Ohio’s community colleges, technical centers, local career centers and school districts will offer new programs and career pathways for students who want to work at Intel.
Silicon Valley semiconductor maker Intel made an initial $20 billion investment to build two new microchip factories in Licking County that is expected to create 3,000 jobs. Those jobs include more than 2,000 technicians, more than 700 engineers and about 150 support workers.
“Every Ohio resident has the opportunity to earn an in-demand tech credential at no charge to them,” said Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted. “Ohio is no longer the rust belt. We are the Silicon heartland. … We want to be the economic juggernaut of the Midwest. We want to have the best education trained workforce in the Midwest.”
Intel announced they picked Ohio for the new site in January 2022 and construction started this fall with President Joe Biden stopping by for a ceremonial groundbreaking. The first factory is expected to be completed by 2025.
Husted said he started getting lots of questions from folks after the initial Intel announcement.
“What happened immediately was people said ‘Where can I get one of those jobs? What kind of skills do I need to do these things? Where will I need to go? Well, all of those questions are being answered today.”
Intel tasked the Ohio Association of Community College’s Semiconductor Collaboration Network to add semiconductor-specific courses and equipment to engineering technology and advanced manufacturing programs.
“The goal was to meet the expected demand for thousands of new semiconductor industry employees,” said Jack Hershey, president of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges.
This is part of the $17.7 million that Intel announced in the fall it would give over three years to Ohio colleges and universities to create semiconductor education and workforce programs, which is part of a larger $50 million the company plans on spending on the education pipeline to prepare 9,000 workers for jobs.
Students who earn the two-semester semiconductor manufacturing certificate can start as entry-level technician roles. They can also earn an associate’s of applied science to become a midlevel technician and a bachelor’s of applied science to become a process or quality engineer.
“The power that this is going to have is immense. … There is so much interest and so much opportunity,” said Central Ohio Technical College President John Berry.
The courses are part of a standardized curriculum, so courses can be transferred to a different college or university in Ohio. While the curriculum is being provided free, the courses and programs will come with a price tag for students.
“We want people to realize there are affordable pathways,” Husted said. “In some cases, free educational pathways to earn these skills. You don’t have to run up college debt.”
Three new courses are being offered — manufacturing foundations, semiconductor 101 and vacuum systems.
Manufacturing foundations will teach standard operating procedures, basic measurement and maintenance schemes. Semiconductor 101 will prepare students for careers in the semiconductor industry. Vacuum systems will teach students how to use and maintain vacuum systems in the semiconductor industry.
The courses are offered in 16-week and 8-week formats with online and lecture classes and labs depending on the course.
“People who want to take advantage of these types of career pathways should be looking to their community colleges and technical centers,” said Kristi Clouse, the senior managing director of talent for JobsOhio.
Intel in Licking County
Ohio’s colleges, universities, career and technical schools are among the things that led to Intel selecting the Buckeye State as the site of the two new factories, said Intel Ohio General Manager Jim Evers.
“Access to top talent is a priority to Intel,” Evers said.
It’s crucial that Ohio is able to provide the workforce for Intel to attract more businesses and create more jobs, Husted said.
“We have to have a workforce if you are going to be successful at recruiting businesses and supply chains to go with it,” he said. “The better we are at proving to businesses that we can supply a workforce, the better off we are at securing the Intels and other businesses that come here.”
This story was republished from the Ohio Capital Journal under a Creative Commons license.