Mid-sized pickup trucks and full-size vans are seen in a parking lot outside a General Motors assembly plant where they are produced in this March 2021 photo. A global shortage of semiconductors has forced General Motors to cut production at some North American factories over the past year. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) Semiconductor Manufacturing in Michigan
Mid-sized pickup trucks and full-size vans are seen in a parking lot outside a General Motors assembly plant where they are produced in this March 2021 photo. A global shortage of semiconductors has forced General Motors to cut production at some North American factories over the past year. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Here’s why Michigan is primed to meet the growing demand for semiconductor manufacturing head-on.

MONITOR TWP., Mich.—SK Siltron, a semiconductor wafer manufacturer, is building a new facility in mid-Michigan to help in Michigan’s push for the development and creation of electric vehicles, investing $302 million and creating 150 new jobs. 

The project builds on the state’s move toward being a leader in the development of electric vehicles by producing more of the chips needed by the auto industry. The investment was announced on Aug. 24 along with two community revitalization projects bringing essential housing to Detroit-area neighborhoods. 

“Today’s actions show our continued focus on jumpstarting Michigan’s economy by creating good-paying jobs, building on our state’s advanced manufacturing and tech sectors, and supporting transformational placemaking efforts in communities,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement at the time of the announcement.  “These projects are further proof that Michigan is a place where technology, research, and innovation are paired with a fierce work ethic that creates economic opportunities for businesses of all sizes.” 

Made in Michigan, Needed Nationally 

SK Siltron, which is a subsidiary of SK Siltron and headquartered in Auburn, Michigan, manufactures semiconductor wafers used in power system components. The wafers are thin slices of semiconductor substance—such as silicon—used to make electrical circuits that are becoming increasingly popular with the emergence of electric vehicles and as phone companies expand 5G and other cellular capabilities. 

A facility in Monitor Township, which is located near Bay City, Michigan, is being acquired and rehabbed by SK Siltron as it works toward its new manufacturing goals. Officials said the project is expected to generate $302 million and create 150 jobs, all of which is supported by a $1.5 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.

Michigan was chosen for the site over other states, including Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas, with company officials citing the state’s talent and proximity to automakers. 

“SK Siltron’s high-profile commitment proves further evidence that Michigan remains a place where high-tech talent needs can be met and tech companies can grow, and we thank the company for its vote of confidence in our state and our workforce,” said Quentin Messer, Jr., CEO of the MEDC and President and Chair of the Michigan Strategic Fund. “The company’s investment in Michigan is a clear example of how top attraction projects are finding opportunities to grow in the state underscoring Michigan’s leadership position in electric vehicle R&D and manufacturing.” 

READ MORE: Electric Vehicles Are Being Built in Michigan—Here’s How the Workforce Is Preparing

State officials said they expect the project to attract high-wage jobs in high-tech manufacturing—ranging from semi-skilled operators to engineers—and will continue to strengthen Michigan’s automotive, mobility, and advanced manufacturing industries. 

Jianwei Dong, chief executive officer for SK Siltron CSS, said the growth of electric vehicles across the world is opening “an exciting new chapter for the auto industry.”

“SK Siltron CSS is proud to partner with the State of Michigan to build the supply chain and create the skilled jobs required to support the next generation of EVs, ensuring Michigan remains the automotive center of the world,” Dong said. 

Leading the Charge For Electric Vehicles

In July, Ford Motor Co. announced plans for a new global battery center in Romulus as the state continued its dive into electric vehicle manufacturing. 

Michigan’s automotive industry purchased nearly $35 million in products and services from state semiconductor companies in 2020. The move built on Michigan’s leadership role in semiconductor research and development, which is due in part to the state’s talent and presence in the field. Michigan is home to Hemlock Semiconductor, KLA in Ann Arbor, and the University of Michigan, which is the top global institute for semiconductor training on today’s issues to help solve tomorrow’s problems, according to state officials.

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Demand for semiconductor manufactures is expected to skyrocket in the near future, and Michigan—with the help of companies like SK Siltron—is aiming to meet the demand. 

“SK Siltron CSS is a world-class, high-tech, company that could have chosen to invest anywhere in the world,”  said Bay Future, Inc. President and CEO Trevor Keyes. “We are appreciative that they decided to choose to invest here in Bay County. 

“Our community, region, and state have a storied history of manufacturing, specifically in the automotive industry,” Keyes continued.  “This investment represents the future of that foundation where ingenuity and know-how will drive an engine of innovation and technology.  We are pleased and thankful for having had the opportunity to work closely with the MSF, the MEDC, and SK Siltron CSS to secure this significant capital investment and new job-creating project.”  

Anyone interested in one of the Monitor Township jobs can apply here. 

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