Micron Promises Community Investment Ahead of Its Arrival Micron Promises Community Investment Ahead of Company's Arrival

An Onondaga County town hall puts Micron's plans for the community to the test.

Anchor: Questions about community and workforce development from residents are circling ahead of Micron’s arrival to Onondaga County. Did Central New Yorkers get their answers? NCC News’ Brooke Borzymowski has more.

Brooke Borzymowski: Since the announcement of Micron coming to CNY, locals are wondering how the county will meet the needs of their growing community. Residents got the chance to air these concerns in a town hall meeting last night with Micron executives and County Executive Ryan McMahon. Micron’s Chief People Officer April Arnzen said the company promises a holistic approach when finding suppliers and collaborators.

April Arnzen: In all of the community’s in which we operate, we go the extra mile to look for small businesses, locally owned businesses that we can partner with.

Borzymowski: Arnzen also said Micron will contribute its network of resources to issues like poverty and keeping kids in school.

Arnzen: We will pull all the resources we have, again we do have a foundation and philanthropic efforts that we can invest in the schools as well, so whatever the systemic barriers are, we’ll partner with you to find solutions. Absolutely.

Borzymowski: Arnzen believes deep community investment is key in Micron’s biggest project yet. Brooke Borzymowski, NCC News.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — When choosing a site for their largest manufacturing project yet, Micron Technology officials had a “bet your company moment” in their hands.  April Arnzen, Micron’s Chief People Officer, said that wherever the company chose to plant its $100 billion investment, it would have to be all-in on the community, its people, and its potential.

So, when it comes to questions about Micron supporting Onondaga County’s development and expanding workforce, Arnzen said the semiconductor manufacturing company is willing to get out in the community and do the heavy lifting.

During a town hall meeting on Monday, April 10, at West Genessee High School, Micron executives and County Executive Ryan McMahon gave updates on the partnership and fielded questions from locals in the audience.  One of the most sought-after answers from the crowd was what resources Micron would be able to offer the community ahead of the transition.

In response, McMahon said the county negotiated a Community Benefit Agreement with Micron in which the company agreed to invest $250 million into the community itself.  An advisory committee will decide later what the money will go towards, such as issues like workforce development, education, transportation, and childcare.

Arnzen, however, noted that Micron’s engagement is more than just monetary.  She said, “It’s not just building our facility and making sure we’re running our operations but actually being part of the community, being present in the community.”

Locals also aired concerns about building a workforce that meets Micron’s needs for success.  Years out from opening the facility, Arnzen said Micron is putting in the work in CNY by investing in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs in local school districts, holding Chip Camps for K-12 students, and changing the narrative around engineering.

Arnzen said, “Inspiring these kids to pursue STEM early, in middle school, is really important to us because those are going to be our employees down the road.”

Not only do students need the incentive to get into STEM but so do educators.  Arnzen said, that’s why Micron has also invested in fellowships that will push teachers towards the engineering field, either to get their students excited about the content or get involved in it themselves.

But these opportunities are available to more than just youngest generation of employees.  McMahon said that one of the “competitive advantages” the county had in securing Micron is the veteran labor in CNY.  Because of Syracuse University’s National Veterans Resource Center (NVRC) and the proximity of Fort Drum, Micron has committed to having 1,500 veteran positions in Clay.

Involving suppliers and businesses that are owned by veterans, women, locals, and diverse groups is just another promise from Micron ahead of its arrival.  Arnzen stressed the importance of the company’s “holistic approach,” which is why the relationship is already growing.

“We didn’t even have our first employee here yet, and we already have started writing those checks and making those investments in the community,” Arnzen said.  “We are continuing the conversations with the community to make sure we are responsible community members.”

In addition to Micron and Central New York’s growing connection, site preparation is also in the beginning stages.  According to McMahon, construction is set to kick in after next winter, and the facility should be operational in 2026.

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