Intel paid $100,000 to Sandoval County in hiring-related clawbacks for its Rio Rancho plant in 2020, bringing the total it has paid to $1 million since 2001. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Intel paid $100,000 to Sandoval County in hiring-related clawbacks related to its Rio Rancho plant in 2020, bringing the total it has paid to $1 million since 2001, according to a company spokeswoman.

The chip manufacturing giant’s agreement with the county, which Intel spokeswoman Linda Qian said went into effect in 1995, states that Intel must pay the county $100,000 for each year it fails to meet a hiring goal of 60% New Mexico residents. Since that agreement came into place, Intel fell short in 10 different years dating back to 2001. In 2020, the most recently recorded year, New Mexico residents accounted for 42.7% of hiring that year.

Intel in 2020 hired 82 new employees, 35 of whom were New Mexico residents, according to its most recent Intel New Mexico RISE report.

Sandoval County Manager Wayne Johnson told the Journal the money from Intel goes into a specific fund used for “encouraging school-to-work programs.”

Johnson was able to confirm at least six instances in recent years when the company failed to meet its local hiring goals. But he said the county’s current accounting software doesn’t provide records before fiscal year 2009.

“That said, I have no reason to doubt Intel’s assertion of 10 total but cannot confirm any instances of noncompliance before the 2013 fiscal year,” Johnson added.

The clawback was most recently attached to the 2004 industrial revenue bond agreement – extended in 2019 – between the county and Intel, Johnson said.

The clawback money is given on a per-student distribution, Johnson said. For example, Rio Rancho Public Schools received about $70,000 in 2013.

That amount remained consistent for the school district over the next three years Intel paid back the county. But the county has yet to distribute money it received in 2020 “due to COVID-19 and administrative turnover,” Johnson said.

The money from 2020 is still waiting to be distributed and Johnson said the county may reevaluate how it is dispersed going forward.

Intel’s report also shows that the company awarded 43 STEM-related grants of $2,500 to teachers across the state for those programs.

On a larger scale, Intel spent around $200 million with New Mexico-based organizations, according to the report. The report for 2021 will likely come in the spring of this year, Johnson said.