Congress approves $1M for UC workforce training in microchips

Intel Corp. is building a new fabrication plant that will employ 3,000 people in Ohio

The University of Cincinnati is getting nearly $1 million for workforce training in microchips under a congressional spending bill signed by President Joe Biden.

“We have these incredible leaders doing amazing work, and these investments will make a big difference in our communities, especially in improving the lives of our children and families,” bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Greg Landsman, D-Ohio, said.

The funding will help UC acquire needed technology and equipment to provide semiconductor and microelectronics training for students pursuing careers in this growing field in Ohio. Intel Corp. is building a new fabrication plant in Ohio, considered the state’s single-largest private sector investment.

Faculty, Lab, Research, Technology
Professor Rashmi Jha and student Tommy engaging in some research in Clean Room at ERC. UC/Joseph Fuqua II

At the Mantei Center's clean room, students in UC's College of Engineering and Applied Science learn about semiconductor manufacturing. Photo/Joseph Fuqua II/UC

The plant is expected to employ as many as 3,000 people with an average salary of $135,000, according to the Columbus Dispatch. The fabrication plant is slated to open sometime next year.

“We are proud to continue to advance our role as a national talent engine for the semiconductor workforce and thank Congressman Landsman for his vision and support of the University of Cincinnati - Semiconductor and Microelectronics Workforce Development project,” UC President Neville Pinto said.

“These investments position our students and graduates on the cutting edge of innovation, giving them in-demand skills that boost the economy in our region, our state and beyond.”

The advantage of our program is that it is meant to provide fundamental training rapidly and it is inherently hands-on, so it satisfies specific needs of semiconductor manufacturers and their suppliers.

Gautam Pillay, UC College of Engineering and Applied Science

UC in 2022 organized a coalition of 15 colleges and universities to train students and workers in semiconductor technology and manufacturing. Intel awarded UC and its partners $3.5 million over three years to provide training. UC expects to train 1,000 students by the end of 2025.

The federal funding will help UC provide introductory, intermediate and advanced training in semiconductor manufacturing. This includes things such as virtual reality experiences in manufacturing processes and equipment as well as practical experience working in the Mantei Center Cleanroom, a controlled environment that is kept free from contaminants that could affect the sensitive microchips.

Professor Gautam Pillay, associate dean of UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, spoke to the Business Courier about the funding.

“We will leverage resources to develop additional coursework, purchase equipment to permanently upgrade and augment existing training facilities and support student stipends to attract and retain highly motivated individuals to join this competitive future workforce,” he told the Business Courier.

“The advantage of our program is that it is meant to provide fundamental training rapidly and it is inherently hands-on, so it satisfies specific needs of semiconductor manufacturers and their suppliers,” Pillay said.

Featured image at top: Students work in UC's Mantei Center Cleanroom. Photo/Corrie Mayer/CEAS Marketing

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