- Osceola County on Friday was awarded $50.8 million to accelerate the growth of the specialized semiconductor production in the county’s NeoCity technology park
- The funding comes as part of the American Rescue Plan’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge
- County officials argued that diversification of job openings in the region is crucial after experiencing high rates of unemployment and subsequent reemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Gov. Ron DeSantis in January allocated $6 million of state funding to Osceola County to expand its southern corridor to directly connect with NeoCity.
Osceola County is set to receive an influx of funding following a federal award of nearly $51 million to further the development of the NeoCity technology park.
With $50.8 million in funding, Building Central Florida’s Semiconductor Cluster for Broad-Based Prosperity will accelerate the growth of the specialized semiconductor cluster at NeoCITY, a technology park developed in partnership with the state.
The coalition will upgrade advanced manufacturing capabilities to expand research and production of customized semiconductor products, increase production efficiency, and boost education and workforce training.
“The Economic Development Administration (EDA) is dedicated to working with communities to assist their strategies for pandemic recovery,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment will support Central Florida as it builds a diverse and resilient 21st Century economy.”
The funds were provided as a component of the America Rescue Plan’s $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge.
Osceola County presented the argument to the EDA that county leaders considered it necessary to diversify its economy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak.
According to the EDA, the funding will enable Osceola County’s semiconductor manufacturing to grow and advance.
“Today’s new grant means new good-paying jobs right here in Central Florida,” said Congresswoman and Democrat Senate nominee Val Demings. “This competitive grant will help the growing semiconductor cluster at NeoCITY invest in research and production, plus new training and education programs to make sure that these new jobs are available to all Floridians.”
In January, Gov. Ron DeSantis awarded $6 million to Osceola County to expand the southern corridor of the county to connect with NeoCity.
DeSantis placed focus on semiconductor chip manufacturing, calling the ongoing chip shortage a major issue facing not just Floridians, but businesses nationwide.
“Manufacturing is something that we need to do a better job of. We’ve worked really hard … to expand our manufacturing footprint and we want to continue doing that moving forward,” said DeSantis. “Semiconductors are a huge issue. If you look at how the supply chain works, we are overly dependent on foreign nations, including Taiwan, which is a good ally of ours but is one that is under really serious pressure by the CCP in China, so I think the more we can do manufacturing semiconductors here, the better off we’ll be.
NeoCity is a developing extension of the growing tech scene in central Florida and its surrounding areas, housing both domestic and international technology companies. The research park intends to serve as a “catalyst for high-tech innovation and creation, including jobs and capital investment,” according to its website.
NeoCity is strategically located between two state universities, the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida, which boast top engineering programs. The schools would have opportunities to conduct research within NeoCity facilities, and could eventually serve as a job pipeline for the two schools.