Semiconductor giant GlobalFoundries is moving its corporate headquarters from the Silicon Valley to Saratoga County, New York.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and CEO Tom Caulfield broke the news Monday in front of the company’s Fab 8 facility in Malta. Schumer says the move from Santa Clara, California “cements” Saratoga County as the center of the GlobalFoundries universe.
“You know, when we broke ground on this massive building, I said that for the last 150 years, Saratoga was known for potato chips. But the next 150 will be known for computer chips,” he adds. “And that’s a great change.”
GlobalFoundries has poured more than $15 billion into Fab 8 over the past decade, and now the site houses nearly 3,000 of the company’s 7,000 employees nationwide. For Caulfield, the decision to move was a long time coming – the site has increasingly taken on HQ operations since he became CEO in 2018.
While the coastal shift doesn’t immediately mean new jobs for the Capital Region, it does bring plenty of hope for expansion – both in Malta and the semiconductor industry overall.
As a global shortage in computer chips continues to stall production and drive up prices for things like cars, smartphones, and appliances, lawmakers and companies alike are looking to expand manufacturing capacity, particularly in the U.S. Caulfield says 50 percent of the semiconductor industry is headquartered in the country – but most manufacturing actually takes place overseas.
“Our way of life, our society, the world depends on these tiny devices which power a $91 trillion world economy,” says Caulfield. “And GF is only one of five companies in the world that manufactures the majority of the world’s semiconductors, and the only one with a global manufacturing footprint, and the only one with a huge foundry in the U.S.”
Last year, Schumer stopped by GlobalFoundries to tout the passage of new incentives for semiconductor manufacturing, research, and design, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. Next month, the New York Democrat says he’ll push bipartisan legislation that would provide $50 billion to fund those incentives.
“And we’re doing another thing as well. At the heart of this effort is something called the EFA, the Endless Frontier Act. In addition to the investment in chip fab, we want $100 billion to go into pure and applied research on the highest ends of technology,” Schumer explains. “Things like advanced AI, quantum computing, research into battery storage and electricity storage, 5G. The industries where we have to be at the forefront.”
Caulfield says GlobalFoundries eventually hopes to double capacity at Fab 8. While no specific plans for expansion were announced Monday, Caulfield says the company is doubling its planned investment to expand manufacturing capacity worldwide, with $500 million targeted for Malta alone.
Saratoga County officials were quick to celebrate the decision Monday. County Board of Supervisors Chair Todd Kusnierz says a potential expansion of Fab 8 would be monumental for the region.
“The immediate impact will be construction jobs and getting the facility expanded,” explains Kusnierz. “But long term, you’re going to have well-paying jobs, bringing opportunities to those individuals in the county with expertise in this area. And it’s just overall, a fantastic benefit to the county overall.”
Todd Shimkus is president of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce:
“You’re talking about good paying jobs, high-tech jobs, you’re talking about construction jobs, and certainly, as we know from the first time around, this certainly has an exponential impact far greater than any of the investments that are made to make this happen,” he notes.
GlobalFoundries also has manufacturing sites in East Fishkill, New York, and Burlington Vermont.
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