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Micron could become the biggest private employer in the Boise area with new expansion

Sept. 2, 2022 Updated Fri., Sept. 2, 2022 at 9:13 p.m.

By Alex Brizee Idaho Statesman

Ever dreamed of working for Micron Technology Inc.? This could be your chance.

Micron announced Thursday that it would be expanding its southeast Boise campus to build a new fab, which means semiconductor fabrication, to manufacture memory chips. With the $15 billion investment into building a new expansion comes jobs – 2,000 of them.

Moira Whalen, a senior manager with Micron, told the Idaho Statesman by email that Micron’s investment will create over 17,000 new American jobs, and about 2,000 of them will be with Micron in Boise. Whalen said the other 15,000-plus jobs, which were not exclusive to Boise, will include, suppliers, contractors and “other supporting roles.”

Micron is tied or falls right behind St. Luke’s Health System as the largest private-sector employer in the Treasure Valley, according to data from the Boise Valley Economic Partnership and Micron. St. Luke’s is nonprofit, so Micron is the largest for-profit employer of Treasure Valley workers, and of Idahoans overall.

The Boise Valley Economic Partnership, on its website, says St. Luke’s has between 6,000 to 6,999 employees. The partnership publishes ranges, not specific numbers, which can change rapidly. St. Luke’s also has operations throughout the state, including the Wood River Medical Center and the St. Luke’s McCall Medical Center, which employ additional personnel that isn’t accounted for in the partnership’s numbers.

Micron said in its news release that it had more than 6,000 employees in Boise, although Micron’s general counsel told the Statesman in early August that the company employs about 7,000 in Boise and Meridian.

“Micron has been a really valuable employer in the valley since their beginning,” Beth Ineck, the economic development director for the economic partnership, told the Statesman by phone.” And we’re excited that they have chosen to continue to invest in the facility here and continue to grow.”

Ineck said the partnership expects the jobs created by Micron will be high-paying. She pointed toward investments Micron is already making and plans to boost education in science, technology, engineering and math. Micron needs workers with STEM backgrounds.

Micron, in its news release, said it would “expand investment for K-12 STEM education programs and increase focus on reaching underrepresented and rural student populations.”

Micron also announced a partnership with the College of Western Idaho to teach curriculum like “advanced mechatronics engineering technology” and prepare students to join Micron’s apprenticeship program. Mechatronics is a field within mechanical engineering that requires “skill sets needed in the contemporary, advanced automated manufacturing industry,” according to Michigan Technological University.

“CWI is thrilled to work side-by-side with Micron in supporting the launch of this expansion and is ready to provide education and training to fuel the workforce for these jobs,” the College of Western Idaho said on its website.

The college described the curriculum as working with smart technologies like “robots, automated guided systems, and computer-integrated manufacturing equipment.”

Ineck said the partnership is “tremendous.”

“All of our employees across the Valley and the state of Idaho benefit from those investments in education,” Ineck said.

Micron also said they would be opening a “world-class child care facility” to be operated by the Treasure Valley Family YMCA. The center is expected to add local jobs, Whalen said, though the number is unclear. Whalen said the center will “result in a net increase in capacity for the strained child care situation in the Valley.”

The child care center is expected to be located across from the southeast Boise headquarters on Federal Way and will “provide STEM-based programming and provide easy access for parents to interact with their children during the day and ease the transition for those, especially mothers, returning to the workforce.”

Top 10 Treasure Valley private employers aside from Micron

These figures were collected by the Boise Valley Economic Partnership and the numbers were updated in the past six months.

St. Luke’s Health System: 6,000 – 6,999

Saint Alphonsus Health System: 5,000 – 5,999

Albertsons: 3,000 – 3,999

Walmart: 3,000 – 3,999

Simplot: 2,000 – 2,999

HP Inc: 1,400 – 1,499

Fred Meyer: 1,500 – 1,599

Ataraxis, Inc: 1,500 – 1,599

Idaho Power: 1,400 – 1,499

Wells Fargo: 1,400 – 1,499

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