Biden will announce AI Center in Wisconsin as part of economic agenda

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 achievements in a crucial state and underscoring a significant failure of his immediate predecessor and 2024 challenger.

At a technical college in Racine, 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 Biden's “Investing in America” ​​agenda, which has focused on bringing billions of private sector dollars into manufacturing and areas such as clean energy and artificial intelligence.

In his fourth trip to Wisconsin this year, Biden will continue an aggressive campaign to paint a contrast between himself 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, Biden will also participate in a campaign event, where he will talk to black voters about what's at stake in the election.

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

Microsoft's data center will be built on land where Trump, as president, announced in 2017 that Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics maker, would build a $10 billion factory to make LCD panels. The Foxconn factory was supposed to be one of Trump's key domestic manufacturing victories: the first major factory run by the electronics supplier in Wisconsin, with the promise of 13,000 jobs.

Instead, the ill-fated project never materialized as promised, even after receiving millions in subsidies and demolishing homes and farms to build the factory. The company abandoned its plans and produced only a fraction of the promised jobs, dealing a blow to Trump's pledge to revitalize American manufacturing and to Racine, which lost about 1,000 manufacturing jobs during his four years in office. Information released by the White House ahead of 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.

Trump took credit for negotiating the Foxconn project, which he said would become “the eighth wonder of the world.” When Trump and Foxconn's then-president, Terry Gou, announced the project at the White House in 2017, Trump boasted about how instrumental he had been in convincing the electronics supplier for Apple and other tech giants to invest in Racine.

“I would see Terry and say, 'You've got to give us one of these huge seats,'” Trump said. “If I wasn't elected, he definitely wouldn't spend $10 billion.”

Microsoft promises that in addition to its data center, it will invest in workforce development in Racine and throughout Wisconsin, the White House said.

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

“Wisconsin has a rich and historic legacy of innovation and ingenuity in manufacturing,” Brad Smith, vice president and president of Microsoft, said in a statement. “We will use our resources, scale and know-how to add to these strengths the world's most advanced artificial intelligence and the skills training to put it into practice.”

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