Arizona’s Universities Collaborate To Bolster Semiconductor Industry

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  • With a focus on enhancing opportunities for students to enter the semiconductor industry, the program will commence in the fall

The semiconductor manufacturing sector holds significant importance in Arizona, prompting a fresh agreement between the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University. This partnership facilitates equipment sharing, project collaboration, and the advancement of semiconductor career paths.

With a focus on enhancing opportunities for students to enter the semiconductor industry, the program will commence in the fall. It involves outreach to high schools and community colleges with semiconductor programs, offering students transferable credits toward enrollment in four-year universities.

Liesl Folks, vice president of Semiconductor Strategy for the University of Arizona,  described the eventual goal of the partnership.

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“When companies are either in Arizona or they’re looking to come to Arizona, we can guarantee them that they’ll be able to employ the people they need to keep their operations running,” she said.  “Our downstream aspiration is to make sure that any company coming to Arizona will be able to find great talent, but also making sure that Arizona students have great career opportunities in front of them.

“And that those career opportunities come with growth potential.”

“Of course, there are many different on-ramps, so we’re right now just kicking off the process of building a Career and Technical Education program, a two year CTE, in semiconductor manufacturing,” Folks said.

“There are estimates for Arizona needing quite a number, like thousands, of new employees to come into the semiconductor sector, as these big manufacturing sites are built out,” Folks said.  “But also in the supply chain, so the people that make tools that go into the semiconductor plants, the people that make materials that are needed to build semiconductors, all of those companies also need employees, and employees at every education level. They need high school graduates, they need AS degrees, BS degrees, master’s degrees and PhDs to be available to them, so as we build the Career and Technical Education program, that sort of primes the pump for all of these other disciplines.”

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