Partnership to bolster microelectronics industry talent pool

microchip integrated on motherboard

SEMI, the industry association representing the global electronics design and manufacturing supply chain, and the American Semiconductor Academy (ASA) Initiative, a collaborative national education network of faculty at universities and colleges across the U.S. who are engaged in semiconductor research and education, have announced a partnership to build a comprehensive workforce development program designed to close the microelectronics industry’s widening talent gap.

The partnership will bolster workforce education and training programs nationwide, targeting job skills, academic degrees and continuing education to grow and diversify the talent pool for the industry as well as to accelerate scientific innovation and technology commercialization.

“With the semiconductor industry investing heavily to expand manufacturing capacity and design capabilities to keep pace with chip demand, the microelectronics industry is facing a shortage of talent that threatens to severely limit future growth and innovation,” said Ajit Manocha, SEMI president and CEO.

“The partnership between the ASA Initiative and SEMI will unite key university educators with leading semiconductor industry visionaries to strengthen the entire talent development pipeline – from K-12 STEM and higher education through career training and the integration of military veterans into the workforce.” 

The partnership is well timed with the America COMPETES Act of 2022 pending in the House and the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act passed by the Senate promising to inject significant funding into efforts to equip workers with the skills needed in today’s semiconductor industry.

“The ASA planning team is excited to partner with SEMI to address the tremendous workforce development needs of the U.S. semiconductor industry and the new microelectronics ecosystem, which spans all STEM disciplines and education levels from trade school to graduate school across the country,” said Tsu-Jae King Liu, Dean of Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley and Chair of the Executive Committee for the ASA Initiative.

“The holistic workforce development programs of SEMI and the SEMI Foundation perfectly complement the rigorous degree-oriented education programs offered by universities and colleges, to well prepare students for rewarding careers in the semiconductor industry.”

It will connect over 200 universities and community colleges to more than 1,500 SEMI member companies with U.S. operations. In addition to modernizing and revitalizing a comprehensive curriculum that spans multiple disciplines and degree levels, these institutions will be collaborating with organizations to provide hands-on training and apprenticeships, uniquely critical to the microelectronics industry and students.

The ASA initiative also advocates for modernization of university laboratory infrastructure to speed the translation of new innovations to the marketplace. Both the ASA and SEMI are committed to foster diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and to enrich the talent pool by including minority-serving institutions and community colleges nationwide, sharing resources and best practices, and offering hands-on learning, research experiences, and internship opportunities for their students and trainees.

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