On Tuesday, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) issued the First Notice Of Funding Opportunity (First NOFO) under the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 (CHIPS Act), P.L. 117-167. As we have covered, the CHIPS Act provides for federal funding and assistance for the U.S. semiconductor industry, including building and operating new semiconductor factories, and the First NOFO makes that funding and assistance available (as detailed in our related alert here) to commercial semiconductor fabrication facilities in the U.S.
The First NOFO places special emphasis on applicants’ workforce and community investment. As a measure of workforce investment, applicants seeking $150 million or more in CHIPS funding must provide a plan for access to high-quality, affordable, and reliable child care for facility and construction workers, and applicants seeking under $150 million are encouraged to do so. Applicants may plan to provide child care in a variety of ways, including through new on-site or nearby child care, pre-arranged agreements with existing child care providers, and child care subsidies.
The First NOFO also requires applicants to demonstrate their alignment and understanding of the economic and national security objectives of the CHIPS Act; their partnership with states and local governments; workforce training; and “executable plans” for program implementation, supply chain risk mitigation, and combatting intellectual property theft.
While the Government has often used contract and grant opportunities to advance policy objectives, this NOFO is one of the first to specifically recognize affordable and available childcare as a priority for workforce development. We will continue to monitor CHIPS Act implementation and funding opportunities.