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Could Virginia play a role in the national semiconductor push?

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Virginia already has one manufacturing facility for semiconductors. It’s in Prince William County in northern Virginia.

But, new federal money to encourage fabrication plants could be coming to Virginia.

Virginia has three potential sites that could host new semiconductor fabrication plants, and state officials are hoping some of the new money encouraging domestic production of semiconductors might be coming to Virginia. Legislation passed by the House and the Senate has $39 billion in direct financial assistance for the construction and expansion of manufacturing facilities.

John Provo at Virginia Tech says the Commonwealth could end up manufacturing some of these new chips.

"These plants are a really expensive proposition," Provo says. "And when they actually budget funds along the lines that have been authorized in the bill, that should really level the playing field a bit."

Alok Berry at George Mason University says relying on Chinese-produced semiconductors is a threat to national security.

"And then you are giving all that information to China," Berry explains. "And many times they are misusing that information."

In addition to money for construction and expansion of manufacturing facilities, the legislation approved by Congress also has $11 billion to support workforce training and research – money that could also come to Virginia to prepare workers who will be employed at the new fabrication plants.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria. He has reported for NPR, the New York Daily News and the Alexandria Gazette Packet. He has a master's degree in American Studies from Florida State University, and he is a former adjunct professor at Tallahassee Community College. He is the author of four books.