Hillsboro, OR – On August 17, the Oregon Semiconductor Task Force released their report, Seizing Opportunity and presented their findings about how Oregon’s semiconductor industry can continue to grow and create high-paying jobs for Oregonians. Task force co-chairs Governor Kate Brown, Senator Ron Wyden, and Maria Pope, CEO of Portland General Electric, were joined by Representative Suzanne Bonamici, Steve Callaway, Mayor of Hillsboro, Adrien Bennings, President of Portland Community College, and Emily Mom, a Portland Community College student who immigrated to Oregon from Cambodia, and now works as a manufacturing technician at Intel.
The report can be found here.
“Technology is at the heart of Oregon’s economy, and we have immense opportunities to expand our semiconductor sector, so that the Silicon Forest can continue to thrive for decades to come”, said Governor Brown, speaking at the press conference. “It’s been an honor to co-chair the semiconductor task force alongside Senator Ron Wyden and Maria Pope. Thank you to all the task force members and their staff for their work over the past several months. And thank you to Representative Suzanne Bonamici and Oregon’s congressional delegation for your leadership.”
Semiconductor manufacturing facilities are expected to grow in the U.S. over the next 10 years — creating hundreds of thousands of employment opportunities and generating billions of dollars in state, local, and federal tax revenues. As one of the leading states in the United States for semiconductor research and development, Oregon has a remarkable opportunity to create good-paying jobs for the state’s diverse communities, build career pathways with higher education opportunities, and find success with companies looking to expand here. Additionally, the semiconductor industry significantly contributes to and benefits other sectors of the state economy, including biotechnology, climate technology, electrification, and automation of transportation and information technology.
More than 40% of semiconductor jobs do not require four-year degrees — investments in this sector offer Oregon a real chance to expand shared prosperity. “Because we have laid the groundwork for workforce development with initiatives like Future Ready Oregon, we can continue to invest in STEM education and build on existing partnerships––among industry, education, workforce, and community-based organizations––to meet the education and workforce needs of the industry,” continued Governor Brown.
“And, we will do so while expanding opportunities for historically-underserved communities––so no one is left behind. The semiconductor sector can play a huge role in closing economic disparity gaps in this state.”
On August 9, President Biden signed the $52 billion CHIPS and Science Act. This funding is a monumental step to ensure the U.S. continues to lead the way in technology and manufacturing, and Oregon remains a leader in the semiconductor industry. The Governor emphasized the need to capitalize on the opportunities before Oregon, “it is clear we must move quickly, so that our investments can be coupled with those in the CHIPS Act. We are in a 50-state race, and we cannot miss opportunities in the highly-competitive semiconductor industry.”
Key Takeaways from the Report:
- Research and Development Strength: Semiconductor research and development is Oregon’s competitive advantage. Oregon’s strategy to secure chip investment should focus on solidifying a world-class innovation ecosystem around chip research and production.
- Workforce: Premier access to talent and a robust, private-sector led innovation ecosystem gives Oregon another competitive advantage. To preserve this advantage, Oregon needs to invest in workforce training across the talent continuum, from entry-level positions to PhDs.
- Land: To attract semiconductor manufacturers, the state needs more buildable industrial land. Oregon’s land use system and infrastructure investment programs need urgent legislative attention and investment to address this need.
- Incentives: Oregon needs to become more competitive on incentives. Other states offer incentive packages that are both larger and more specifically tailored to the semiconductor industry.
- Regulation: When it comes to governmental oversight, from permitting new facilities to environmental regulations, the subcommittee chaired by Governor Brown reviewed “best practices” from competing states and identified the importance of forming stronger partnerships with manufacturers and streamlining the permitting process.
Through chairing the environmental regulatory subcommittee, the Governor heard the semiconductor industry’s need to streamline environmental permitting because in Oregon, economic growth and environmental protections are not mutually exclusive.
Moving forward, the Governor stressed the need to craft budget and legislative proposals to make the task force’s recommendations a reality. “My goal is to lead the next phase of our efforts, so the next administration and Legislature have a package of proposals ready to review on Day 1 of the legislative session.”
The Governor concluded, “Oregon is a state of innovators and dreamers. Semiconductors will continue to be the beating heart of the tech sector in Oregon. I know we have the ingenuity and determination to get this done. There is no time to waste. So let’s get it done.”