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Promise and Potential

News Type Public Address
Governor Mike DeWine (at podium), Lt. Governor Jon Husted (background), Office of Budget and Management Director Kimberly Murnieks (right), and Department of Development Director Lydia Mihalik (left) attend the June 14 press conference discuss the signing of House Bill 687, the state’s Capital Improvements Budget, which includes legislation to facilitate Intel’s transformational megaproject in Ohio. 
By Joan Slattery Wall 

A $20 billion investment to build two semiconductor fabrication plants. Tens of thousands of jobs. Nearly $2 billion in state incentives.  

Intel Corp.’s January announcement of its expansion to central Ohio adds up to massive potential for the region. 

The common denominators: Public policy and public administration.

“This is one of those projects that literally touches everything,” said Gerard Basalla, director of public policy at the Columbus Partnership, a nonprofit organization of CEOs from Columbus’ leading businesses and institutions. 

Indeed, existing policies at the state and local level set the stage for Intel to even consider Ohio for its newest operations and now must ensure the project’s success for both the company and the state. 

Intel says the megaproject — the largest single private sector company investment in Ohio’s history — will generate more than 20,000 jobs, including 3,000 direct Intel jobs earning an average of $135,000 per year; 7,000 construction jobs; and additional indirect and support jobs including electricians, engineers and workers in the food, healthcare, housing, entertainment and other industries. The project is expected to add $2.8 billion to Ohio’s annual gross state product.

Ohio State University President Kristina M. Johnson speaks during Intel’s announcement to construct two new leading-edge chip factories in central Ohio. (Credit: Walden Kirsch/Intel Corp.)

The state committed no small trove of incentives: a $600 million onshoring incentive grant; $691 million in local infrastructure investment; and a $650 million job creation tax credit. The Ohio Department of Development says that for every 6 cents the state invests in direct cash incentives, Intel invests at least $1 — a 16:1 return. 

Kimberly Murnieks, Director, Ohio Office of Budget and Management, and State Chief Financial Officer

“It is an all of Ohio effort, and it will benefit all of Ohio,” said Kimberly Murnieks, director of the Ohio Office of Budget and Management and chief financial officer for the state. “It really is transformational for Ohio and the nation.” 

Murnieks, a graduate of the Glenn College master’s degree program in public policy and management, stressed that public policy and public administration decisions positioned the state to attract Intel years before the announcement was made.  

Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted’s first budget, she pointed out, focused on the economy and preparing Ohioans for in-demand jobs. A resulting program, TechCred, prepares current and future employees with technology-focused credentials that take less than a year to complete. The administration’s second budget created an economic development framework for potential megaprojects.

So we were poised and ready for Intel even before we knew Intel was going to be the megaproject.

Kimberly Murnieks
Director, Ohio Office of Budget and Management, and State Chief Financial Officer

Murnieks was brought into the discussion in summer 2021 after Ohio was shortlisted for Intel’s expansion.  

“I personally provided details about Ohio’s very strong financial position and how we weathered the global pandemic in a very strong way, and that put us in the position to work with Intel on the economic development package that ultimately was enacted by the General Assembly,” she said. “It was important to Intel to be locating in a state that was strong economically, that was focused on the future where the leadership of the state had a vision for the future, and where we had budget stability so they could have confidence that Ohio will be a strong partner as they move forward.”  

Gerard Basalla, Director of Public Policy, Columbus Partnership 

Basalla, who is currently enrolled in the Glenn College online master of public administration and leadership program, said the Columbus Partnership and One Columbus, an economic development organization, joined partners from across the community and state to ensure that Intel chose the Columbus region for its significant semiconductor manufacturing investment.  

“The public policy team at the Partnership has worked with and continues to partner with leaders at every level of government on a variety of public policy initiatives, both directly related to the Intel project as well as around the additional policy intersections like workforce, housing, transportation, equity and infrastructure,” Basalla said, citing the federal CHIPS act, passed this summer to provide $280 billion to boost U.S. semiconductor manufacturing, as a particular focus of the group’s recent advocacy work.

Intel has just accelerated all of those challenges or issues we need to address right now.

Gerard Basalla
Director of Public Policy, Columbus Partnership

On the education front, The Ohio State University long before Intel’s announcement began plans to offer a new bachelor’s degree, available in autumn 2023, in engineering technology, which could help qualify students for the company’s openings, at its Newark campus. In addition, Ohio State is among the Ohio educational institutions that will collaborate with Intel and the U.S. National Science Foundation on a $100 million investment over the next decade to establish semiconductor manufacturing education partnerships. 

Josh Hawley, Director, Ohio Education Research Center

In a separate initiative, the Ohio Education Research Center (OERC), a unit of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs, is a partner in an Ohio State initiative that will receive $3 million to design curriculum for Ohio’s Broadband and 5G Sector Partnership to develop a skilled broadband workforce.  

“These training programs we are helping to build will share a lot of common elements with the larger work to design programs for Intel,” said OERC Director Josh Hawley. 

OERC, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Office of Workforce Transformation and Ohio Department of Higher Education, developed the Workforce Supply Tool, which shows projections for jobs and credentials in the state and could be used to inform users about the pipeline of supply of workers to industry as Intel gets established and expands.  

“It can be used for ‘critical’ or ‘in-demand’ jobs,” Hawley explained. “It also shows regional views of data. This can be used primarily for estimating growth or change in jobs and looking at related shifts in education.”

A rendering shows the location of the two new leading-edge Intel processor factories, the largest single private-sector investment in Ohio history, in Licking County, Ohio. (Credit: Intel Corp.)

The Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio, which covers Franklin County, will assist the region and Intel in finding employees, said Lisa Patt-McDaniel, the development board’s CEO, who holds a master’s degree in public policy and management from the Glenn College. 

“We are working with partner counties who are covered by three other workforce areas to form a collaborative, so we are all working together so Intel doesn’t have to go to each one of us,” said Patt-McDaniel. The groups will help Intel source current talent and support future talent through training or associate degrees.  

Lisa Patt-McDaniel, CEO, Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio 

Workforce development and education and training also require successful economic and community development, Patt-McDaniel said.  

“That’s a big policy area, and it takes funding and everybody rowing in same direction, making it easy for families, in whatever form they choose, to exist and for resources to be available so everybody can choose whatever they’re best at,” she said. “You can’t do any of that without workforce development, or without economic development making sure our companies want to stay here but are also invested in our communities, and then community development making sure that quality of life is available for everybody. And all that requires public servants to understand it’s not their narrow focus on day-to-day work, but it’s all interconnected. If one leg of the stool breaks, the other two can’t stand on their own.”