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Remarks by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo at the HBCU CHIPS Network Launch


Thank you for that introduction, Kylie. I am grateful for your leadership as the Chief Opportunity and Inclusion Officer at CHIPS. It’s my honor to welcome you to the Department of Commerce, especially as we observe Black History Month.

It’s hard to overstate how transformative the CHIPS for America program is going to be for communities across the country. Semiconductors have become integral to nearly every part of our daily lives, and they are rapidly expanding the frontiers of technological innovation.

Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, we are investing $50 billion through the CHIPS for America to revitalize America’s domestic semiconductor industry. It’s going to bolster our national security, spur a new generation of American innovation and R&D, make our supply chains more resilient, and create hundreds of thousands of good jobs.

But we need more workers to meet this moment, from engineers and technicians to researchers and fab managers. That means investing in our workforce and diversifying it. It’s the only way we’re going to get the job done. In fact, I’ve called on college and universities to triple the number of graduates in semiconductor-related fields.

Now, we know that government can’t do it alone. We need a whole-of-society approach, with industry, labor, and educational institutions coming with us together to build a skilled, diverse workforce that can construct and then operate these semiconductor fabs as close to on time and on budget as possible.

At the same time, we have to ensure that America stays at the forefront of technological innovation, especially with the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence. It’s crucial for both our national security and our economic security. The good news is that the CHIPS funding also includes $11 billion to advance U.S. leadership in semiconductor R&D.

And it’s why we need you – America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities – more than ever. You are a key part of meeting our goals. With the launch of the HBCU CHIPS Network – working in conjunction with Georgia Tech – we’re going to help ensure we have the talent and innovation we need while also bridging gaps in access and opportunity for Black Americans, not widening them. I want you to keep thinking about how your HBCUs can work together with private companies to ensure graduates are ready to start working on day one. If you have ideas, talk to my team, because we are all ears. 

CHIPS for America is our chance to tap into our nation’s greatest resources: our unrivaled innovation and our diversity of talent. By doing so, we are going to execute one of the biggest, boldest projects America has ever undertaken. Thank you again for being here today and your willingness to join the HBCU CHIPS Network. This work is important, and we know that your partnership will help ensure that CHIPS for America is a resounding success and bring more Black Americans into our exciting innovation ecosystem. Thank you.