DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — President Joe Biden is set to visit Durham on Tuesday with a focus on manufacturing, beginning his “Investing in America” tour.
Ronnie Chatterji lives in the Bull City and works with the White House National Economic Council.
“I think that Durham really exemplifies the possibilities in America and what we can do when we work together,” said Chatterji, the acting deputy director of the council.
President Biden will head over to Wolfspeed, a producer of silicon carbide materials. The company is building a $5 billion manufacturing plant in Chatham County, and Chatterji says there are plenty of jobs coming to the Triangle.
“When you look at the 1,800 jobs that Wolfspeed will create, the majority of those jobs are accessible for folks who don’t need a four-year college degree,” he said.
The company’s products can play a key role in the production of electric vehicles.
“We have to make sure that these jobs are available to everyone in Durham and the broader Triangle to make sure that folks, yes, will move here for these jobs, but folks locally can get access to these jobs,” Chatterji said.
At Durham Tech, the community college trains Wolfspeed employees. The partnership was formed back in 2020.
“This is at the heart of renewable energy, 5G networks [and] electric vehicles,” said Durham Tech President J.B. Buxton. “This is the heart of kind of the new industrial revolution.”
Buxton says workforce and economic development is a team sport that can involve the government.
“It takes educational institutions that can provide the education and training,” he said. “It takes companies dedicated to grow… kind of on the cutting edge of these industries. And it takes government involvement.”
Wolfspeed’s CEO says he hopes to fulfill the president’s CHIPS and Science Act, aimed at boosting the American semiconductor industry.