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How New York Is Meeting the Manufacturing Skills Gap

With the Biden’s administration gearing up to spur chip manufacturing in the U.S., manufacturers are concerned that there is a shortage of skilled workers to meet production needs, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).

What’s happening: Micron Technology Inc. has decided to invest $100 billion in a semiconductor-manufacturing campus in Clay, New York, a Syracuse suburb.

  • “We have to remake a decade of workforce development in two or three years,” Duncan Brown, vice president for research at Syracuse University, told the Journal.
  • “Micron said it plans to employ 9,000 workers at the Syracuse-area campus when it is fully built by 2045, and predicts another 41,000 jobs for contractors and suppliers.”

What’s being done: Civic leaders as well as local colleges and universities in the Syracuse area “are overhauling their education and training programs to vastly increase the number of new engineers they produce and teach technical workers skills such as supply-chain management and orbital welding.”

  • Micron also plans “to build a pipeline of workers by investing in local training centers and providing $10 million to K–12 schools to beef up their curricula in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”
  • “Syracuse University plans to increase the size of its undergraduate and graduate engineering programs by 50% over the next three to five years” while also making engineering degrees more welcoming to women and minorities underrepresented in the field.
  • And college leaders at Onondaga Community College are planning to “install a $10 million cleanroom, which replicates the hypersensitive environment of an advanced manufacturing workspace, in a two-story building occupied by the campus bookstore.”

What’s next: The demand for engineers at U.S. semiconductor facilities won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

  • The Semiconductor Industry Association projects that the need for engineers will increase by about 20% over the next five years. As the demand for semiconductors rebounds, it will be more important than ever to find workers for unfilled jobs.

What we’re doing: The Manufacturing Institute, the NAM’s 501(c)3 workforce development and education affiliate, has been actively working to meet the manufacturing skills gap for years.

  • FAME, founded by Toyota in 2010 and currently operated by the MI, is a career pathway program that provides education, training and certifications for the advanced manufacturing technician occupational track.
  • The MI also helps manufacturers recruit from populations that are underrepresented in manufacturing, including women, veterans, individuals with criminal records  and other diverse groups.
  • And last, the MI also leads student engagement initiatives to show America’s young people the incredible careers that modern manufacturing offers.
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