote, the Senate passed the CHIPS and Science Act this afternoon. The bill, which provides more than $50 billion to the US semiconductor industry, now heads to the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi says it does have the support needed to pass before the president signs it.

And the state of Ohio will feel the immediate impact if, indeed, this bill is signed into law. JP Nauseef is the President and CEO of JobsOhio. JP, good to have you on. So Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said his company's $20 billion investment in the state would be delayed without this legislation. So why should the federal government be in the chips business?

JP NAUSEEF: Well, it levels the playing field. The chips semiconductor industry is a core industry that feeds hundreds and hundreds of other industries. So this is about America's and the West's competitiveness and our national security. It also has a direct impact on jobs not only in Ohio, but all over the heartland, as more and more businesses reshore, and create open and secure supply chains, taking advantage of the Midwest and Ohio's depth of experience and capacity for manufacturing.

So it's a national security issue. It's a competitiveness issue. And it's a jobs issue. And we're very grateful for the work done by the Ohio delegation. Senator Brown and Senator Portman, in true Ohio spirit, worked in a bipartisan way to help usher this through the Senate. And now we're hoping for a speedy passage at the house so they can get it to President Biden's desk and turn it into law.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: So, JP, if and when this does pass, what are your expectations as to how soon you expect to see sort of the fruits of that really start making its way into the economy and into manufacturing in the US?

JP NAUSEEF: Well, we've already transferred the land to Intel. Intel's been moving dirt around and beginning their process to develop the site for phase one of what will become the largest and most complex semiconductor manufacturing campus in the world. And that's according to Pat Gelsinger. Phase one was announced. Phase one is moving forward. We always knew that the pace of phase one would be impacted by the Chips Act.

But it's proceeding. And we believe, based on what we've discussed with Intel and with Mr. Gelsinger, that phases 2, 3 and 4 come right behind, taking the project from a $20 billion investment by Intel up to as much as $100 billion of investment. And again, it's about American competitiveness and leveraging the outstanding workforce and location and supply chain that's located in the state of Ohio and all across the Midwest.

DAVE BRIGGS: Speaking of the workforce, JP, how many jobs will be created here? And given the fact that we have this labor market, that we have a shortage of, essentially, everything today and 11 million open jobs, how do you find the workers?

JP NAUSEEF: It is a challenge all across the country to find qualified, certified workers to do this. But in Ohio, first of all, the phase one will create 3,000 direct Intel jobs. It'll create 7,000 construction jobs and tens of thousands of other jobs from supply chain companies and other suppliers. The talent is going to come from a lot of different places, and we're working. Governor DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Husted have really been aggressive in how they've been dealing with the workforce issue, along with our organization that's private, but works alongside with those government partners.

But Ohio graduates 177,000 college graduates every single year. And up to this point, close to half of them leave the state for other opportunities. But as more businesses reshore and come in from the coast and start to invest in Ohio, those students will start taking jobs, co-ops, internships. And the retention of those students goes up quite a bit once you get them connected with an Ohio company. So we know it's a heavy lift, but we're up to the task. And we're finding more and more people are finding Ohio's balanced way of life, job opportunities, along with affordability, a great balance for a good quality of life.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: And I know a lot of people certainly hope that does tend to be the case. A big thank you there, JobsOhio president and CEO, JP Nauseef. Thank you so much.