Gov. Walz highlights investments in chips, semiconductors

Published: Jul. 7, 2023 at 5:46 PM CDT
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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (KTTC) – Governor Tim Walz visited Bloomington-based Polar Semiconductor on Friday, highlighting the Minnesota-based company’s efforts in the chip manufacturing field.

“The idea of the cluster of innovation, especially around chip technology and some of the fabrication is part of Minnesota’s DNA,” said the Governor.

Walz touted the $500M dollar MN Forward Fund, an investment into the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development, or DEED, designed to match federal investments in private sector ventures.

“I’m proud to say that the Minnesota legislature with the help of the folks here, we were able to leverage every single penny on the transportation, the infrastructure, the broadband, and the chips dollars and the things we’re going to need,” he said.

More specifically, half of that funding is available for chips manufacturers like Polar. Federally available funding could help the company and others like it double their output.

“$250M of it is earmarked for the semiconductor industry, so we are poised for even greater growth in an industry that is already doing great things,” said Commissioner of DEED Matt Varilek.

Varilek explained that the investment, alongside a federal match, will give Minnesota-based manufacturers a leg up and a unique place in the growing chips industry.

“We know that over time, our share of global production has declined. We have innovative companies right here in Minnesota that are equipped to address that issue,” Varilek says.

The degree to which that money can be used will be determined by the federal funding process.

Polar Semiconductor’s President and COO Surya Iyer explained that the application process for federal grants could take time, but they’re excited to be part of the process in the meantime.

“It is a little bit murkier on how long the Chips Program Office, or CPO is going to take to make those decisions,” said Iyer.