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Addressing the Talent Gap: Opportunities in the Semiconductor Industry

September 11, 2023

In an era where technology continues to shape our lives in unprecedented ways, the semiconductor industry is at the forefront. Yet, there exists a vast talent gap threatening its growth and evolution. To tackle this challenge, Foothill College and the Krause Center for Innovation (KCI) are partnering with the SEMI Foundation and Ignited in bringing the industry to the spotlight, aiming to illuminate the myriad career possibilities it offers to K-12 students and educators.

Sarah Parikh – Professor, Foothill College & Berton Mahardja – Sr. Program Manager, SEMI

In 1965, Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, predicted that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit would double every two years. Since then, the semiconductor industry has become a stalwart of the ever-growing consumer electronics industry. Much of the innovation that has occurred has happened in Asia as of late, and the CHIPS Act, signed by President Joe Biden, has provided a jumpstart to bringing the semiconductor industry back to the United States.

Addressing the Talent Shortage Head-On

Back in 2021, in collaboration with SEMI Foundation and Ignited, Foothill College and KCI received two prestigious California Apprenticeship Initiative grants. These grants, awarded by the Community College Chancellor’s Office, aimed to establish a pre-apprenticeship pathway and an apprenticeship program in the semiconductor and microelectronics sectors. The overarching goal? Address the anticipated 42,000 job vacancies in this sector by 2030, as highlighted in a report from the Global Opportunity Forum.

Group discussion with educators and partners

As Kylie Patterson, Senior Advisor for Opportunity & Inclusion at the CHIPS for America Office, aptly says, “Students are deciding their futures earlier, and we really want to get ahead of that.” Thanks to the pre-apprenticeship partnership, K-12 students now have the resources to delve into the fascinating world of microelectronics, laying a strong foundation for their potential future careers. For those eager to delve deeper, the Ignited website is a treasure trove of information and resources on semiconductors. Moreover, details on apprenticeship opportunities can be found on the work2future website.  Since the applications have been announced, the apprenticeship program has received over 160 applications for 20 positions. 

Semiconductor Interactive Curriculum

Docuseries Screening: Roadtrip Nation

On August 31, 2023, from 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.,  a special screening of the docuseries Chip In: Roadtrip Nation was hosted at the KCI. This inspiring and educational docuseries delves deep into the intricacies of the microelectronics industry. 

The event was more than just a docuseries screening. Bay Area middle and high school teachers and students were invited to the KCI for an immersive experience. Attendees gained firsthand knowledge of the specialized curriculum designed for the pre-apprenticeship pathway. Additionally, they garnered insights into the semiconductor apprenticeship program that’s part of Foothill College’s offering. One of the highlights of the event was the virtual interaction session with Marcus Knighton. Marcus, currently working with Accenture as an Innovation Specialist based in Atlanta, GA, is one of the three young professionals featured in the docuseries. His insights, experiences, and journey promise to be a source of inspiration for many budding professionals. As the semiconductor industry continues its meteoric rise, the need for skilled professionals is more pressing than ever. Initiatives like the one from Foothill College and KCI play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the industry and empowering the next generation. Don’t miss this chance to be part of the change and dive deep into the world of microelectronics.

We are actively seeking K-12 teachers and admin to work with us to inspire students towards these careers! We have an upcoming pilot in the Bay Area and would love to talk with you.

To learn more please contact: Justin Sewell, Director of Partnerships & Programs


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