NE Ohio can be big player in chip making

Northeast Ohio has the assets to be a tremendous player in the semiconductor manufacturing industry, according to a new report.

Team NEO in its latest quarterly economic review points out the region’s strengths include a high employment concentration in industries that supply the semiconductor industry.

Among the top 20 industries in the semiconductor supply chain, there are 16 with a high location quotient in the region. Location quotient is a measurement that allows regions to understand how their areas of economic competitiveness compare to a larger geographic area, typically the nation.

For example, according to the report, iron and steel mills and related alloy manufacturing have a location quotient of 5.93 in northeast Ohio — meaning the region has almost six times more concentration than the national average.

The report also notes there were $112.6 million in purchases by the semiconductor industry from the iron and steel mill sector.

Nos. 2 and 3 for location quotient are precision turned product manufacturing at 5.44 and bolt, nut, screw, rivet and washer manufacturing, 5.17. The former, the report states, provided $64.7 million in goods and services in 2022 and the later, $63.1 million.

In addition, key industries that could potentially serve the semiconductor industry are projected to grow over the next five years. In the northeast Ohio region, the semiconductor and other electronic components sector is projected to grow 34% and the plastic product manufacturing sector is projected to grow 16%.

Both are greater than the expected growth for the U.S.

“The opportunity is great in northeast Ohio for this emerging industry,” Bill Koehler, Team NEO chief executive, said. “We have a dedicated workforce with a strong STEM background, a variety of sites that are suitable for semiconductor and related supply chain manufacturing, reliable supply of water and power, and a strong supply chain making our region attractive to companies considering investing in the semiconductor industry.”

Team NEO, a private, nonprofit economic development agency that serves 18 northeast Ohio counties, including Trumbull and Mahoning, publishes its quarterly economic review to provide a holistic picture of the region’s economy.

The report is used to attract new business and jobs to northeast Ohio, as well as help existing ones grow.

Guy Coviello, president / CEO of the Youngstown / Warren Regional Chamber, said: “From our lake ports in Ashtabula County to our river port in Columbiana County and everywhere in between, we have the resources many players in the industry are looking for. An abundance of water, available sites, a robust transportation and a manufacturing workforce are all attractive to the industry.”

The chamber, Team NEO and other economic development officials from the Cleveland and Akron / Canton regions as well as members of the business and higher-education communities formed a semiconductor supply chain task force shortly after Intel announced the project outside of Columbus.

“Their (Team NEO’s) leadership pulling us together combined with their extensive research has helped us contend for economic growth in the semiconductor industry,” Coviello said.

The latest report also notes a workforce development initiative underway among universities, including Youngstown State University, and other higher education institutions to provide an adequate workforce for the industry.

The effort — Ohio TechNet Northeast Ohio Semiconductor Workforce Consortium — formed through a gift by Intel, which is investing $20 billion outside Columbus to build semiconductors. The group of 11 schools is tasked with developing semiconductor-focused education and workforce programs.


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