The Chips and Science Act was introduced in 2021 and became law in 2022. This act is a direct result of America choosing to compete with China in the areas of semiconductors and microelectronics research and development. It provides funding incentives to include: the creation of a multilateral telecommunications security/multilateral semiconductor security fund and; the production of secure semiconductor supply chain activities that include support, development, and adoption of secure and emergent trusted telecommunications technologies. Both are targeted at the acceleration of, and advancement of domestic development and production of materials related to semiconductors and semiconductors themselves.
Furthermore, there will be funding provided to educate and train the American workforce via the American Workforce and Education Fund for the National Science Foundation (NIST). The Department of Commerce is the funding controller of this new enterprise. They want to see us march toward fabrication, assembly, testing, and packaging of critical semiconductors domestically in order to not be reliant upon China and their ever-changing whims. There will be no funding for anything that is not being conducted on domestic soil.
The National Semiconductor Technology Center was erected to help enlarge our domestic workforce in this industry. Funding will be available for organizations that are already established and new start-ups too. Partnerships with community colleges is invited. NIST is only allowed to support two such Manufacturing USA organizations. The Department of Commerce may also lay groundwork for funding of economically disadvantaged, minority-owned, women-owned, or veteran-owned organizations to spearhead this work.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) will designate the steps our government might take to ensure that we are adequately addressing the semiconductor shortage. Steps should include management of supply chain issues, allocation of demand-side incentives, and other incentives that might spur more rapid development of semiconductor technologies.
The Department of Labor (DOL) will analyze data regarding minority owned businesses, the number of contracts/subcontracts that are being awarded and to whom, and also any workforce data that might include – race, ethnicity, sex, or job category.
The Public Wireless Supply Chain Innovation Fund is handed to Congress annually. This allocates funding for advanced manufacturing via tax credits up to 25% of what the taxpayer invests in any taxable year to create such facilities.
There is much much more to this bill. It is stocked full of inventives and funding for a variety of operations that serve and support the semiconductor industry from the research and development side to modeling, updating, and controlling of these technologies, especially those related to artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML), and even solar and fusion energy technology.
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