January 31, 2024

Illinois has the tools and talent to power America’s next stage of semiconductor tech

Source: The Hill


The world is changing. In the last few decades, technology has permeated every facet of our day-to-day lives. Foreign adversaries now often use technological prowess rather than tanks and troops to project power undermining the very values America holds dear.

Over the past 20 years, the United States has lost a third of all jobs in its semiconductor industry, while the global industry has tripled in size. As the cost of domestic semiconductor production increased, our nation was unable to innovate as much as needed and relied on foreign nations for this critical technology, creating vulnerabilities and opportunities to disrupt in our supply chains that threaten our economic and national security.

Meanwhile, the People’s Republic of China has invested billions into not only semiconductor production, but research into next-generation semiconductor technologies as well, outpacing the U.S. in investing in this critical sector right at a time when it has become central to the global economy.

We understand the enormity of the challenge.

Leading the discovery of quantum supercomputing and next-generation AI will be what keeps America competitive on the global stage. The future strength of our economy depends on America leading and maximizing these discoveries.

That is why we worked together, at both the state and federal levels, to ensure that the Biden-Harris administration’s historic CHIPS and Science Act was signed into law. Thanks to this landmark law, the Biden-Harris administration will soon establish the National Semiconductor Technology Center, bringing together government, industry and higher education to advance semiconductor technology.

Illinois has the infrastructure, workforce, industry partners and scientific ecosystem to become the perfect home for this new center, with coalitions like Innovate Illinois, leading research institutions and a clear-eyed vision about the importance of shaping the next generation of semiconductor technologies.

The state’s vision, the North American Semiconductor Network for Emerging Technology, is our plan to become a global technological powerhouse that will drive America into the future. The network will tap into Illinois’s world-class research institutions, two National Labs, centralized location, seven class-one railroads and globally connected airports to provide the ideal environment for the National Semiconductor Technology Center to thrive.

What’s more, this vision will unleash the promise of our diverse, highly-skilled and organized workforce and help maximize the power of the emerging AI, quantum and semiconductor technologies already being developed in Illinois.

By integrating the National Semiconductor Technology Center within the broader North American Semiconductor Network for Emerging Technology environment, Illinois can lead the way in the next generation of semiconductor technology development, helping bolster our economic and national security and strengthen the critical supply chains America relies upon.

This hub in the heartland will allow America to be architects of the next century. And American workers and American jobs will power this revolution, supplying new technology across the country and around the world.

Throughout our nation’s history — from breakthroughs in medicine and machinery to innovations in microchips and media, America has led the way into the future. As the birthplace of consequential technologies like the cellphone and platforms such as the modern web browser and computer-based education, Illinois has been at the leading edge of innovation for generations.

Now, with its North American Semiconductor Network for Emerging Technology vision, Illinois is ready once again to drive American innovation and success in AI, quantum and other microelectronic technologies that will bring our world into a brighter future.

Illinois is ready to get to work.

By:  Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Tammy Duckworth