The Impact of the CHIPS Act on the Pacific Northwest’s Electrical Industry

Electrical workers in hard hats and safety vests review construction plans.

The CHIPS Act is revolutionizing the Pacific Northwest’s electrical industry, helping to reshape supply chains and boosting innovation. By focusing on domestic semiconductor production, areas across the U.S. are reaping the benefits. The electrical sector in the Pacific Northwest can expect to see increased job growth, demand for innovative products, and industry transformation.

Oregon officials announced an expected $40 billion in semiconductor investment, which could produce up to 6,300 new jobs in the electrical field.

What is the CHIPS Act? 

The Chips and Science Act (CHIPS) was signed into law in 2022 and offered $52.7 billion to U.S. companies dedicated to investment in chip manufacturing. The ultimate goal is to drive more innovation and keep jobs in the U.S. to help boost the economy. According to CNBC data, the U.S. was the leader in semiconductors, claiming 40% of the global market, but in recent years, that hold has dropped to 10%. Through CHIPS, companies in the U.S. will be given financial resources to compete in the global semiconductor market. 

How Does the CHIPS Act Work?

The CHIPS Act focuses on heightening domestic semiconductor production to reduce supply chain issues. Semiconductor chips are critical components used in a variety of industries, including technology, automotive, and manufacturing. 

How Does the CHIPS Act Affect the Pacific Northwest’s Electrical Industry?

The CHIPS Act offers significant benefits to the electrical sector, particularly supporting semiconductor manufacturers and the wider electrical industry. Semiconductors are essential components for the majority of everyday electronic devices.

The electrical field relies on semiconductors for power management, communication systems, and motor control. In the Pacific Northwest, CHIPS has encouraged investment in facilities, training, innovation, and energy efficiency.

  • In late 2023, Oregon officials announced an expected $40 billion in semiconductor investment, which could produce up to 6,300 new jobs in the electrical field.
  • According to Oregon’s governor’s office, 16 prominent and upcoming companies have applied for and been awarded CHIPS Act funds.  
  • These businesses must commit to job creation, with 65% of positions being full-time and permanent.

Additionally, the CHIPS Act addresses utilization requirements and apprenticeship and minority participation.This involves several strategies, including:

  • Funding for minority workforce development in semiconductor manufacturing and other related fields. 
  • Partnering with educational institutions such as community colleges and historically Black colleges to encourage curriculum development tailored to semiconductor technology.
  • Promoting DEI by establishing mentorship initiatives for underrepresented groups and fostering inclusive workplace environments.
  • Incentivizing semiconductor manufacturers to expand their supplier network through partnerships with minority-owned businesses.

Given the influx of potential job opportunities and escalating innovation, it is essential for electrical workers and contractors to adequately equip themselves for the future.

Career Opportunities Call for Cutting-Edge Electrical ProfessionalsBeing knowledgeable about chip technology keeps electrical professionals competitive, enhances their skills, and more.

Chip technology is rapidly evolving, fundamentally transforming the electrical industry. Semiconductors, crucial to this shift, are now found in a wide range of applications, from smart thermostats and solar panels to communication devices and electric vehicle (EV) controllers

For those in the electrical sector, staying up to date about fast-evolving chip technology is crucial. This constant innovation leads to new products, applications, and more. Being knowledgeable about the latest developments in chip technology not only keeps electrical professionals competitive but also enhances their skills and enables them to provide current solutions to clients. Additionally, understanding these advancements helps them foresee upcoming trends and ready themselves for integrating new technologies into their work.

NECA–IBEW Local 48 Partnership: Working for the Electrical Industry 

Our goal is to set the standard in the electrical industry by embodying the pinnacle of quality, skill, safety, value, and integrity, thereby securing the trust and acceptance of our customers and the community.

NECA members can receive cutting-edge technology training, safety compliance assistance, important industry resources, access to leading electricians, employee education credits, and more. IBEW members can boost their careers through continuing education and training access, job placement opportunities, career development resources, and more.

Discover the difference membership can make.