“The location increases agility in supporting U.S. government and commercial aerospace customers and serves to reinforce partnerships that will progress innovative technologies to advance the industry,” Raytheon said in a statement at the time of its announcement.
In April, Lorton, VA-based Bode Technology announced a $2 million investment to expand its DNA testing services lab in Fairfax County, VA. The provider of forensic services plans to hire additional senior and entry-level laboratory technicians, forensic science professionals, and other business support roles, creating more than 70 new jobs.
Said Mike Cariola, CEO of Bode Technology, “To help fight crime, we need to hire the most talented scientists in the world, and the universities in Virginia and surrounding areas have been essential to our success. Demand for our services has increased, and today we are recruiting talented scientists from across the country to join us here in Fairfax County so that we can continue our mission.”
LOUISIANA LEADS: CUSTOMIZED WORKFORCE TRAINING
This year’s rankings sees Louisiana retaining its place as the top-ranked state for Customized Workforce Training for the 13th-consecutive year in Business Facilities’ 18th Annual Rankings Report. The state is ranked first for this innovative and agile LED FastStart program, administered by Louisiana Economic Development.
“The state’s LED FastStart program continued its strong push toward equipping its workforce with the skills being sought by new and expanding companies. In 2021, the program reported 6,000+ hours of training for 32 firms in the state to provide the skilled workers to hit the ground running for business,” said Cosgrove.
Especially in the current climate where companies of all shapes and sizes are looking for skilled and willing to work employees, a custom training program can be the linchpin in a firm’s decision of whether or not to select a particular location. This type of program is also a linchpin in supporting the company’s success in a new location or one where the firm has recently expanded.
The LED Fast Start Program, the state’s flagship workforce development initiative, is based on that full life-cycle of training talent for a company that creates jobs in the state. The LED FastStart framework is “Recruit. Train. Sustain”.
The recruiting aspect uses a next-generation workforce hiring platform that allows job seekers to interact with hiring companies in dynamic ways. Using company landing pages, an integrated application tracking system, hyper customization, and sophisticated data analysis, the platform helps company recruiters match candidates with the right job opportunities. LED Individualizing recruitment ensures the company and the candidate both have a good experience, increasing the likelihood of a new hire becoming a long-term employee. Other recruiting aspects include virtual job fairs and targeted recruiting.
Training is customized for the company and jobs that need to be filled. Sustain includes involvement with the education system, including investment in higher education to advance curricula and training in software, digital and IT services, advanced manufacturing, and STEM-related disciplines.
The LED FastStart is designed to be agile in order to respond to individual companies’ needs—or when an external force, such as a worldwide pandemic, comes into play.
When COVID-19 challenged in-person processes, the LED FastStart team rapidly transitioned project-specific training to remote delivery formats such as webinars and virtual classes. The LED FastStart eLearning team converted many traditional instructor-led training courses to webinar format, including courses on Talent Management and Quality Programs. The eLearning team developed enhanced processes for virtual walkthroughs with subject matter experts, employing robust virtual review sessions of training content.
TEXAS, CALIFORNIA, ARIZONA SEMICONDUCTOR LEADERS
The COVID-19 pandemic put into sharp focus the lack of semiconductor manufacturing supply in North America. As technology that utilize semiconductors were in high demand during the pandemic, when society as a whole interacted remotely for more than a year, the widespread global semiconductor shortage developed. As the industry responds in earnest to ramp up production in North America, locations across the U.S. are emerging as hot spots for semiconductor ecosystems.
The Semiconductor Industry Association published its 2021 State of the U.S. Semiconductor Industry: “The shortage increased awareness of the importance of America’s semiconductor supply chains. Although geographic specialization in the global chip supply chain has enabled tremendous growth and innovation in the industry, vulnerabilities in the supply chain have emerged in recent years. For example, in 2019, 100% of the world’s most advanced logic semiconductors (< 10 nm) were produced overseas.”
Texas is recognized in the leading spot in this year’s Semiconductors ranking, not only for existing ecosystems to support R&D and manufacturing, but for notable industry investment. California and Arizona took the second and third ranking.
Most notable in the past 12 months is the decision of Samsung Electronics, Co., Ltd. to build its new semiconductor plant in Taylor, TX. When announced in December 2021, the $17 billion investment is the largest foreign direct investment in Texas on record.
The new manufacturing facility will produce advanced logic chips that will power next-generation devices for applications such as mobile, 5G, high-performance computing (HPC), and artificial intelligence (AI).
After reviewing multiple locations within the U.S. for a potential manufacturing site, the decision to invest in Taylor was based on multiple factors, including the local semiconductor ecosystem, infrastructure stability, local government support, and community development opportunities. In particular, the proximity to Samsung’s current manufacturing site in Austin, about 15 miles southwest of Taylor, allows the two locations to share the necessary infrastructure and resources.
“Samsung Austin Semiconductor has been proud to call Texas home for more than 25 years,” said Dr. Sang Sup Jeong, President of Samsung Austin Semiconductor. “We are excited about our growth and future opportunities in Central Texas and appreciate the support from all Central Texas leaders.”
The project will create over 2,000 high-tech jobs, thousands of indirect jobs, and a minimum of 6,500 construction jobs. Construction will begin in early 2022 with a target of production start in the second half of 2024. .
Also in 2021, Texas Instruments Incorporated announced it would build a new 300-millimeter semiconductor wafer fabrication plants (fabs) in Sherman, TX. The North Texas site has the potential for up to four fabrication plants to meet demand over time, as semiconductor growth in electronics, particularly in the industrial and automotive markets, is expected to continue well into the future. Construction of the first and second fabs is set to begin in 2022.
“TI’s future analog and embedded processing 300-mm fabs at the Sherman site are part of our long-term capacity planning to continue to strengthen our manufacturing and technology competitive advantage and support our customers’ demand in the coming decades,” said Rich Templeton, Texas Instruments’ Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our commitment to North Texas spans more than 90 years, and this decision is a testament to our strong partnership and investment in the Sherman community.”
According to the SIA 2021 Annual Report, TX had 15 wafer fabrication plants (fabs) in the state, and 16% of the U.S. workforce for the industry in 2020.
MANUFACTURING IN THE MIDWEST MOVES
In this year’s Manufacturing (Jobs) ranking, Wisconsin led the list. A bevy of manufacturing investments are keeping the state humming with production activity. In May, Milwaukee Tool announced plans to create 1,000 new jobs in Wisconsin. The Brookfield-based tool manufacturer will invest $206 million at nine locations across the state. Wisconsin will support the company’s expansion with up to $22.5 million in additional performance-based tax credits.
This newest investment by Milwaukee Tools in Wisconsin will help support the expansion of its existing research and development facilities, infrastructure needs, and equipment. Of the 1,000 jobs the company has committed to creating, many will be critical engineering and technical roles needed to support the rapidly advancing technologies harnessed in their products.
In another multi-location investment in Wisconsin, Merz North America, Inc. is expanding its facilities in Sturtevant and Franksville. The North Carolina-based aesthetics and neurotoxin manufacturer will invest $8 million and create 35 jobs over the next three years.
In Fall 2021, Generac announced it would expand its presence in Wisconsin by investing $53 million in its facilities across the state and creating more than 700 new jobs. When the global manufacturer of energy technology solutions and other power products meets its capital investment and job creation goals by 2024, it will receive additional Enterprise Zone tax credits authorized by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).
Earlier this year, Casting Cleaning Resources, an Indiana-based manufacturer that serves the foundry industry, is expanding its operations to Menomonee Falls, WI. The company provides post-mold cleaning of iron castings to manufacturers in Iowa, Illinois, and South Carolina and needed to expand its operations to meet industry demand.
The southern Wisconsin location brings Casting Cleaning Resources closer to its customer base and allows the company to service the foundry industry in a larger capacity than they were able to previously.
“Wisconsin and the greater Milwaukee area are the perfect fit to go along with our company and operations. The state not only has a strong background in manufacturing but also offers attractive incentives for new businesses coming to Wisconsin. It was a very easy decision to make to expand operations here,” stated Billy Robinson, Controller at Casting Cleaning Resources.
WEDC is supporting the project by authorizing up to $200,000 in performance-based tax credits over the next three years if the company creates at least 39 new jobs and invests at least $4 million in capital expenditures. The actual amount of tax credits Casting Cleaning Resources will receive is contingent on the number of jobs created and the capital invested in the project.
In our Manufacturing (Output) ranking, based on percent of state GDP, Indiana was number one; the state was second to Wisconsin in the Manufacturing (Jobs) leaderboard.
In March, Hello Nature, manufacturer of organic fertilizers, biostimulants, and microbials, has partnered with 6th-generation Indiana business MPS Egg Farms. The joint venture, dubbed Bionutrients, will invest nearly $50 million in Wabash, IN to build and operate a specialty fertilizer manufacturing facility that will employ 46 people.
Bionutrients will combine high-quality raw materials and cutting-edge technologies. The partners will break ground on two facilities totaling nearly 300,000 square feet this spring, with the facility fully operationally in the summer of 2023. The facility will expand Hello Nature’s Indiana presence and complements its two facilities in Anderson.
Also in Indiana, earlier this year Guardian Bikes announced it would build a highly automated factory to move production of its safety-focused kids’ bikes to the U.S.
Guardian selected a site at the Freeman Field Industrial Park in Seymour, IN, where the company expects to invest nearly $7 million and employ 100 workers by 2026.
Said Brian Riley, CEO and Co-Founder of Guardian Bikes, “By moving production of our bikes to the USA, and then fulfilling our bikes straight from our U.S. factory floor direct to your door, we begin to create a sustainable supply chain system, which allows us to not only be a Guardian for the kids in your family with the safest bikes available for them, but also be a Guardian for the future of the planet they will grow up on.”
Founded in Irvine, CA, Guardian moved to Austin, TX in 2020. The company’s transition to U.S. production will happen in several phases: Phase 1 will involve final assembly of parts and frames, which was slated to begin in June 2022.