Is Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Harming Arizona’s Chip Industry?

By Ronald Sampson

DEI, or Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, has been one of the biggest buzzwords in America for the last few years. It has gone from a vague talking point amongst political progressives to a fundamental credo in much of corporate America in the last decade. Generally speaking, it is the pursuit of diversity in your workforce and groups, equity of outcomes, and inclusion of all marginalized communities.

To the political left, it is a vital aspect of the prism through which they see society. To the political right, it is a symptom of political correctness run amok. To the head of HR at your company, it is either something they strongly believe in or boxes they feel they need to check.

Generally, it is seen as more of a tangential aspect of corporate America, but a new op-ed in The Hill brings up some disturbing news related to DEI and the CHIPS Act, one of President Biden’s hallmark pieces of legislation. In essence, it says that stringent DEI requirements tucked into the CHIPS Act is having major multinational companies reconsider their planned expansions in America and is truly imperiling its potential efficacy.

Noted in the op-ed is that TSMC, the major semiconductor producer that has made major plans to invest tens of billions of dollars in Arizona to increase its production footprint here, is rethinking those plans. The Taiwanese company had planned on bringing over 500 specialists from Taiwan to help create their chips here, but that may not happen now due to requirements for added diversity and inclusion of traditionally marginalized groups in its hiring.

In this particular case, these 3- and 4-nanometer chips are the most high tech in the world, and that research is currently taking place in Taiwan. It is completely logical that they would want to bring their own people to make them here; they are the ones who have the expertise. These are an order of magnitude more complex than what Intel is doing in their Chandler fabrication plant. It is highly specialized to a degree that we have yet to tackle here in the States.

Yes, having a diverse workforce is a noble and positive goal. Yes, it does create a better, more balanced environment that can better relate to a diverse world. But we are not talking about making widgets, or customer service, or hospitality. This is a discipline that only a tiny number of people in the world understand. This noble goal is now not just getting in the way of pragmatism, it’s getting in the way of national security.

The FAA got a lot of heat for the patent absurdity and recklessness of pushing the hiring of people with “severe intellectual disabilities”, and for good reason. But this shouldn’t be ignored, as the ramifications will be especially far-reaching for Arizona’s future. The federal government should strip these requirements immediately. The stakes are too high.