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Sen. Moran to tour FHTC Friday ahead of Coffey County groundbreaking ceremony

Jul 12, 2023

Jerry Moran

The Emporia Gazette

U.S. Senator Jerry Moran will make a stop in Emporia Friday ahead of his already announced trip to Burlington.

According to a media release, Moran will tour the Flint Hills Technical College at 11:15 a.m. He’s giving remarks at 1 p.m. groundbreaking ceremony for Secure Semiconductor Manufacturing at the Coffey County Airport in Burlington.

The project represents a $20 million investment in the region, which is projected to create 64 jobs to start and expand rapidly in the years to come. In addition to manufacturing semiconductor components, SSM will also provide rapid prototyping for other manufacturers across both Defense and private sector applications.

Gov. Laura Kelly announced in February that EMP Shield, an industry leader in protecting electronic devices from destructive magnetic pulses, plans to invest $1.9 billion in the computer chip manufacturing facility just outside of Burlington. The investment includes a partnership with Flint Hills Technical College to provide the necessary training for potential employees.

EMP Shield plans to have four production lines operating in approximately 235,000 square feet of facilities in the new industrial park that will produce thousands of chips per week. Its suppliers will manufacture necessary components and prepare the final products for delivery. The facility will create more than 1,200 jobs averaging $66,000 annually.

The company will be joined by six out-of-state suppliers. SSM is one of the five Kentucky-based companies planning to locate manufacturing facilities in Kansas as part of the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors Act. SSM will produce capacitors, printed circuit boards and wiring boards which are integral components of semiconductors. Advanced prototyping and assembly will also take place at the facility.

“Right now, computer chips — technology that powers everything from cars to smartphones to broadband — are mostly made in China. And that is a problem,” Kelly said at the Feb. 20 announcement. “It means that both our national defense systems and the grids of services that Americans rely on, are vulnerable to the whims of the Chinese Communist Party. It means if there is a computer chip shortage like we are experiencing right now, we have no control as prices go up.”

The project came together shortly after the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act was signed into law last August. The bipartisan legislation called for every aspect of computer chip production to be brought back to the United States — specifically into rural areas of the Midwest. Additional stipulations include private-public partnerships as well as the involvement of higher education institutions.

EMP Shield will leverage state support to apply for CHIPS Act funding to see its plans to fruition.

Kelly said this announcement was a big deal not only for Coffey County, but the surrounding region. It represents the second computer chip project her administration has announced in two weeks, with the Kansas-based Integra Technologies planning to invest $1.8 billion in a large-scale semiconductor facility in Wichita.

SSM said parent company, FLMST Capital Management Group, is scheduled to install five tier 1 supply companies in Coffey County which would produce diodes, grommets, capacitors, power supply boards and transistors.

FLMST is part of a public-private partnership of other semiconductor related manufacturers who are co locating as a “cluster.”

FLMST Capital Management Group is based out of Hazard, Kentucky.

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