Northwest University Semiconductor Network reinforces nationwide commitment to building semiconductor workforce of the future
BOISE, Idaho, June 12, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Micron Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: MU), one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies and the only U.S.-based manufacturer of memory, today announced the Northwest University Semiconductor Network, a partnership focused on collectively developing the next generation of the U.S. semiconductor industry’s workforce. The network will drive foundational and emerging research to increase students’ opportunities for experiential learning across the semiconductor ecosystem, with equitable access for underrepresented students, including those in rural and tribal communities.
The STEMM Opportunity Alliance (SOA) will hold its Northwest STEMM Summit: Achieving Equity and Excellence, hosted by Micron, in Boise today. At this summit, Erwin Gianchandani, National Science Foundation’s assistant director for technology, innovation and partnerships, and Travis York, SOA leader and director of inclusive STEMM ecosystems for equity and diversity at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), will join Micron executives as they introduce the network, which includes 13 founding member institutions across six states.
The SOA is a national initiative led by the AAAS, with support from the Doris Duke Foundation, more than a dozen funders and 110+ cross-sector partners that are focused on galvanizing stakeholders to build a STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) ecosystem rooted in equity, inclusion and scientific excellence. The SOA was launched at a White House summit in December 2022 alongside advisory council members, including April Arnzen, Micron senior vice president, chief people officer and president of the Micron Foundation. The SOA and Micron understand that diversity in STEMM is essential to excellence in the scientific ecosystem, which is critical for U.S. economic growth and competitiveness and necessary for building a better society that benefits all communities.
Micron and National Science Foundation (NSF) also announced today the next step in a previously disclosed $10 million partnership between the Micron Foundation and NSF. NSF will publish a Dear Colleague Letter with two NSF solicitations that are focused on educator equity and are aligned with the strategic vision laid out in the CHIPS and Science Act. The first of these solicitations, Research Experiences for Teachers (RET), looks to facilitate professional development of K-12 science teachers through research experience. And the second, the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program (Noyce), addresses the critical need for recruiting, preparing and retaining highly effective elementary and secondary mathematics and science teachers in high-need school districts.
“Partnerships between institutions of higher education, government and industry leaders like Micron are critical so that together, we can build an inclusive and robust talent pipeline equipped with the high-tech skills that will advance U.S. technology innovation and leadership,” Arnzen said. “Micron is proud to be expanding our university partnership model through the U.S., leveraging the regional proximity to our leading research and development center in Boise and reaching students that have been traditionally underrepresented in the semiconductor industry, including rural and tribal communities in the Northwest. Our partnership with NSF aims to increase diversity and equity among STEM professionals, helping more students from traditionally underrepresented groups see themselves in their educators, the STEM field and the semiconductor industry. We look forward to furthering the impact of Micron’s Northwest University Semiconductor Network and our NSF partnerships as we focus on building a workforce of the future.”
Micron plans to invest approximately $15 billion through the end of the decade to construct a leading-edge memory manufacturing fab co-located with the company’s R&D epicenter in Boise. This project will create over 17,000 new Idaho jobs, furthering the need for a diverse, highly-skilled workforce. To support the semiconductor industry at scale, Micron has prioritized building relationships with K-12 and higher education partners who can help train students in STEM disciplines, expand research in the broad field of semiconductors and retain a more diverse group of students as they complete their degrees.
“Public-private partnerships help the U.S. stay competitive in key technology areas and grow access to high-wage, good-quality jobs in every part of the country,” Gianchandani said. “NSF is delighted to partner with Micron to catalyze new career pathways, including through practical experiences for learners of all backgrounds, ages and geographic locations. The new funding opportunity that we are releasing today will broaden participation in the semiconductor workforce and help create opportunities everywhere and unleash innovation anywhere.”
“Both the Northwest University Semiconductor Network and the partnership between Micron and the NSF embody the kind of cross-sector and public-private collaboration necessary to achieving equity and excellence in STEMM,” York said. “Investing in the critical semiconductor industry and ensuring we have a diverse workforce that can meet the moment is paramount. SOA looks forward to continued work with our diverse group of partners to build a STEMM ecosystem that will maintain American competitiveness and better individual lives.”
The founding partners of the Northwest University Semiconductor Network were identified based on their strong collective undergraduate and graduate programs in engineering and other STEM degrees, as well as on their vast R&D expertise and hands-on learning opportunities for students. The network collectively offers access to teaching labs and cleanrooms, a strong foundation of collaboration across institutions, programs connecting to community colleges and strong diversity programs to increase equitable access to engineering education.
The Northwest University Semiconductor Network will expand and prepare the next generation of talent through a framework centered on collaboration, innovation and problem-solving. Micron, in partnership with the network institutions and in alignment with the American Semiconductor Academy and the SEMI Foundation, will champion efforts to modernize and enhance curriculum by sharing best practices and industry-backed technical content, expanding experiential learning programs for greater access to cleanrooms and teaching labs, and bolstering research opportunities for students.
“Boise State University is nationally recognized for innovative thinking, programming and partnerships that offer our students dynamic experiences that prepare them to not only contribute but lead when they enter Idaho’s workforce,” said President of Boise State University Marlene Tromp. “The Northwest University Semiconductor Network is an extraordinary opportunity to increase awareness and education in this important industry, further elevate opportunities for our students and collaborate across higher education to reach more students and increase our talent pipeline.”
“We are meeting the region’s workforce needs for today and tomorrow,” said President of Idaho State University Kevin Satterlee. “As a founding partner of the Northwest University Semiconductor Network, we proudly support the innovative research and academic programs that meet the needs of the U.S. semiconductor industry. The network gives our faculty and students opportunities to engage in and contribute to innovative science and discovery.”
“Oregon State University is proud to be a founding member of Micron’s Northwest University Semiconductor Network and is committed to work with other regional universities and Micron to fully serve the technical needs and demands of the semiconductor industry and expand STEM access to underrepresented rural and urban students, including women,” said President of Oregon State University Jayathi Y. Murthy. “OSU’s commitment extends across Oregon, the Pacific Northwest and the nation to advance the success and growth of the U.S. semiconductor industry. The university has joined with more than 200 universities and community colleges nationally and over 1,000 companies which are committed to advance the semiconductor workforce supply and research innovation.”
“As Oregon’s most diverse and only urban research university, Portland State is perfectly positioned to help the next generation of the semiconductor industry thrive,” said President of Portland State University Stephen Percy. “We are proud to partner with Micron and our peers across the Pacific Northwest to advance this vital technology and provide equitable access to scientific innovation.”
“San José State sits in the heart of the world's center for innovation. We work every day to be a model in offering our students, particularly those who have been historically excluded from significant participation in STEMM career paths, access to hands-on educational and research opportunities of the highest quality and relevance,” said President of San José State University Cynthia Teniente-Matson. “We are incubating the next generation workforce, one that is diverse and motivated, and this opportunity for partnership with other universities and organizations in the network is both important and exciting.”
“Through the CHIPS and Science Act, our legislators set forth a bold vision for this country that can only be met by the type of academic-industry-government partnership the Northwest University Semiconductor Network represents,” said Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley Carol Christ. “As one of the founding universities in this network, UC Berkeley will be able to expand the educational opportunities for students to graduate with the skills and knowledge needed to meet this moment in our nation’s history.”
“Strong industry partnerships and collaboration with other universities through efforts like Micron’s Northwest University Semiconductor Network benefit students and best prepare them for successful careers leading cutting-edge industries,” said President of the University of Idaho Scott Green. “We look forward to being part of this effort to provide opportunities for research faculty, students and industry to advance the competitiveness of Idaho’s workforce.”
“We are proud to join other research universities as a founding member of the Northwest University Semiconductor Network. The University of Oregon offers the nation’s first master’s degree in electrochemistry and has deep intellectual expertise in soft electronics, photonics and quantum devices, and polymers — making the UO highly responsive to the needs of the semiconductor and next-generation devices industries,” said Interim President of the University of Oregon Jamie Moffitt. “Our graduates will be able to help address the demands for this highly skilled and fast-growing workforce while also supporting the industry’s efforts to increase diversity.”
“We are honored to have the University of Utah serve as a founding partner of the Northwest University Semiconductor Network,” said President of the University of Utah Taylor Randall. “The steady growth of our state’s tech sector is vital to the overall health and well-being of Utah’s economy and this new network will help to continue to grow a workforce that is in high demand. Partnering with Micron and regional universities is a win-win for the U. We get to share our elite Utah Nanofabrication facility, and our faculty, students and researchers get to collaborate and learn from some of the nation’s best in order to play an integral role in a new era of semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. Thank you to Micron for building this partnership. We look forward to the innovation that will come from it.”
“As a leader in chip engineering and workforce development for the global innovation economy, the University of Washington is proud to be a founding partner of the Northwest University Semiconductor Network,” said President of the University of Washington Ana Mari Cauce. “This peer network promises to increase regional collaboration, expand opportunity for students and galvanize the curriculum to help close the talent gap in the semiconductor industry. Through this partnership with Micron and NSF we will continue to put our science and engineering capacity to work in ways that make a difference in the world.”
“As the land grant university in the State of Washington, home to one of the most technologically advanced economies in the nation, Washington State University is pleased to be a founding member of the Northwest University Semiconductor Network,” said President of Washington State University Kirk Schulz. “The entirety of WSU – including its five physical campuses, the online Global Campus, and the research and extension offices located across the state – is committed to working with our academic counterparts across the Network, Micron, and public and private partners, to drive innovation through supporting cutting-edge research and educating the next generation of engineers, scientists and technicians that will lead the world in this vital industry.”
A full list of founding partners of the Northwest University Semiconductor Network follows.
- Boise State University
- Idaho State University
- Montana State University
- Oregon State University
- Portland State University
- San José State University
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of California, Davis
- University of Idaho
- University of Oregon
- University of Utah
- University of Washington
- Washington State University
Today’s announcements expand on Micron’s workforce development commitments and bolster the company’s efforts to build and prepare the talent pipeline across the U.S. In April 2023, Micron announced its Northeast counterpart network to support company plans to invest up to $100 billion in a megafab in New York.
About Micron Technology, Inc.
We are an industry leader in innovative memory and storage solutions, transforming how the world uses information to enrich life for all. With a relentless focus on our customers, technology leadership and manufacturing and operational excellence, Micron delivers a rich portfolio of high-performance DRAM, NAND and NOR memory and storage products through our Micron® and Crucial® brands. Every day, the innovations that our people create fuel the data economy, enabling advances in artificial intelligence and 5G applications that unleash opportunities — from the data center to the intelligent edge and across the client and mobile user experience. To learn more about Micron Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: MU), visit micron.com.
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