Build Back Better helps expand semiconductor manufacturing in Osceola County – Central Florida News – Business

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Osceola County recently received over $50 million for semiconductor development. This money was awarded as part of the federal government’s Build Back Better challenge. Tim Giuliani, CEO of the Orlando Economic Partnership, said the money will enable the expansion of a semiconductor manufacturing hub – NeoCity.

Tim Giuliani is CEO of the Orlando Economic Partnership. (photo via Orlando Economic Partnership)

Neo City

Neo City is a 500-acre technology district in Osceola County that also serves as a hub for Central Florida’s semiconductor manufacturing industry.

It consists of a 109,000 square foot office building, a stem-focused high school – NeoCity Academy, and a fabrication lab.

The fab lab, or fabrication lab, is a clean room, and Tim Giuliani, CEO of OEP, said you wouldn’t get very excited if you went inside.

“Everyone wears full gowns, goggles, etc., because the air has to be of a certain quality. It has to be a very controlled environment,” he explained. “There are a lot of very expensive tools. So you see almost a kind of assembly line, with people inside managing the process, supervising the tools, recalibrating and sort of this entire production cycle.

Giuliani said this district is the county’s long-term plan to diversify the economy and create more tech opportunities in the area.

Prior to receiving the $50 million from the Build Back Better Challenge, Giuliani said Osceola County had already invested more than $200 million in the project. “The county led the investment. UCF has been a partner (and) the state has made investments,” he said. “But largely at this point it’s local dollars, although now we’re trying to match that with federal dollars.”

Fleas

President Biden signed into law the CHIPS and Science Act in August with the aim of boosting semiconductor manufacturing in the United States. Giuliani said it would help build more manufacturing labs in the country.

“There’s about a 25% difference in cost to open a Fab Lab, for example, in China and the United States,” he said. “So for these companies to produce in the United States, the federal government’s intervention to basically justify that 25% price tag makes a difference so that we can produce chips on land.”

Manufacturing chips in the United States rather than outsourcing production to another country has many benefits for national security and local residents. Giuliani said, “Having a much more reliable and robust national supply chain in semiconductors is a big part of reducing costs for all of these electronic items.”

In Neo City, SkyWater technology produces chips locally. Giuliani said it was a US-owned semiconductor foundry only, meaning they made chips for other companies. He said, “It’s not like Intel making its own chips. They make crisps for others. So it could be the Department of Defense, it could be all kinds of national security issues.

Having faster access to chips can also benefit local businesses, like Massey Services Pest Control. Giuliani said they use sensors to detect cockroaches. “It picks up the smell, it’s kind of interesting, something you wouldn’t think was really high tech,” he said.

Building back better

Money from the Build Back Better Challenge will go to six projects in NeoCity, including Upskill Osceola.

Upskill Osceola will develop a skills-based workforce development platform that develops a talent pipeline by aligning education and training with the specific skills demanded by the semiconductor industry. Giuliani said this will fuel greater collaboration across regions and industries.

“How do we get space companies to talk with higher education institutions to talk with our local high schools, to talk with our employer, the other employers to make sure there’s synergy,” he said. . “This Fab Lab benefits the people here with more jobs than just being a single spoke to the wheel. We want to be multiple spokes to the wheel and take full advantage of that capability in Central Florida.”



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