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First lady Jill Biden touts Intel training program in Chandler stop

First lady Jill Biden promoted her husband's economic agenda Monday during a stop in Arizona, a state President Joe Biden won by the narrowest of margins and which is crucial Democratic hopes of retaining control of Congress.

“You were right to put your faith in Joe Biden a year ago, because in the face of uncertainty, he is unshakable,” Jill Biden said during a brief speech at an expanding Intel plant outside Phoenix.

The first lady briefly toured one of two Intel campuses in Chandler, where the semiconductor firm has  promised a massive $20 billion expansion to ramp up and modernize its chipmaking business.

Biden highlighted a partnership between Intel and the Maricopa Community College District that will offer accelerated training for entry-level jobs as semiconductor technicians.

“These investments are changing lives and every person who benefits from this program and others like it, who is better off today than they were a year ago, passes that benefit along,” Biden said. “When we invest in you, you invest in your family, in your neighborhoods, in local businesses, in your cities and in your states.”

Semiconductor manufacturing has become a crucial pillar of Arizona's economy since Intel opened its first factory here in 1980. The firm now has four factories, known as “fabs," open in Chandler with two more under construction. Its major competitor, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, has its own massive project under construction in North Phoenix.

The Biden administration has built a close relationship with Intel amid a global shortage of microchips that has slowed production and raised prices for a variety of goods, including cars. Rising prices look to be a major liability for Biden and the Democrats in the midterm elections later this year.

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger was the first lady's guest at the president's State of the Union address last week, and the administration this year has repeatedly highlighted  Intel's plans to build another $20 billion manufacturing plant in Ohio.

Republicans used Biden's trip to highlight the rising prices they hope will lead help sweep the GOP into office.

“Jill Biden’s visit does nothing to address the real issues facing Arizonans,” Ben Petersen, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said in a statement.

After Intel, Biden went to a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Chandler and was scheduled to fly to Tucson on Monday evening. On Tuesday, she's scheduled to hear about the cancer program and services at the San Xavier Health Center on the Tohono O’odham Nation.

EDITOR'S NOTE: KJZZ is licensed to Maricopa County Community College District.