Osceola County Wins Generational Federal Investment in U.S. Semiconductor Manufacturing

Funding received from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge will have compounding ripple effects throughout the economy and positions the region to lead the nation in semiconductor reshoring

ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 02, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Osceola County, in partnership with Orlando Economic Partnership (the Partnership), the University of Central Florida (UCF), BRIDG, the Florida High Tech Corridor (the Corridor), SkyWater Technology, Valencia College, and The Osceola Chamber, received $50.8 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to develop Central Florida’s semiconductor and microelectronics industry cluster.

“Not only is this the first major federal semiconductor investment in the United States, but the site they selected for this historical investment was right here in NeoCity. This is a significant validation of Osceola County’s grand vision to create high-wage, hi-tech jobs at NeoCity,” said Osceola County Commission Chairman Brandon Arrington. “The federal government’s investment accelerates our focused efforts to create more economic opportunities at a higher level than ever before.”

The once-in-a-generation investment funds the expansion of facilities at Osceola County’s NeoCity, the development of a robust semiconductor talent pipeline, and a governance structure modeled after the Central Florida Cluster Initiative, Cenfluence.

“The future of NeoCity innovation is now! This Build Back Better Grant will help address the microchip shortage, lower costs and boost local high paying jobs. What a historic day for Osceola County. Thank you, President Biden and Secretary Raimondo, for your support!” said Congressman Darren Soto (FL-09).

In December, the regional coalition known as the Prosperity Coalition was awarded $500,000 in Phase 1 funding through the EDA’s $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge, which aims to develop and strengthen regional industry clusters across the country while embracing economic equity, creating good-paying jobs, and enhancing U.S. competitiveness globally. One of 60 finalists and the only Florida recipient selected from a pool of 529 applicants, the Coalition utilized the technical assistance funding to develop its Phase 2 proposal.

For the Phase 2 proposal, Coalition members collaborated on a collective vision for semiconductor manufacturing at NeoCity and how it will benefit communities historically excluded from economic prosperity by increasing access to high-wage, high-skill jobs. The final proposal, submitted in March, included seven individual component project proposals aligned to boost the reshoring of U.S. semiconductor manufacturing and the industry’s future in Osceola County.

“Our coalition has worked very hard to make NeoCity successful and this grant affirms the wisdom of our investment and strategies to diversify the economy,” said Osceola County Manager Don Fisher. “As we carve out a unique place in our region’s innovation ecosystem, we will leverage the federal government’s support to make NeoCity a regional hub for semiconductor research, design, and manufacturing.”

Contributions from leaders at Lockheed Martin, Siemens, Valencia College, Lift Orlando as well as from a bipartisan Congressional coalition comprised of 13 members from Florida’s Congressional delegation were instrumental in garnering support from key regional partners and, ultimately, the success of the coalition’s Phase 2 application.

“The EDA’s choice to invest in Osceola County’s vision for semiconductor manufacturing is a testament to the power of partnerships and our region’s collaborative spirit,” said Tim Giuliani, President and CEO of the Orlando Economic Partnership. “This only happens through a decade-long collective effort by regional partners centered around a vision to transform the Orlando region’s innovation ecosystem and create a future where high wage jobs are accessible to everyone.”

As the Partnership continues to advocate for Congress to invest boldly in our nation’s semiconductor manufacturing capacity through funding of the CHIPS Act, the Orlando region is at the forefront of our nation’s drive to secure fractured supply chains and mitigate inflationary pressures.

To learn more about NeoCity, visit Orlando.org/neocity.   

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Coalition Member Quotes

“This award will provide the capability expansion of NeoCity’s semiconductor fabrication facilities and Advanced Packaging Institute is set to catalyze the groundbreaking work of current and future industry partners, cementing NeoCity as the premier site and regional ‘HUB’ for advanced packaging in the U.S.” - Jim Vandevere, President of BRIDG.

“UCF is committed to unleashing potential in people, organizations, ideas, and the communities we serve. With this grant we will have the opportunity to expand our novel digital-twin technology programming and train the next, diverse generation of talent with the skills necessary for jobs of the future.” Dr. Alexander Cartwright, President of the University of Central Florida

“We are very excited about the potential to extend SkyWater’s capabilities and grow operations at Osceola County’s NeoCity and the Center for Neovation, thanks to the EDA’s generational investment in the reshoring of semiconductor research, development, and manufacturing.” – Thomas Sonderman, SkyWater President and Chief Executive Officer

“The Corridor’s Cenfluence framework has already forged internationally recognized industry clusters helping fuel Central Florida’s economy and its application within NeoCity’s semiconductor industry cluster will facilitate expansive formal and informal industry collaboration, advancing the sustainability of semiconductor manufacturing in Osceola County.” – Paul Sohl, CEO of The Florida High Tech Corridor

“Valencia College is committed to building pathways that allow all members of our diverse community to participate fully in the workforce of tomorrow. The integration of our future-focused rapid credentialing programs into Osceola County’s semiconductor research, design, and manufacturing hub at NeoCity expands our ability to deliver transformative opportunities to our students, helping to grow the number of individuals skilled in semiconductor production, advanced manufacturing, and robotics in Central Florida.” – Dr. Kathleen Plinske, President of Valencia College

“The Osceola Chamber celebrates the award of this grant to further the efforts at NeoCity. Our friends at Osceola County and the University of Central Florida deserve credit for creating a vision that is expanding opportunities for Osceola residents and transforming the region. The work continues, but we know that recognition like this proves that business works better together and, when you come to Osceola County, you are first to what’s next.” – John Newstreet President and Chief Executive Officer of The Osceola Chamber

About the Prosperity Coalition Proposal

The Osceola County-led Prosperity Coalition will build upon the initial success of NeoCity, by investing in infrastructure, workforce development, and community reinvestment that leverages new, high-demand production processes, to propel Central Florida as a leader for semiconductor research, development, and manufacturing.

Project 1

Center for Neovation Expansion. Construction and expansion of the County owned Center for Neovation, an advanced manufacturing semiconductor fabrication lab located in NeoCity. Items would include installation of a new 25,000 square foot cleanroom and ultra-pure water treatment utility.

Project 2

Advanced Packaging Program. Purchase and installation of microelectronic advanced packaging machinery to be at NeoCity’s fabrication facilities.

Project 3

Microelectronic Design and Production Digital Twin. Invest in new modeling and simulation equipment to develop a real time digital reproduction (digital twin) of the Center for Neovation and its production line, increasing microchip reliability and productivity, lowering maintenance costs, reducing risk, creating new business, improving supply and delivery chain efficiency, and enabling cross-discipline collaboration to foster innovation.

Project 4

Upskill Osceola. Expand and scale a skills-based workforce development platform that develops a talent pipeline by aligning education and training with the specific skills demanded by the semiconductor industry. The project will leverage unique analytics to help the cluster’s industry partners and their ancillary industries recognize those skills in candidates, particularly workers without traditional academic credentials, like a bachelor’s degree, who may otherwise be overlooked.

Project 5

Catalyst Osceola. Establish a semiconductor cluster management organization (CMO) to develop and manage programs and processes that proactively address the specific development needs of companies within Central Florida’s semiconductor industry. The CMO is a vital component to the long-term sustainability and viability of Central Florida’s semiconductor industry cluster, helping companies leverage tangible business opportunities and overcome common barriers.

Project 6

Internal Governance & Community Engagement. Establish a formal governance structure tasked with administering the grant, ensuring the attainment of targeted outcomes, and a community engagement framework to ensure the community’s voice is heard in the Coalition’s board and to inform the community of the economic opportunities associated with the projects.

Available for interviews:

Osceola County Manager Don Fisher

Tim Giuliani, President & CEO, Orlando Economic Partnership

About Osceola County

Osceola County is the third fastest growing county in the nation. We anticipate the future before it happens, forever pioneers when it comes to planning communities and economies that work. We are a diverse community of lifelong residents and recent transplants, third-generation immigrants and new arrivals – all who flourish here because Osceola County brings you closer to what’s most important. Our residents have the opportunity to lead a full life alongside people who share your aspirations for the future. We excel at turning the most ambitious ideas into reality. People here aren’t just hardworking. They are innovative, visionary, and entrepreneurial; they are the free-flowing energy that powers every industry in Central Florida. Our legacy is leading Central Florida by example -- you can always count on Osceola to put you in the right place at the right time, so you can be first to what’s next.

About NeoCity

Following the impacts of the Great Recession, Osceola County decided to make a long-term investment to create a 500-acre technology district, known as NeoCity to diversify its economy. Since then, Osceola County, and their regional partners, have invested over $273 million to make NeoCity the hub to Central Florida’s burgeoning semiconductor industry. NeoCity’s anchor building, the Center for NeoVation, (total of 109,000 sq. ft) consisting of a 36,000 square ft. clean room, is one of the most technologically advanced manufacturing research centers in the western hemisphere, home to SkyWater Technology, imec USA, BRIDG, and SUSS MicroTech. The Osceola County School District’s NeoCity Academy, located next to the Center for NeoVation, works with SkyWater, BRIDG, and imec USA to provide internships for the high school students to work in the fab.

About University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida is a public metropolitan research university in Orlando. Founded in 1963, UCF and its 13 colleges offer more than 220 degrees from the university’s main campus, downtown campus, hospitality campus, health sciences campus, online and through multiple regional locations. UCF is an academic, partnership and research leader in optics and lasers, modeling and simulation, engineering and computer science, and video game design. According to U.S. News & World Report, UCF ranks among the nation’s most innovative universities.

About BRIDG:
BRIDG is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership specializing in digital and RF silicon interposer technology development coupled with advanced packaging capabilities. BRIDG offers R&D expertise and a 200mm microelectronics fabrication facility, geared toward system miniaturization, device integration, hardware security, and product manufacturing key to aerospace, defense, automotive, telecommunications, medical, and the IoT/AI revolution. Supported by Osceola County, Florida High Tech Corridor Council, IMEC, TEL, SUSS, Siemens and our Center for NeoVation operator SkyWater. BRIDG is an ITAR-certified and DMEA trust-ready supplier that provides the physical infrastructure and collaborative process to connect challenges and opportunities with solutions; “Bridging the Innovation Development Gap” making commercialization possible. Located at NeoCity—a 500-acre master-planned community of innovation in Florida—BRIDG is centrally located 20 minutes from Orlando International Airport and within a mile of Florida’s Turnpike. GoBRIDG.com

About the Florida High Tech Corridor
The 23-county region that defines The Corridor is anchored by three of the country’s largest research institutions: the University of Central Florida (UCF), the University of South Florida (USF) and the University of Florida (UF). Our mission is to converge and catalyze the capacity of high tech, innovation, and bright minds to generate a global ripple effect that advances the lives of people in the communities we serve. Powered by an ethos of collaboration, we align opportunities and resources in academia, industry, and economic development to unleash our region’s exponential potential.

About SkyWater Technology
SkyWater (NASDAQ: SKYT) is a U.S.-owned semiconductor manufacturer and a DMEA-accredited Trusted supplier. SkyWater’s Technology as a ServiceSM model streamlines the path to production for customers with development services, volume production and heterogeneous integration solutions in its world-class U.S. facilities. This pioneering model enables innovators to co-create the next wave of technology with diverse categories including mixed-signal CMOS, ROICs, rad-hard ICs, power management, MEMS, superconducting ICs, photonics, carbon nanotubes and interposers. SkyWater serves growing markets including aerospace & defense, automotive, biomedical, cloud & computing, consumer, industrial and IoT. For more information, visit: www.skywatertechnology.com.

About The Osceola Chamber
Founded in 1924, The Osceola Chamber represents approximately 900 small, medium and large companies, organizations, and governments. From cattle operations going back generations, to entrepreneurs just getting their companies started, The Osceola Chamber includes virtually every type of business. Our members count on us to be the voice of Osceola County business at all levels of government. We advocate on behalf of our members for a business climate that enables them to succeed at growing their bottom line.

About Orlando Economic Partnership
The Orlando Economic Partnership (the Partnership) is the Orlando region’s economic and community development organization that is seizing the moment to advance Broad-based Prosperity® by growing the diversity of the economy and driving investment into the region. The Partnership catalyzes the collaborative spirit of the region to fuel regional leadership and improve the region’s competitiveness. For more information on how Orlando is Unbelievably Real, visit InvestOrlando.org.

Media Contact:
Justin Braun
Orlando Economic Partnership
Director of Communications and Public Affairs
407.902.0211 // Justin.Braun@Orlando.org
Media Toolkit

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Osceola County & Partners