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New semiconductor career, apprenticeship program to create good-paying jobs

A semiconductor career and apprenticeship program, recently approved by state economic development officials, aims to create more good-paying jobs and address a shortage in the semiconductor workforce.

The program named the Semiconductor Career and Apprenticeship Network Program was announced by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a press release on Tuesday, explaining the Michigan Strategic Fund approved $1.5 million in grant money to be used to plan and develop the program. 

“As global demand for semiconductors continues to grow, Michigan is poised to be at the center of semiconductor and battery manufacturing and R&D efforts nationwide,” Whitmer said in the release. “Michigan is one of only three states that will be launching planning work to define curricula to support employers in the semiconductor industry. With this new apprenticeship program, along with our global manufacturing and automotive R&D leadership, we are leading the charge.”

The demand for power semiconductors is rapidly increasing as automakers enter the electric vehicle market and telecommunication companies expand 5G capabilities.

Pictured is a semiconductor wafer, which is a thin slice of semiconductor substance, like crystalline silicon, used in electronics for the making of integrated circuits. In the electronics jargon, a thin slice of semiconductor material is called a wafer, according to WaferPro's website.

Pictured is a semiconductor wafer, which is a thin slice of semiconductor substance, like crystalline silicon, used in electronics for the making of integrated circuits. In the electronics jargon, a thin slice of semiconductor material is called a wafer, according to WaferPro’s website.

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The Semiconductor Career and Apprenticeship Network Program grant will provide $1.5 million in funding to the SEMI Foundation, an arm of the global microelectronics industry association SEMI.

The SEMI Foundation’s mission is to “support economic opportunity for workers and the sustained growth of the microelectronics industry,” according to its website.

“SCAN is a critical program that will provide economic opportunity and mobility to Michigan residents and support the health of the microelectronics industry by addressing its significant workforce challenges,” Shari Liss, executive director of the SEMI Foundation, said in the release.

The program is set to include two phases. Phase One will focus on “the workforce ecosystem by engaging key microelectronics employer partners, end users in the auto and manufacturing space, educational partners and key workforce development partners,” according to the release.

Phase Two will focus on “customization through conducting extensive discovery and focus groups with employers to confirm job roles, skills and competencies needed to successfully build and diversify a robust and knowledgeable incoming workforce.”

Additionally, Michigan’s automotive industry, which is home to nearly one-fifth of U.S. auto production, purchased nearly $35 million in products and services from Michigan semiconductor companies in 2020, according to the state.


That builds on Michigan’s leadership in semiconductor research and development and testing due in large part to the state’s talent and processes supported by Hemlock Semiconductor, KLA in Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan, the top global institute for semiconductor training.

Hemlock semiconductor (HSC) is a polysilicon manufacturer in Hemlock.

Hemlock semiconductor (HSC) is a polysilicon manufacturer in Hemlock.


 

Hemlock Semiconductor is the nation’s largest producer of hyper-pure polysilicon, a critical material for the solar and semiconductor industries. Polysilicon rods produced at HSC are broken into smaller pieces for customers before being shipped.

Hemlock Semiconductor is the nation’s largest producer of hyper-pure polysilicon, a critical material for the solar and semiconductor industries. Polysilicon rods produced at HSC are broken into smaller pieces for customers before being shipped.


Photo provided/Hemlock Semicondu

Hemlock Semiconductor is the nation’s largest producer of hyper-pure polysilicon, a critical material for the solar and semiconductor industries. Polysilicon rods produced at HSC are broken into smaller pieces for customers before being shipped.


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