Can Indiana Transform Into a Chip Hub? Testing the Heartland

Indiana now wants to catch up to other places that have landed big chip manufacturing plants. The push is supported by Senator Todd Young, a Republican from Indiana, who was a co-author on the CHIPS Act and has been a leading voice on increasing funds for tech hubs. Companies and universities in Indiana have applied for multiple CHIPS Act grants, with the aim of winning awards not only for chip manufacturing but also for research and development.

State leaders acknowledge that any tech transformation could take years, especially if there is no anchor plant by even larger chip manufacturers such as TSMC, the world’s biggest maker of cutting-edge chips.

Mr. Young said he and other state leaders were in talks with big chip makers for a contract that would compare to the $20 billion that Intel committed to Ohio. But “all net new job creation in my lifetime has been created by new firms and young firms,” he said.

Indiana’s chip-making metamorphosis is now centered on a tech park, LEAP Innovation District, in the town of Lebanon near Interstate 65, which connects Indianapolis and Purdue in West Lafayette. The town is surrounded by 15,000 square miles of corn and bean farms.

The park began taking shape along with the CHIPS Act. In 2019, Mr. Young was a co-author of the Endless Frontier Act with Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat of New York and then the Senate minority leader. The bill was the precursor to the CHIPS Act.

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