Intel is building what it claims is the “largest silicon manufacturing location on the planet” in Ohio, and it’s going to need 7,000 workers to construct it, according to a report from the Associated Press. However, a labor shortage affecting the construction industry could make it hard to recruit the workers it needs for the $20 billion job, and competition for workers could slow the pace of homebuilding in the area which is needed to support the growing workforce that Intel’s plant is supposed to attract.
Intel first announced the Ohio project in January of this year and is on track to begin construction in late 2022. Once finished, the 1,000-acre site will house two factories, or fabs, and employ at least 3,000 people. But it has future plans to invest $100 billion into the project, expand the site to 2,000 acres, and eventually build a total of eight fabs, not just two. Actual chip production isn’t expected until 2025.
As noted by the Associated Press, Intel’s project won’t require all 7,000 workers at once, and this number might be only a fraction of the workers required to build the complexes that surround Intel’s factories. This includes a 500-acre business park built by VanTrust Real Estate dedicated to Intel’s suppliers.
Construction on the chip factories is expected to pick up speed now that President Joe Biden has signed off on the CHIPS and Science Act, which provides semiconductor companies like Intel with $52 billion in funding. In June, Intel delayed its groundbreaking ceremony for the new chip plant in a bid to coax Congress into passing the legislation. At the time, Intel said the “scope and pace” of its project depend on the money it receives from the CHIPS Act.
Intel’s project could face some setbacks due to the current state of the construction industry. Earlier this year, the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), a group that represents construction workers that aren’t in a union, said the industry will need to attract 650,000 workers in order to keep up with the demand for labor. In July, the National Roofing Contractors Association reported a 20.3 percent increase in construction material prices from May to June when compared to the same time last year, something a nationwide construction supply shortage isn’t helping.