Focus is on building the future workforce for the semiconductor industry
BLOOMINGTON, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SkyWater Technology (NASDAQ: SKYT), the trusted technology realization partner, today announced its President and CEO, Thomas Sonderman will provide a keynote at SEMICON West 2023 on July 13th. The presentation, “Building the Future: Workforce Development in the Semiconductor Manufacturing Industry,” will address the workforce shortage and how companies must embrace a comprehensive range of initiatives to ensure a sustainable talent pipeline. Sonderman will discuss the urgency of workforce development efforts to bridge the gap between the demand for skilled workers and the available talent pool. He will also highlight new innovative talent development programs that SkyWater is pioneering.
The semiconductor manufacturing industry is experiencing unprecedented challenges due to the increase in demand for domestically produced semiconductor technologies as envisioned by the 2022 CHIPS and Science Act. One of the expected results will be a surge of new fabs being constructed, creating a significant demand for skilled workers across multiple disciplines. According to semiconductor industry sources, by 2030, an estimated 250,000 new workers will be required to support the rapidly expanding domestic semiconductor industry; of that, 50,000 are engineers and 200,000 are fab operation technicians, equipment technicians and other vital support functions.
According to Sonderman, “Technicians and engineers are the heart and soul of the fab; the ones who are responsible for maintaining and improving the complicated tools used to make ICs, ensuring maximum operational effectiveness. As an industry, we need to make this type of career path exciting and appealing by building awareness of these types of semiconductor positions through apprenticeships, internships and scholarships for STEM students. This includes inspiring students to get semiconductor specific engineering degrees at universities like Purdue. Awareness is key – our industry is creating new technologies and capabilities that make our lives better every day; we want to inspire the best and brightest talent in our country to be part of that.”
When the fabless foundry model emerged, U.S. companies reduced their investment in domestic semiconductor fabs. The country still led the world in product innovation, but designs were migrated primarily to Asia for volume manufacturing. During the pandemic when the supply chain was uncertain, national and IP security risks associated with this paradigm were amplified. The CHIPS and Science Act was signed into law to provide new funding to boost domestic research and semiconductor manufacturing. In his speech, Sonderman will discuss the key elements of the legislation and why collaboration through public-private partnerships is essential to revitalizing domestic manufacturing, developing the workforce of the future, and strengthening critical supply chains to accelerate the adoption of technologies for the future.
Sonderman points out, “One area that we look to for skilled workers is the veteran community. As service members transition to civilian life, there are numerous opportunities for careers in the semiconductor industry.” Programs like SEMI’s VetWorks, currently in development, will help U.S. veterans better understand the semiconductor industry, the careers available to them and how their skills will transfer to the broad microelectronics ecosystem. The program also provides training portals and mentorship support to smooth a veteran’s transition to the industry.
Sonderman believes that public-private partnerships will be critical to the successful realization of CHIPS enabled initiatives. For example, SkyWater has implemented an Embedded Rotational Program allowing a government employee to completely immerse themselves in industry. This offers them a unique perspective that they can bring back to the government while establishing vital new industry relationships for future collaboration efforts.
Another example of SkyWater’s public-private partnerships is the company’s advanced packaging operations in Osceola County, Florida. The County has developed NeoCity, a master planned community to serve as a catalyst for high-tech innovation, including job creation and capital investment. In September 2022, Osceola County and its Coalition partners were awarded $50.8 million from the Department of Commerce’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge Grant for NeoCity. Funds from this award will rapidly expand SkyWater Florida’s capabilities, creating opportunities for many new, high-wage jobs in the high technology field.
For more information on SEMICON West 2023, please visit: semiconwest.org/about/welcome.
About SkyWater Technology
SkyWater (NASDAQ: SKYT) is a U.S.-based semiconductor manufacturer and a DMEA-accredited Category 1A Trusted Foundry. SkyWater’s Technology as a Service model streamlines the path to production for customers with development services, volume production and heterogeneous integration solutions in its world-class U.S. facilities. This pioneering model enables innovators to co-create the next wave of technology with diverse categories including mixed-signal CMOS, ROICs, rad-hard ICs, power management, MEMS, superconducting ICs, photonics, carbon nanotubes and interposers. SkyWater serves growing markets including aerospace & defense, automotive, biomedical, cloud & computing, consumer, industrial and IoT. For more information, visit www.skywatertechnology.com/.
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