As the semiconductor industry continues to grapple with the widespread effects of the COVID pandemic, at the SEMI Foundation we continue to build programs and initiatives that inspire the next generation of STEM workers and drive new and diverse talent to all of our member companies.
Our work to build out the semiconductor workforce centers on creating more diversity, equity, and inclusion within the industry. We want everyone to win. We want students and workers to benefit from these excellent jobs. We want our industry to diversify to increase our productivity, innovation, and our bottom lines. And we want to fulfill the extraordinary potential of electronics to help people around the world in the way they work and live. COVID-19 is hitting certain populations – women, veterans, and Black, Indigenous and other people of color – particularly hard, so our work has never been more timely or important for local communities and the global economy.
To that end, we’re going big by generating funding and designing initiatives that will benefit the industry over the long term. The SEMI Foundation’s SEMI VetWorks Program, currently in development, will help U.S. veterans better understand our industry, the careers available to them, and how their skills will transfer to working in microelectronics. The program also provides training portals and mentorship support to smooth their transition to the industry.
We’re also working to fund our Women In Industry Network, a major new initiative designed with national partners to significantly increase the representation of women, who today account for just 10-25% of the semiconductor workforce across all roles and functions. What’s more, the SEMI Foundation’s global industry image and awareness campaign is inspiring more young people to enter high-school and university STEM programs and ultimately pursue careers in microelectronics while encouraging current workers to re-skill or up-skill and join the tech workforce.
Meanwhile, your High Tech U team continues to connect semiconductor companies with students all over the globe. While we’re eager to get back on the road to meet and inspire students in person, we are excited to provide updates about two of our programs:
HTU in the Classroom
With the transition to online and hybrid learning classrooms, we seized the opportunity to combine STEM activities from SEMI High Tech U with discussion sessions and other projects to help students explore and deepen their understanding of the semiconductor manufacturing process. The 16-week pilot program, called HTU in the Classroom, will launch late next year to introduce high-school students to four key areas of chip production: patterning and layering, the chemistry involved in photolithography, logic gate systems, and computational thinking. These interviews with SEMI member companies will give students a chance to share their new knowledge gained from the class and to ask questions about what life is really like as an engineer, HR professional, or manager in industry.
From Sand to Silicon
With silicon the lifeblood of our industry, it is impossible to understand what makes the semiconductor/microelectronics industry tick without knowing more about the companies, processes and technologies that all make it possible. That’s why we are developing a self-guided online journey through the chip manufacturing process for students and educators. This will go beyond reading like a Wikipedia site. Instead, the learning and exploration will feature interactive elements including company videos and links to resources such as fact sheets as well as university and company websites. At each stage, students will get details about the companies and individuals who do the work and the paths the professionals followed to these roles. The big-picture look will show how all the production stages come together to build working devices that power everything from smartphones to data centers.
The SEMI Foundation is grateful for your support and partnership as we all work through these unprecedented times and roll out new programs to help build the talent pipeline. To learn more about or support our workforce development programs, please contact Shari Liss, SEMI Foundation’s Executive Director, at email@example.com.