Update: President Joe Biden returns to Syracuse to tout ‘transformational’ Micron investment

Micron’s $500 million “community benefits” investment in Central New York includes: a clean room at Onondaga County Community College, a $500,000 museum exhibit about semiconductors and contracting goals for minority- and women-owned businesses.

About a month ago, when Micron announced that it would spend $100 billion on manufacturing facilities in Central New York, it also announced it would separately spend $500 million in investments in the community.

President Joe Biden is traveling to Syracuse today to join Micron in announcing how the $500 million will be spent.

The goal of the community benefits package is to promote equity and build out a workforce that will be employed at semiconductor industry jobs.

About $250-300 million of the investment will come straight from Micron. Another $100 million will come from the state. The rest will need to be fundraised.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said he was impressed by what he saw as Micron’s genuine interest in the local area.

“We were a finalist for some of the other (semiconductor companies). At no point did these companies ever immerse themselves in our community and say ‘How can we help?'” McMahon said. “It was always about can you do X and will you give us Y.”

Community benefits entered the discussion early on, McMahon said. As state officials tried to shepherd a tax incentive for the semiconductor industry, they recognized the need to make those tax breaks more palatable, he said.

U.S. President Joe Biden mixes with the audience at the conclusion of the Micron event at OCC, October 27, 2022. Photo by Mike Greenlar | Central Current.

Biden’s appearance today at Onondaga Community College will help roll out features of the package.

But Thursday’s announcement is just the first phase of announcements surrounding the agreement, McMahon said.

It includes some monetary commitments along with non-monetary promises, like quarterly town hall meetings between Micron executives, the county executive and the community.

Gov. Kathy Hochul released a statement this morning prior to Biden’s visit.

“… This project’s $500 million community fund,” Hochul said, “will sustain the region in the long term with investments in workforce, housing, and infrastructure.”

Here’s a breakdown of the community benefits package:

Workforce development

Onondaga Community College

  • Micron will invest $5 million over 10 years to create and outfit a clean room at Onondaga County Community College. It will also help develop technical curriculum at the school.

Syracuse University

  • The company will partner with SU’s Institute for Veteran and Military Families to support veteran skill development for advanced manufacturing jobs. Micron aims to hire more than 1,500 veterans over the next two decades.
  • Micron will establish an internship program at SU to prepare students for jobs as engineers and scientists.
  • The company will establish the Future-Ready Workforce Innovation Consortium at Syracuse University’s College of Professional Studies.

Labor agreement

  • Micron will use the Center for Military Recruitment, Assessment and Veterans Employment’s “Helmets to Hardhats” program. Working with this program, Micron will maintain a database of veterans interested in working on the project and offer opportunities for apprenticeship and employment.
  • Contractors will pay 1 cent for each craft hour worked on the project to Syracuse Build’s Pathways to Apprenticeship to promote representation of women and underrepresented communities.
  • Micron will aim for 30% of its eligible construction spend to be awarded to companies owned by service-disabled veterans and New York State certified minority- and women-owned businesses.
  • The company will award 20% of its ongoing eligible operating spend to companies owned by service-disabled veterans and state certified minority- and women-owned businesses.

Education

  • Micron will invest $10 million over 10 years in Syracuse’s STEAM school and other STEM-related K-12 programs in Central New York.
  • The company will launch a “Chip Camp” for the region. A STEM education program for middle and high school students, the camp would teach 70 to 100 students per week how semiconductors are made, as well as skills that could translate into careers at Micron.
  • The company plans to invest $10 million in venture funding to attract new businesses to Central New York.
  • Micron will partner with SU to support new, diverse faculty who will train potential workforce through the Syracuse University Future Professors Fellowship program.
  • The company also plans to partner with other colleges in the region, like Rochester Institute of Technology.

Community engagement

  • Micron will spend $500,000 to sponsor a Museum of Science and Technology exhibit on semiconductors.
  • The company will invest $500,000 in the YMCA of Central New York, specifically in a licensed daycare center in Liverpool and universal pre-kindergarten programs in partnership with the Cicero-North Syracuse, Westhill and Fayetteville-Manlius school districts.
  • The company will maintain $10 million in deposits in minority depository institutions that serve Central New York.
  • The company will host quarterly town halls about its work in Central New York.

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Chris Libonati

Chris Libonati covers government, accountability and equity. Have a tip? Contact Chris at 585-290-0718 or libonati@centralcurrent.org.