Michigan invests millions
State awards grants to eight institutions to expand education and workforce development programs for in-demand semiconductor chip industry.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has announced $4.6 million in grants and matching funds in recent weeks to support eight local higher education institutions’ semiconductor education and training programs. These investments will directly benefit 2,400+ individuals throughout Michigan.
This funding is a monumental step forward toward building the workforce needed to support the in-demand semiconductor chip industry, which is expected to see 11% job growth over the next five years in Michigan. The semiconductor industry is projected to add 115,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2030. In Michigan, this growth is also realized by record investments from high-tech employers, including core MEDC Talent Action Team semiconductor employers Calumet Electronics, Hemlock Semiconductors, KLA, SK Siltron and GM.
“Michigan is making huge strides in supporting the growth and development of the semiconductor industry back to the U.S.,” said Kerry Ebersole Singh, Executive Vice President and Chief Talent Solutions and Engagement Officer for the MEDC. “Together with these partners, Michigan remains committed to ensuring students, researchers, employees and entrepreneurs recognize that when it comes to building a meaningful career or business in the semiconductor industry – they can make it here in Michigan.”
Grantee institutions will create specific semiconductor training programs, including:
• Delta College is expanding semiconductor curriculum and training programs, including for adult learners looking to change careers, current workers in need of semiconductor skills, and underserved populations and high school students. Educational paths include training, industry certification, a one-year certificate, an associate degree and apprenticeship programs. Delta will also create STEM exploration programs for K-12 students to learn about career paths in skilled trades and semiconductors, including meeting directly with companies from the Great Lakes Bay region.
• Lansing Community College is developing and delivering a 10-day Technician Quick Start Bootcamp to prepare jobseekers for employment as entry-level semiconductor technicians. It will serve 60 participants in 2024 at no cost, removing barriers to participation.
• Michigan State University is building a free, five-day summer camp focused on career readiness and semiconductor industry awareness among senior middle school and freshmen high school students in underserved regions of Michigan. Its College of Engineering will design and deliver the instructional material for the camp.
• Michigan Technological University (MTU) is supporting a major expansion of semiconductor education and training programs across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, including introducing Flexible Semiconductor Technician and Maintenance Micro-Credentials programming. It looks to enroll as many as 350 students annually by 2026. MTU is also launching a Back-End Semiconductor Curriculum for Advanced Substrates, Assemblies, Packaging and Testing program.
• Oakland University is introducing a new training program on semiconductor technologies and devices in order to provide reskilling and upskilling opportunities for automotive engineers and other types of engineers in the Metro Detroit area and beyond. It will be a part of the University’s Professional and Continual Education (PACE) program.
• University of Michigan is developing hands-on training on topics centered around microelectronics and semiconductor manufacturing, which will be open and advertised to high school and community college students as well as technicians from semiconductor-adjacent backgrounds. It will also team up with Washtenaw Community College to calibrate the content to fit the interests of the program’s student population.
• Washtenaw Community College is expanding its outreach to middle school and high school students through hands-on activities and exploration that introduce them to emerging career possibilities. It will work with area school districts to expose students, including non-traditional and underrepresented students, to jobs and careers in the semiconductor industry.
• Wayne State University is creating three new programs in direct response to the workforce needs of Southeast Michigan.
o A hands-on certificate program to train electrical and computer engineers and technicians in the design, manufacturing and testing of printed circuit boards called PCBCraft.
o CareerCraft, a series of stackable certificate programs to bridge the gap between traditional curriculum and rapidly evolving semiconductor industry requirements.
o Semiconductor Stars, which will teach middle and high school students about microfabrication processes, experimental design, electronics hardware and coding.
"The U.S. is in need of a stronger semiconductor workforce, and Michigan is prioritizing it and leading the way,” explained MEDC’s Higher Education Partnerships Director Avazeh Attari. “Michigan’s coordinated effort to empower semiconductor skills training and education is unique because it creates both essential training and career pathways across institution types, from community colleges to renowned universities, and across geographies. Furthermore, by collaborating with state agencies and corporate partners, the MEDC is ensuring that our local workforce has the skills necessary to create the technologies and industries of tomorrow.”
About Michigan’s Commitment to Cultivating High-Tech Talent
In addition to its efforts to build the semiconductor workforce of the future, Michigan has also doubled down on its effort to build a robust talent pipeline in electric vehicles (EVs) and mobility. To date, strategic investments totaling $4.5 million have been invested in EV and mobility to fund curriculum development, The Michigander Scholars program, and PK-12 engagement programming connecting higher education to PK-12 students, such as MSU Math Bootcamps and MTU’s Mind Trekkers event, which not only advance STEM education and introduce younger Michiganders to STEM career paths, but incentivize them to pursue those STEM careers in Michigan. The state’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME) recently announced $775,000 in funding from the Mobility Public-Private Partnership & Programming (MP4) Grant program to support educational and technical workforce training initiatives for high-tech jobs in EVs, infrastructure improvements and related mobility fields.
It’s also taking big steps to retain and attract talent across all walks of life and education levels. The MEDC recently unveiled its national “You Can in Michigan” talent attraction marketing campaign to fill open jobs, grow Michigan’s population and drive the state’s economic future forward. It is the largest state talent attraction and retention campaign and effort in the U.S., according to the MEDC, and includes a brand new website and career portal that empowers jobseekers to map out what high-demand, high-growth career opportunities are available in Michigan, take action in applying for jobs and training that get someone to their career goals, and learn about the quality cultural and lifestyle advantages of Michigan’s diverse cities and regions.
All of the aforementioned work is driven by the MEDC Talent Solutions Division, which is leading the statewide, public-private MEDC Talent Action Team (TAT). Since it launched programming in March 2023, the TAT has already helped place more than 1,300 new hires and upskilled incumbent hires with Michigan employers. It was also named a 2023 Inc. Power Partner for its work in addressing critical upskilling and talent fulfillment needs for high-tech and priority industries in Michigan, including EVs, mobility and semiconductors.