Intel's new Hillsboro factory: Who will fill those jobs?
Construction is just the beginning. When D1X opens in 2013, Intel will add hundreds of positions in research and skilled manufacturing -- a field hurting nearly as much as construction. Total tech manufacturing employment has fallen 33 percent in the last decade.
Intel is saying little about whom, exactly, will work in D1X. It fills existing research factories with a mix of skilled manufacturing staff and engineers trained at the world's top research universities.
D1X won't solve Oregon's economic woes. It won't even make much of a dent in its stubbornly high unemployment rate -- which has been stuck between 10.5 and 10.7 percent for 11 months -- according to state labor economist Amy Vander Vliet.
But she said the project provides an undeniable economic stimulus, and could be an important symbol of Oregon's economic potential. D1X What: A new research factory at Intel's Ronler Acres campus in Hillsboro. The factory and its support buildings total 1.8 million square feet. The clean room alone is 200,000 square feet, the size of the biggest Costco. When: Construction begins "early next year." It opens in 2013. Cost: Undisclosed, but between $3 billion and $4 billion Construction jobs: Intel says D1X, along with the upgrades of two Arizona fabs and two Oregon fabs, will create temporary work for 6,000 to 8,000 people. Most of that work will be in Hillsboro. Long-term: Intel says its new Hillsboro fab, along with the Oregon and Arizona upgrades, will boost the company's ranks by 800 to 1,000 positions. Again, most of those gains will go to Hillsboro. "I think there's going to be a psychological impact. People take notice when Intel does something like this," Vander Vliet said. "It adds to our reputation as a place where high-tech can do business."
The work starts early next year. Commercial carpenters, plumbers, pipefitters and laborers from scores of other trades will be called to work on D1X, and two simultaneous upgrades to existing factories on the same site.
"Basically, all the work that's done out there is done by the building trades," said Jeff Morgan, owner of Morgan Industrial. "Contractors like us hire the labor out of the union hall."
On average, Oregon construction jobs pay about $45,000 a year.
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Posted on Oct. 23, 2010
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