Obama touts high tech, business investment at Intel in Oregon
President Obama visited Intel Corp.'s large manufacturing plant in Oregon Friday. He named Intel CEO Paul Otellini – who's been critical of the administration's economic policies – to the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
President Obama’s brief visit to an Intel Corp. manufacturing plant in Oregon Friday – the morning after his Thursday dinner meeting with Silicon Valley’s top CEOs – serves two purposes. It gives him another chance to push education and the high-tech industry, and it’s an important buddy moment with a Republican business executive who’s been critical of the administration.Skip to next paragraph
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Both are intended to boost the country’s long-term economic recovery – and, not incidentally, advance Mr. Obama’s image as a pro-business president.
Intel is headquartered in Silicon Valley, but its largest manufacturing plant is in Hillsboro, Ore., just west of Portland. The company employs 15,000 people in Oregon with an annual payroll approaching $2 billion, making it the largest employer in the state.
In his State of the Union speech last month, Obama called on the country to “out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.” He’s pledged to prepare an additional 100,000 science, technology, engineering, and math teachers by the end of the decade.
That’s where Intel comes in.
In addition to touring the semiconductor facility, Obama is promoting the company’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education programs.
“Over the past decade, Intel and the Intel Foundation have invested more than $1 billion toward improving education,” the White House points out in a briefing document. “In 2010, in conjunction with President Obama’s Educate to Innovate campaign, Intel announced a 10-year, $200 million commitment to advance education in math and science in the US. Intel is also one of four founding companies of Change the Equation, a CEO-led initiative designed to answer the president’s call to move the US to the top in science and math education over the next decade.”
Last summer, Intel announced plans to build a new 1.8 million-square-foot research facility in Hillsboro, in addition to upgrading four computer chip-manufacturing facilities – two in Arizona and two in Oregon – creating some 6,000 to 8,000 construction jobs and then 800 to 1,000 permanent research and technical positions.
All of this is just what Obama wants to see happen as the country pulls out of its economic doldrums. It’s especially welcome in Oregon, which has been particularly hard hit by the downturn and still has an unemployment rate above 10 percent.