FAIRPORT, N.Y. — The Rochester area is poised to become the leader in the semiconductor manufacturing industry, according to Gov. Kathy Hochul and Sen. Chuck Schumer, who spent time in Fairport on Friday.
“This is a part of our identity,” said Hochul. "What Corning does, I mean, not just in the Southern Tier, but here in Fairport and Canton, is part of our community’s identity.
A staple in New York for 170 years, Corning is a leading employer and global manufacturer of specialty glass. It's also a company that continues to reinvent itself – now manufacturing semiconductor chips.
“To make those chips, you actually need Corning technology. We make precision optics here in Fairport, New York that enables the equipment to make the semiconductor chips," said John Bayne, Corning Inc. senior vice president and general manager, mobile consumer electronics.
Semiconductor chips are used in thousands of items – including cars, phones and computers – and have been in short supply since the pandemic.
“This equipment is used by every major chip maker in every step of making their chips,” said Schumer. “Without facilities like this, our chip industry would fall apart and our economy would fall apart. That's how essential what we're doing here is.”
“I'm really proud that we are now the epicenter of technology jobs," said Hochul.
She and Sen. Schumer were at Corning Inc. in Fairport to announce support for the company’s expansion efforts – with a $139 million investment.
Corning is expanding its Advanced Optics Facility in the Village of Fairport, adding more than 270 jobs.
A new state-of-the-art Laser Optics production facility will be built in Gates.
The developments at Corning are bigger than the financial investment in additional jobs.
“We can no longer be held captive to foreign supply chains,” said Hochul. “Everything should be manufactured here because we know how to do it. We do it best. And that is why the semiconductor industry needs to blossom here in the state of New York.”
"What you're doing here brings manufacturing back to the United States because what you make is so important," said Schumer.
So it’s not just glass Corning that manufactures – but glass is used in the process of making the chips.
“To make a semiconductor chip is an incredibly complicated process..." Bayne explains, "This glass prism here goes in a laser module that would help write the circuitry on the chip. And then you have to inspect the wafer and the chip as it goes through the process and that's what this sphere does. We make these spheres as precision glass precision formed and polished and inspected. And we'll make inspection tools that have dozens of these stacked up in a column to inspect the microchip as it goes through the process. So Corning plays a vital role in enabling the semiconductor industry.”
These leaders believe this effort will put our region on the map as the epicenter of the semiconductor industry.
“You’re going to look back at this day and say, ‘this is when everything changed,’” said Hochul.