Arizona takes more action to boost semiconductor training and development

Nov 21, 2023, 4:05 AM

semiconductor Arizona...

Employees stand in a clean room for the production of 300-millimeter wafers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS. (Photo by Robert Michael/picture alliance via Getty Images)

(Photo by Robert Michael/picture alliance via Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs announced last week the creation of a registered apprenticeship program in collaboration with NXP Semiconductors and $4 million to support semiconductor apprentices.

“Today’s announcement will ensure Arizona fully realizes its potential to be the hub of America’s semiconductor industry,” said Hobbs. “The advanced manufacturing industry brings with it good paying jobs, and we are going to make sure every Arizonan has the opportunity to reap the benefits of our economic growth.”

NXP Semiconductors has been operating in Arizona for more than 70 years.

“As the world enters a new era of semiconductor manufacturing, Arizona remains an important focal point for the production of next-generation technology and the demand for skilled workers has never been more essential,” said Jason Conrad, senior director of operations, ECHO Fab at NXP Semiconductors.

In July, The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company said it was delaying the start of production at its massive plant under construction in Phoenix, spotlighting Arizona’s shortage of skilled workers.

“These programs will provide a turbo boost to Arizona’s already robust semiconductor talent pipeline, creating more opportunities for Arizonans to receive hands-on training in this high-wage field,” said Arizona Commerce Authority President and CEO Sandra Watson.

More training to support semiconductors

A new semiconductor-focused Future48 workforce accelerator program to be developed in collaboration with Maricopa Community College was also announced by Hobbs. The Phoenix metro area program will add to Future48 programs already in place in Kingman and Yuma.

Future48 programs are modeled after a program began in Pinal County called Drive48. That program was initiated to help staff the Lucid Group’s electric vehicle manufacturing facility.

The state not only needs workers to build semiconductors, but also to build the facilities where the semiconductors will be manufactured.

Last week, Hobbs announced the creation of a new statewide workforce development program aimed at increasing the number of construction apprenticeships throughout Arizona and allocated $500,000 to help build on both apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs.

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Arizona takes more action to boost semiconductor training and development