Biden to Announce A.I. Center in Wisconsin as Part of Economic Agenda

Biden to Announce A.I. Center in Wisconsin as Part of Economic Agenda

By Oghale May8,2024

President Biden will travel to Wisconsin on Wednesday to announce the creation of an artificial intelligence data center, highlighting one of his administration’s biggest economic accomplishments in a crucial battleground state — and pointing up a significant failure by his immediate predecessor and 2024 challenger.

At a technical college in Racine, Mr. Biden will announce that Microsoft will invest $3.3 billion to build the center, which the tech giant estimates will create 2,300 union construction jobs and 2,000 permanent jobs, according to the White House. The project is part of Mr. Biden’s “Investing in America” agenda, which has focused on bringing billions of private-sector dollars into manufacturing and industries such as clean energy and artificial intelligence.

In his fourth trip to Wisconsin this year, Mr. Biden will continue an aggressive campaign to paint a contrast between him and former President Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, who is in the fourth week of his criminal trial in connection with payments to a pornographic film star. While in Wisconsin, Mr. Biden will also attend a campaign event, where he will speak to Black voters about the stakes in the election.

In a fact sheet released by the White House, the administration said that Mr. Biden’s visit to Racine would showcase “a community at the heart of his commitment to invest in places that have been historically overlooked or failed by the last administration’s policies.”

The Microsoft data center will be built on grounds where Mr. Trump, as president, announced in 2017 that Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer, would build a $10 billion factory for making LCD panels. The Foxconn factory was supposed to be one of Mr. Trump’s marquee domestic manufacturing victories: the first major factory run by the electronics supplier in Wisconsin, with a promised 13,000 jobs.

Instead, the ill-fated project never materialized as promised, even after receiving millions in subsidies and bulldozing homes and farms to build the factory. The company abandoned its plans and produced only a small fraction of the promised jobs, dealing a major blow to Mr. Trump’s pledge to revitalize American manufacturing as well as to Racine, which lost about 1,000 manufacturing jobs during his four years in office. The information issued by the White House ahead of Mr. Biden’s visit said the new data center would add to the more than 4,000 jobs created in Racine since the president took office.

Mr. Trump took credit for negotiating the Foxconn project, which he promised would be the “eighth wonder of the world.” When Mr. Trump and Foxconn’s chairman at the time, Terry Gou, announced the project at the White House in 2017, Mr. Trump boasted how integral he was to getting the electronics supplier for Apple and other tech giants to invest in Racine.

“I’d see Terry and say, ‘You’ve got to give us one of these massive places,’” Mr. Trump said. “If I didn’t get elected, he definitely wouldn’t be spending $10 billion.”

Microsoft is promising that in addition to its data center, it will invest in work force development in Racine and all of Wisconsin, the White House said.

The company plans to work with Gateway Technical College to develop a “Datacenter Academy” that trains 1,000 workers across the state for data center and science and technology roles by 2030, according to the White House. The company also said it would expand its “Girls in STEM” program to two additional middle schools.

“Wisconsin has a rich and storied legacy of innovation and ingenuity in manufacturing,” Brad Smith, the vice chairman and president of Microsoft, said in a statement. “We will use our resources, scale and know-how to add to these strengths with the world’s most advanced A.I. and the skills training to put it to use.”

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By Oghale

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