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News Article

Major expansion of semiconductor education at Michigan Tech

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Michigan Technological University will receive $838,000 from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to support a major expansion of semiconductor education and training programs across the Upper Peninsula.

Through the expanded programs, Michigan Tech will establish a talent pipeline to meet Michigan’s increased demand for engineering professionals and skilled technicians in the semiconductor industry, where jobs are projected to grow at least 11% in the next five years.

“Michigan is not only among the first states in the nation with a consortium that has successfully identified the key skills and competencies employers need to drive future microchip industry development,” said MEDC Executive Vice President and Chief Talent Solutions & Engagement Officer Kerry Ebersole Singh. “Michigan also is among the nation’s first leading to deliver workforce solutions that help employers in real time.”

“I’m delighted Michigan Tech is going to build upon that foundation of achievement,” Singh said. “Our state’s future depends on retaining and bringing new talent to the state, which is why Michigan has launched the largest state talent attraction campaign and effort in the U.S. — so anyone can ‘make it’ in Michigan.’”

Statewide in 2023, the MEDC is investing more than $3.6 million in grants and matching funds with higher education institutions to promote semiconductor learning and career opportunities. In addition to Michigan Tech’s grant, funds directed toward semiconductor education and training expansion efforts include $1.1 million for Wayne State University, more than $530,000 for Delta College in Bay City, more than $320,00 for Oakland University, $300,000 for Lansing Community College, $150,000 for Washtenaw Community College, $148,000 for Michigan State University, and over $140,000 for the University of Michigan.

With this recent grant, Michigan Tech plans to introduce Flexible Semiconductor Technician and Maintenance Micro-Credentials programming with dual learning models. The first model will create stackable micro-credentials short training courses to educate and strengthen the domestic workforce, adding technicians skilled in semiconductor advanced testing, assembly and packaging. This training will be offered in both intensive (as short as one day) and longer (lasting a week or more) courses, and a hybrid mode will allow participants to complete a majority of the instruction online. Additionally, some courses can be taken alone for professional development and will include work experience through industry/university partners. Both the online and hybrid training will be available through the Michigan Tech Global Campus.

In the second model, MTU will offer flexible summer sessions consisting of multiple one-week programs. These will allow participants to immediately and actively engage in semiconductor technician and maintenance personnel work experiences that provide rich, valuable and timely learning.

“To generate a skilled and retainable technician and maintenance workforce for Michigan’s semiconductor industry, the state needs innovative, flexible training models for people with various levels of semiconductor expertise as well as untrained individuals who are eager to seek careers in the rapidly growing semiconductor industry,” said MTU College of Engineering Dean Audra Morse.

“Our goal is to be one of the leading educational institutions in America in semiconductor programming,” Morse said. “Our focus is to provide accessible and industry-relevant training and knowledge to equip our students with the skills necessary to excel in these high-demand, high-paying sectors. This new opportunity will be adapted by MTU to build a world-class talent pipeline to meet the semiconductor industry’s needs now and in the future.”

Michigan Tech expects to recruit job seekers from underserved communities and different industry partner worksites, as well as displaced workers, veterans, certificate seekers, graduating associate degree students and graduating/near-graduating high school students.

The University’s workforce partners include intermediate school districts, charter schools, community colleges, Veterans Affairs offices and Upper Peninsula Michigan Works! agencies. MTU’s initial employer partners are Calumet Electronics, Gentex Corporation, Dow and Hawk Semiconductor, with others to be determined moving forward. Learning will occur online, on campus at Tech and on-site at industry partner locations.

“This groundbreaking collaboration between the MEDC and Michigan Tech in the advanced package and semiconductor ecosystem represents an unparalleled and powerful partnership, uniting state governance, private industry, and academia,” said Dr. Meredith LaBeau, Chief Technology Officer of Calumet Electronics. “Together, we form a dynamic coalition propelling Michigan with unwavering determination towards unprecedented heights in this pivotal sector of both our state and national economies and security.”

By 2026, Tech projects as many as 200 enrollees in professional micro-credentials semiconductor training courses and 200 more in the summer weekly programs.

The University expects to launch a marketing campaign and recruitment strategies to promote awareness of the new career and education opportunities.

“The MEDC grant announcement to Michigan Technological University is just one example of the many ways we are working to ensure that the Michigan workforce has the skills necessary to transition to the technologies and industries of tomorrow,” said MEDC Higher Education Partnerships Director Avazeh Attari.

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