Schumer touts semiconductor legislation in visit to Canton's Corning plant

·3 min read

Aug. 29—CANTON — Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer visited Corning Inc. Monday to tout his recently passed CHIPS and Science Act and how it would help keep the U.S. at the forefront of innovation and create jobs.

Following a brief tour of the Corning facility at 334 County Route 16 in Canton, Sen. Schumer, D-N.Y., held a brief press conference attended by Corning leadership, members of the United Steelworkers union, and local, county and college leaders.

The Senate passed the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act on July 27, followed by the House the next day and President Joseph R. Biden's signature in early August. Sen. Schumer called the bill's passage historic.

The legislation — CHIPS meaning Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors — includes $52.7 billion in subsidies for domestic semiconductor manufacturing and research, aimed at keeping the U.S. competitive with China. It also includes funding for research programs and technology hubs around the country. It's a slimmed down version of what Congress had been negotiating for months.

"It makes the largest investment in American innovation and manufacturing in decades and it's going to bring federal investment to every corner of New York," Sen. Schumber said. This is especially true for the $50 billion incentive that will act as a lightning rod to make semiconductor chips here in America and in upstate New York, not overseas."

Semiconductors — which fall between electrical conductors and insulators — are used in electronic appliances and in equipment control in a variety of fields, including for automobile safety features, heating and cooling equipment and laser medical treatments.

While production of the semiconductor chips will take place in New York's Capital Region, Corning's Canton plant will be at the forefront "with the production of the materials that are essential to making chips," according to Sen. Schumer.

"Corning is central to this. We couldn't make chips without the glass components that are made right here in Canton," he said. "There is a huge demand for the product here. And now that we are growing chips here in America, everyone is going to need the specialized glasses that are coming out of this Canton plant."

With more than 7,000 employees in New York, Corning has roughly 380 at the Canton facility. Sen. Schumer is expecting that number to grow in the near future as production of the semiconductor components increases.

"This industry is going to grow fast with this bill — pretty good for Corning's north country operations," Sen. Schumer said. "The effort I've led in Washington to make investments in chips in the U.S. will mean even more jobs and more growth here at Corning, right here in the north country. The bill isn't just about building chips factories, it's also about training a new generation of workers."

It will include funding through the National Science Foundation for colleges and universities to help train graduates "to work here so when people get out of college they will have a good paying job," he said.

In a statement, Corning CEO Wendell P. Weeks said the company is grateful for Sen. Schumer's leadership in passing the legislation, and that it would "strengthen semiconductor manufacturing in the United States."

"Corning's advanced optics materials and products — made at our facilities in Fairport and Canton, New York — and research at Sullivan Park in Corning are supporting the growing semiconductor industry," Mr. Weeks said. "Coupled with continued investments in the industry, we believe passage of this critical legislation will further increase the resilience of the U.S. semiconductor supply chain."

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., visited the Canton Corning plant Monday to tout his recently passed CHIPS and Science Act. Matt Curatolo/Watertown Daily Times

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks at a press conference held at Canton's Corning plant on Monday. Matt Curatolo/Watertown Daily Times