By David Shahoulian, Director, Workforce Policy and Government Relations
Education has long been the key to a brighter future. But this has never been truer than it is today.
The pandemic has reminded the world of the critical importance of the semiconductor industry, as well as the need to increase manufacturing capacity and rebalance supply chains across the world. This effort clearly requires new investments in research and development, as well as the construction of fabs and packaging facilities in the United States and Europe.
But it also requires deep investments in education and workforce development. We cannot expand semiconductor research, design, and manufacturing without a sufficiently skilled and reliable workforce—particularly in engineering, computer science, and other STEM fields. A highly skilled workforce in these areas is simply essential for fostering greater innovation and boosting shared prosperity today and into the future.
To help develop the workforce for the future, Intel recently announced four major new investments to support research, education, and workforce development in the United States.
Two New Intel Research and Education Investments in Ohio and Across the Nation
On March 17, Intel announced two major investments totaling $150 million for research, education, and workforce development. These investments are intended to address immediate and long-term workforce shortages in semiconductor design and manufacturing.
- New Intel Investment in Ohio ($50 million). To support Intel’s new fabs in Ohio, we are investing $50 million directly into Ohio two- and four-year institutions of higher education over the next 10 years. This investment will fund various programs, including a collaborative, multi-institution program designed to improve semiconductor innovation and provide real-world experience to students.
- New Intel-NSF National Partnership ($100 million). Intel is also partnering with the National Science Foundation (NSF) on a 10-year, $100 million national grant program to expand semiconductor-related research and educational programs across the country. Intel is committing $50 million to this initiative, with $50 million in matching funds from NSF. The $100 million total will support two- and four-year institutions seeking to improve STEM education and research to advance semiconductor design and manufacturing.
Intel’s commitment to bring these types of programs and opportunities to both two- and four-year colleges is critical to expanding and diversifying the STEM workforce. Through these investments, Intel is establishing essential collaborative programs with institutions of higher education that will further support the company’s 2030 goal to make technology fully inclusive and expand digital readiness.
Intel’s Quick Start Semiconductor Manufacturing Program
Earlier this month, Intel announced the Quick Start program with the Maricopa Community College system. Quick Start is an accelerated two-week program that prepares students for rewarding careers as semiconductor technicians through hands-on learning from experienced Intel employees as instructors. We were honored to have First Lady Jill Biden join us at the Quick Start launch on March 7. At the event, Intel’s Chief Global Operations Officer, Keyvan Esfarjani, discussed how Intel remains a pivotal partner in Arizona’s growth to become a global leader in the semiconductor industry.
Expansion of Intel’s AI for Workforce Program and New AI Incubator Labs
As artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming one of the most in-demand skills of the future, Intel is doing its part to expand access and opportunities to a broad group of students, including those in underrepresented and underserved communities.
Since 2020, Intel has expanded the AI for Workforce program, in which Intel partners with community colleges to address workforce readiness skills through AI instruction. In 2021, Intel expanded the program to 31 community colleges in 18 states. And in January, Intel joined with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and Dell Technologies to expand the program to all 50 states by 2023.
Intel also recently announced the opening of a dedicated AI incubator lab at the Chandler Gilbert campus in the Maricopa Community College system, along with a grant program to establish more AI incubator labs in community colleges across the country. By funding these labs, Intel facilitates student access to AI tools and resources.
Need for Additional Support
We are proud of these efforts, but we also recognize that more must be done if we are to meet the daunting challenges before us. As Intel continues to invest in research, education, and workforce development for the industry, we will also look for new ways to collaborate with government partners at all levels to scale our efforts into the future.
The U.S. Innovation and Competitiveness Act and the America COMPETES Act that recently passed the Senate and House, for example, contain critical new funding and programs to assist the semiconductor industry with research and workforce development. State and Federal funding is poised to support a novel and innovative joint-industry effort to establish a national apprenticeship program for the industry. And additional collaborative efforts are needed to further improve access to meaningful STEM education in K-12 schools across the country. Only through increased industry-government partnership can America ensure the skilled and ready workforce needed to expand innovation and manufacturing capacity.
Intel urges policymakers to take action now in support of these partnerships. Intel looks forward to working together on new and expanded opportunities to grow U.S. innovation into the future.
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