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Austin schools prep for semiconductor workforce demand in Central Texas

Schools in Austin are trying to make sure Central Texas has enough workers to support the growing semiconductor industry.

The University of Texas at Austin (UT), Austin Community College (ACC) and the Texas Institute for Electronics (TIE) are partnering to launch a Semiconductor Training Center (STC). According to a release from UT, the center will allow students to receive hands-on technical training and will also host programs designed to transition current workers into the semiconductor industry, while also advancing the careers of existing workers in the industry.

The center aims to utilize faculty from both UT and ACC, as well as industry experts, to “build stackable skill-based microcredentials and related education activities,” with the intention to eventually develop K-12 partnerships.

“UT has a rich history as a leader in the semiconductor industry not only in Texas, but across the country, helping position the U.S. to compete globally with the most advanced technology and qualified workforce,” UT President Jay Hartzell. “America needs a skilled and sustained workforce to bolster our supply chain and mitigate disruptions.”

Semiconductors are computer chips that are used in electronic devices, from cellphones to cars. UT said an estimated 115,000 new semiconductor jobs are expected to be added in the U.S. by 2030 – but a recent industry report found 67,000 of those jobs are at risk of going unfilled because of an undersized workforce and not enough training programs.

According to UT, Texas leads the nation in semiconductor manufacturing and is tied among states with the second-most semiconductor workers.

“The semiconductor industry is a critical part of our local economy, and it’s growing. ACC is already recognized as one of the leading institutions in the nation for building curricula and programs that support this industry,” ACC Chancellor Russell Lowery-Hart said. “We have the capacity to create just-in-time programs that support employers and workers, and we want to develop a model that can be scaled across the nation.”

As part of the partnership, TIE will commit initial funding of $3.75 million to develop the STC and will provide research opportunities for students and educators at UT’s J.J. Pickle Research Campus and at TIE’s semiconductor plant on Montopolis Drive. The agreement will also leverage facilities of industry partners, according to UT.

The Texas Legislature has appropriated $552 million to TIE, “paving the way for its pursuit of federal CHIPS Act funding,” UT said. Kvue

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