Simon Pagenaud of France drives during the IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix auto race, Sunday, June 4, 2023, in Detroit.  (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Amazon’s lucrative cloud business will invest about $7.8 billion by the end of 2029 to expand its data center operations in central Ohio, state leaders announced Monday, further boosting the efforts of the been to establish itself as the Midwest Technology Center.

The new investments in Amazon Web Services, or AWS, were announced by Republican Governor Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted, who leads the governor’s technology office. The financial outlay further solidifies Ohio as our nation’s heart of technology and innovation, the governor said in a statement.

AWS launched its first data centers in the region in 2016 and currently operates campuses in two counties in central Ohio, home to the capital Columbus. The administration said several locations are being considered as sites for new data centers, with a selection to be announced later this year.

Simon Pagenaud of France drives during the IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix auto race, Sunday, June 4, 2023, in Detroit.  (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Simon Pagenaud was not cleared to run Sunday’s IndyCar race at Mid-Ohio after a spectacular practice crash in which his car flipped seven times through a gravel trap.

Colton Herta accelerates out of turn 5 during qualifying Saturday, June 17, 2023, for the IndyCar auto race at Road America near Elkhart Lake, Wis.  Herta won the pole for Sunday's race.  (Gary C, Klein/The Sheboygan Press via AP)

Graham Rahal qualified on the front row for the first time in four years for the IndyCar race at Mid-Ohio. He was second fastest behind Colton Herta on Saturday.

Simon Pagenaud of France drives during the IndyCar Detroit Grand Prix auto race, Sunday, June 4, 2023, in Detroit.  (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

IndyCar driver Simon Pagenaud was unscathed in a terrifying crash during practice at Mid-Ohio on Saturday.

Republican House Finance Rep. Chairman Jay Edwards speaks to reporters, Friday, June 30, 2023, at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, after a lengthy conference committee unveiling the latest details of the $86.1 billion state budget dollars.  Lawmakers have cleared the budget in both houses, and it now heads to Republican Gov. Mike DeWine for final approval and possible vetoes.  (AP Photo/Samantha Hendrickson)

Ohio’s new budget could include nearly $3 billion in income tax cuts, funding for universal school vouchers, bans on flavored vaping products, and hundreds of other measures.

The cloud computing company is now responsible for the second-largest private sector investment in state history, behind only the $20 billion chip plant Intel announced last year. Facebook AND Google they also operate Ohio data centers.

They are also ongoing in the region a $3.5 billion battery plant under construction by Honda and LG Energy Solution of South Korea and a new $110 Million Software Innovation Center at Ohio State University. A chemical research clearinghouse headquartered in Columbus, it has long been a leader in big data storage and processing.

Once a reliable cash cow for Amazon, AWS has recently begun to feel the pressure, as companies cut back on cloud computing expenses amid high inflation and fears of a recession. The tech giant’s first-quarter earnings report showed its cloud unit generated $21.4 billion and grew 16 percent in the first three months of this year, down from its 37-year growth rate. % of the previous year.

However, Roger Wehner, director of economic development at AWS, said the company has a long-term commitment to Ohio, having invested more than $6 billion in the state since 2015. He said Monday’s investment would include developing new workforce and educational programs that support the next generation of talent by emphasizing long-term public and private partnerships across the state.

The new AWS data centers will contain computer servers, data storage units, networking equipment and other cloud computing technology infrastructure. As of last year, the existing operation employed about 1,000 people statewide. JP Nauseef, president and chief executive officer of JobsOhio, the state’s privatized economic development office, said the latest investment would create 230 new direct jobs and about 1,000 support jobs.

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