President Biden signed the Chips and Science Act into law just last month, but Department of Commerce (DoC) Secretary Gina Raimondo said this week that Americans need to see tangible benefits from this legislation “as fast as possible” to build needed long-term support for domestic semiconductor production.

Secretary Raimondo explained that Americans don’t always see everything government does for citizens, but seeing tangible results from the CHIPS Act – one of the centerpieces of the Chips and Science Act – will be helpful to build continuing support.

“If Americans soon see new bridges, new construction projects, internet working in their house, a new semiconductor manufacturing facility built in their community, etc. – that will be visible signs of government working for them,” Raimondo said during an event hosted by The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution on Sept. 28.

“I think people are impatient, and they shouldn’t be. It’s not easy right now. Most Americans are just paycheck to paycheck every week. So, they’re demanding results and I think we’ve got to produce pretty quickly,” she added.

The CHIPS Act provides $52 billion of funding to incentivize semiconductor makers to establish new manufacturing plants in the United States. President Biden signed an executive order on Aug. 25 to jumpstart implementation of the act and establish a new CHIPS Implementation Steering Council.

“I have quite a big vision for this semiconductor implementation, which is much more than just building new facilities,” Raimondo said. “There’ll be new training programs. People will be thinking, maybe I’ll go to community college and become a semiconductor process engineer. So, I think that people will see that and of course, it isn’t just chips.”

Raimondo predicted Americans will soon see a “renaissance in advanced manufacturing,” which includes job opportunities in areas such as offshore wind, solar, and electric vehicle batteries.

“So what will America see? Jobs – better jobs. Also, more manufacturing jobs, and I’m determined to make sure that a fair share of those jobs go to women,” she said. “You know, the average apprentice welder makes 32 bucks an hour. Like, let’s make sure that’s equally shared.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.