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In Iowa, Apple CEO Tim Cook touts its new data center jobs as the 'future' of America

  • Apple will invest at least $1.3 billion in the first phase of an Iowa data center project.
  • It will create 50 permanent jobs.
  • Apple will also invest in renewable energy in the region.
Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, attends the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 6, 2016 in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images
Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, attends the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 6, 2016 in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Apple will invest at least $1.3 billion in the first phase of an Iowa data center project, CEO Tim Cook said Thursday, in a speech in that state that emphasized Apple's push to "build a future for everyone."

Apple, like fellow technology companies Facebook, Microsoft and Google, will build a data center near Waukee, Iowa, creating 50 permanent jobs, Iowa Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg said in an event broadcast by the Des Moines Register. More than 550 jobs will also be supported by construction, Apple said in a statement.

"Apple is going to continue to invest in that future, for Waukee, for Iowa and for America," Cook said.

It will get $208 million in state and local tax benefits, according to The Associated Press.

"Apple has been searching for the perfect location and I am so proud to say that they found it right here in Iowa," Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said, noting the state's educated workforce, stable climate and low-cost, renewable energy. "Iowa workers give companies a leg up at the start ... it is just a blessing to be in the heartland of America."

Silicon Valley CEOs have publicly prioritized creating tech jobs in America over the past year, with many trying to walk a delicate line to appease both supporters of President Donald Trump and Silicon Valley's more liberal workforce.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg has tasked himself with visiting new parts of the country this year, and companies like Intel have headed to the White House to announced a renewed focus on domestic facilities.

Apple told CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer earlier this year that the company would create a $1 billion fund to promote advanced manufacturing jobs in the United States. Cook reiterated that commitment on Thursday, noting that almost every Apple product includes parts made in America.

The 400,000-square-foot data center will "strengthen the relationships" in Iowa, where 30 Apple suppliers, including 3M and Qorvo, already operate, Cook said.

Reynolds on Thursday cited research that shows economic benefits from data centers. But a New York Times report last year chronicled the disappointment that many small towns felt when the construction boom faded.

The data center also ties in handily with Apple's plan to double its software and services revenue by 2020. Apple already supports 10,000 jobs in Iowa, many of whom are developers, Cook said.

Apple said the new data center will support services like Siri, iMessage and Apple Music in North America. The facility will come online in 2020, Apple said.

"As the App Store grows, we look forward to growing in Iowa," Cook said, adding Apple wanted to "build a future for everyone."