Barack Obama has named Intel chief executive Paul Otellini to the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Intel also said it plans on building $5 billion chip factory and hire 4,000 employees in the U.S. this year.
While Otellini is not an Obama supporter, he has a common interesting in seeing that the U.S. remains competitive with other countries when it comes to creating manufacturing jobs. The move also shows the growing alliance between Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., as tech jobs are one of the best ways to attack the nation’s stubbornly high unemployment rate of 9 percent.
Intel is the world’s biggest chip maker and is a key U.S. manufacturer, with factories in Arizona, Oregon, California and New Mexico. The company has 82,500 employees and it makes the majority of its chips in the U.S. Otellini recently announced the company would spend $7 billion expanding its U.S. factories. Intel said the new factory will be built on an existing site in Chandler, Ariz.
Obama is taking a tour today of Intel’s chip factory in Hillsboro, Ore. General Electric chief executive Jeffrey Immelt heads the jobs council, which was created by Obama in January. Other industry leaders are expected to be named in coming weeks.
The Intel event follows a dinner last night in Woodside, Calif. at the home of venture capitalist John Doerr. That event was attended by the who’s who of tech company executives, including Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs. It’s all part of one continuous lovefest with technology.
It’s not going to be easy creating jobs in tech, particularly if there’s a big mismatch in skills because of an under-educated work force. Silicon Valley’s own unemployment rate lingers around 10 percent, even though social media is going through a boom.
In his State of the Union address, Obama highlighted the importance of technological innovation.
“The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation,” Obama said. “We’re the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook.”