U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Senator Mark Kelly, Representative Greg Stanton, Representative Tom O’Halleran, Corning CEO Wendell Weeks, AT&T CEO John Stankey, the Arizona Commerce Authority, and local government and community leaders were in attendance at today’s announcement at Mesa Community College.
“We believe access to broadband means access to opportunity – from education to healthcare to quality of life,” said Corning Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Wendell P. Weeks. “Corning is doing our part to make sure everyone – regardless of where they live – has access to reliable, high-speed connections enabled by optical fiber. We are proud to continue partnering with AT&T and to expand U.S. manufacturing capacity and train the next generation of American workers – and we’re grateful for the opportunity to work with our customers and with the U.S. government to make this a reality.”
The new facility is Corning’s latest in a series of investments in fiber and cable manufacturing totaling more than $500 million since 2020. These investments, supported by customer commitments, nearly double Corning’s ability to serve the U.S. cable market and connect more people and communities. Public and private investments in broadband, 5G, and the cloud are accelerating a large, multi-year wave of growth for fiber-based networks – and Corning, as the world leader in passive optical communications, is uniquely positioned to support these network builds.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration launched the national “Internet for All” initiative earlier this year, which will invest $45 billion to provide affordable, reliable, high-speed internet for everyone in the U.S. by the end of the decade. Corning and AT&T are supporting the White House’s Talent Pipeline Challenge, a program to help employers build training partnerships that connect American workers to good jobs rebuilding infrastructure, supply chains, and manufacturing. Corning and AT&T have created a program to train fiber optic technicians across the industry.
“Today’s announcement marks a great moment in Arizona’s high-tech future,” Secretary Raimondo said at today’s announcement at Mesa Community College. “It doesn’t get any better than this. This announcement today fills me with hope, confidence and optimism for our future. Corning and AT&T are stepping up in a big way to make this a reality. The best part about all of it is in a year and a half from now, there will be a few hundred Arizonans working in this state-of-the-art Corning facility.”
To build and deploy these networks, the industry will need another 850,000 workers through 2025. Corning and AT&T created the Fiber Optic Training Program, focused on equipping thousands of technicians with the skills critical to design, install, and maintain a growing fiber network. The initial class is currently under way in North Carolina and the program aims to train 50,000 American workers over the next five years.
“Corning’s new cable manufacturing facility demonstrates Arizona’s attractiveness as a leader in manufacturing and technology,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “The innovative new facility will manufacture optical cable, bolstering Arizona’s existing broadband expansion investments. We’re thankful for Corning’s investment in Gilbert, creating hundreds of new jobs in the community while increasing connectivity.”
“Greater Phoenix is a community that embraces and supports opportunity and collaborative innovation,” said Chris Camacho, President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “The optical cable created at Corning’s Gilbert manufacturing facility will enable the next generation of entrepreneurs, provide stability, connectivity and jobs to the region and improve the lives of our growing population. We’re excited to welcome this investment into our community and to partner in Corning’s continued growth and success.”
“Gilbert is thrilled with Corning’s choice to expand in our central business district,” said Gilbert Mayor Brigette Peterson. “Corning is a global leader in innovation and their community investment highlights the continued appeal and growth in Gilbert’s diverse manufacturing industry. We look forward to seeing Corning transform the way the world connects, from Gilbert, Arizona.”
Corning’s expansion builds on Arizona’s efforts to expand broadband. In July, the Arizona Commerce Authority awarded $100 million in broadband grants to rural and urban communities statewide, a program announced by Governor Ducey in 2021. Governor Ducey also announced a $68.1 million investment in February to expand broadband connectivity along I-40 West from Flagstaff to the California border.