Arizona trade apprenticeship program expanding with $15M TSMC investment

Dec 4, 2023, 7:15 AM

PHOENIX –Arizona Pipe Trades plans to expand its Joint Apprenticeship Training Center after receiving a $15 million investment from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.

U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly on Friday toured the Phoenix training facility, where apprentices will learn valuable skills in the construction industry. Arizona needs to fill 265,000 construction jobs by next December, according to the Phoenix Chamber Foundation.

Arizona Pipe Trades is training the workforce that will build many of the semiconductor manufacturing facilities being built across the Valley.

What will the Phoenix facility offer to apprentices?

Apprenticeships offer five-year training programs in plumbing, pipefitting and HVAC-refrigeration trades. The Joint Apprenticeship Training Center has about 1,000 apprentices at a time with plans to expand to over 2,000. About 300 journeymen graduate a year and there is a waitlist to get in.

Apprentices work 40 hours a week earning roughly $20 per hour learning highly specialized construction skills and spend another eight hours a week in the classroom developing these skills. The Arizona Pipe Trades U.S. Local 469 union, which operates the training facility, then helps place graduates in high-paying construction jobs.

The Joint Apprenticeship Training Center will use the money from TSCM to build an on-site semiconductor fabrication room so apprentices can learn how to build these complex facilities.

What did Kelly do while visiting the facility?

Kelly learned how to weld while at the Merchant Marine Academy before he joined the U.S. Navy. He received some hands-on training when he practiced his welding at the training facility during the tour.

“The folks that come through these programs are able to work while they’re being trained, tuition free,” Kelly said. “They can actually make a wage while they’re learning a trade that will pay a wage that you can actually raise a family on.”

Last week, Amkor Technology announced it will spend $2 billion on building a new semiconductor packaging and test facility in Peoria. The facility will package and test chips for Apple. Kelly called it the first advanced packaging facility in the nation bringing 2,000 jobs to the West Valley.

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Arizona trade apprenticeship program expanding with $15M TSMC investment