Intel Corp. on Tuesday announced it has started building a $300 million research and development facility in Chandler that will create several hundred high-skill, high-wage jobs.

The semiconductor manufacturer is already spending more than $5 billion to expand a manufacturing facility in the city. The 285,000-square-foot building will open in the second half of 2013 at an Intel facility at Chandler Boulevard and Rural Road.

Employees at the new facility will work on advancements with what Intel refers to as packaging, which is the housing that tiny computer chips are placed on. All of Intel’s U.S. packaging research and development occurs in Chandler, said Babak Sabi, vice president and director of assembly and test technology development.

“The innovation that we will create within the walls of this new research center will influence technology trends for years to come,” Sabi said. “And we are delighted to bring this distinction to the community of Chandler and the state of Arizona.”

Intel considered several locations and chose Chandler because of its vicinity to its other operations and the support it has had from the community, Sabi said.

Intel has 11,000 employees in Chandler, making it the largest employer in the city and one of the biggest in Arizona.

Each new Intel employee will generate three or four other jobs through companies that supply parts and supplies to the semiconductor manufacturer, Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny said.

A cottage industry of 47 Chandler businesses supply Intel today, he said.

Intel has a $2.4 billion annual economic impact in Arizona, including a $450 million research and development budget in the state. Most of the benefit is felt in Chandler, which Tibshraeny said helped the city weather the recession better than many surrounding communities.

The company has had a Chandler presence for three decades and has invested $20 billion in the city since 1996.

“Intel’s investment and growth have contributed significantly to Chandler’s prosperity over the last 30 years,” Tibshraeny said.

Intel will hire employees over the next 18 months. About half will hold advanced engineering degrees and start at about $100,000 a year if they hold a doctorate, Sabi said. Other positions will be open to candidates with technical degrees and related experience.

The company will make significant efforts to hire military veterans, said Rob Polston, the program manager for veterans recruiting and staffing. Vets make good employees because they are disciplined, used to working in a diverse environment and sometimes already have experience with advanced technology, he said.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., attended Tuesday’s announcement and said Intel has three-fourths of its manufacturing in the U.S. even as three-fourths of its sales are in other countries.

“That says a lot about Intel’s commitment to this country and to this state,” Flake said.

The research and development announcement comes as Intel is building a $5.3 billion expansion at its Ocotillo semiconductor manufacturing campus in Chandler. The plant drew national attention in January when President Barack Obama spoke at the construction site.

Intel says its Fab 24 site will be the most advanced, high-volume semiconductor manufacturing facility in the world when it opens in 2013.

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