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New York Leads New Generation of
High-Tech Manufacturing

January 25, 2009

The construction of a $4.2 billion semiconductor manufacturing facility north of Albany, N.Y., is solidifying the capital region’s reputation as a leading center for high-tech manufacturing and research – and that is translating into lots of jobs for members of Local 236.

“This is one of the largest construction projects in state history,” said Albany Local 236 Business Manager Donald Rahm.

More than a dozen Local 236 members are already on the job, laying ground wires and setting up the grid system. At the peak of construction, more than 600 electricians will be required, Rahm said.

The project, which broke ground last summer, is expected to be completed by 2012.
The new facility is being touted by its owner, the Silicon Valley-based semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries, as the most advanced and largest semiconductor fabrication plant in the world.

A semiconductor is a chip with electrical properties that is used in everything from cell phones to home appliances. The new plant will produce computer chips.

New York State government played a key role in the development of the plant, committing $1.2 billion of financial incentives, making it the largest public-private partnership in state history.

“This initiative not only provides our residents with a source for new jobs, but is integral in positioning New York as a future hub of innovation,” said Gov. David Paterson in a statement from GlobalFoundries.

The project is expected to create more than 1,500 construction jobs and thousands more construction-related positions. Once operational, the plant is expected to create at least 1,400 manufacturing positions.

The plant will be located at the Luther Forest Technology Campus in Saratoga County. The 500-acre campus is located in the picturesque Luther Forest and was developed with the purpose of providing a home to semiconductor manufacturers and other technology companies.

“They even built a new exit off of I-87 [the main interstate connecting New York City and Montreal] for the location,” Rahm said.

With its close proximity to major universities and transportation hubs, growing investment in what is now known as New York’s tech valley has translated into a relatively vibrant job market for the IBEW, despite the current recession.

“We’re doing exceptionally well here, all things considered,” Rahm said. Nearly 120 Local 236 members are working on a new 635 megawatt gas-fired power plant, located on the Hudson River directly across from Albany. The project is expected to be completed by next year.


Photo used under a Creative Commons License from Flickr user barnoid