Effort aims to attract and develop skilled workers

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The Advanced Manufacturing Performance (AMP) Center at SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly), in collaboration with Edwards Vacuum (Edwards), TEL Technology Center, America, LLC (TEL), DPS Group, and SEMI, announced the launch of the Career Alignment Platform (CAP). This cutting-edge workforce initiative aims to attract and develop the highly skilled technical workers needed for digital manufacturing in the semiconductor industry.

“Thanks to support from SUNY Poly’s industry partners, Edwards, TEL, DPS Group, and SEMI, the AMP Center’s CAP provides students and those currently in the workplace access to industry-relevant content, industry-compliant equipment, and an industry-driven focus on the dynamic career pathways that are available in semiconductor manufacturing across New York State,” said SUNY Poly Acting President Dr. Tod A. Laursen. “We look forward to working with each partner as the AMP Center connects our next-generation workforce with the targeted skills to meet the high demand for computer chips.”

“CAP invites users to explore the broad array of careers in the fast-growing semiconductor industry by utilizing an innovative animated user interface to organize and access curated career content that has been tailored for selected career advancement routes,” said Michael Fancher, Director of SUNY Poly’s Advanced Manufacturing Performance Center and the New York State Center for Advanced Technology in Nanomaterials and Nanoelectronics (CATN2). “Such critical career opportunities are associated with the facilities, equipment, and processes in a chip fab, presenting exciting pathways for advancement.”

Created as a public private partnership with initial financial support exceeding $3 million, the AMP Center has received $1.25 million in funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), a bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce; $250,000 from New York State’s Empire State Development Corporation (ESD); and more than $750,000 from anchor industry partners.

It designed CAP as a framework to curate and develop career content aligned with career pathways in facility, equipment, and process systems to excite, attract, and retain the highly skilled workforce needed for digital manufacturing.

“The U.S. Economic Development Administration is pleased to have provided the initial support to launch the AMP Center as a collaboration with the semiconductor industry supply chain to build career pathways for the high-function technicians and engineers required for success in advanced manufacturing,” said Linda Cruz-Carnall, Regional Director, EDA Philadelphia Regional Office. “Our national competitiveness and a region’s growth depend upon industry, government, and academia working together to build our future.” 

For information on the project, contact Fancher at mfancher@sunypoly.edu..

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Hope Knight said, “ESD is pleased to support the launch of AMP’s Skillup America Learning Management System (LMS), providing essential tools to begin the journey to success for new and traditionally under-represented communities. The LMS provides students with integrated assessments, remedial training programs, career pathways exploration, access to on-line content in advanced manufacturing and information technology to facilitate measurable skills gains, industry certifications, and matchmaking with prospective employers.”

“At Edwards, it is our mission to create and engineer environments where innovation thrives, and we believe that innovation should not only be ingrained in the design of our products, but also in our people,” said Scott Clark, Edwards Vacuum North America Semi Business Line Manager. “In this rapidly changing industry, it is prudent to pave the way for our new talent to serve the next technology development that will take the semiconductor industry to new highs. We are confident that CAP will play a pivotal role in providing the right opportunities to engage, learn, and develop the student body to be prepared for a future in the semiconductor industry as well as amplify the knowledge of those who are currently in the workforce.”

“TEL is honored to support this very important and timely initiative,” said Alex Oscilowski, President, TEL Technology Center, America, LLC. “Our industry’s ongoing progress requires the most highly skilled and capable workers. Congratulations to SUNY Poly in providing the cutting-edge infrastructure necessary to attract and develop the semiconductor workforce of the future.”

“The application of powerful computer aided design, 3D/BIM (Building Information Modeling) and virtual/augmented reality technologies used in the design/engineering of semiconductor manufacturing fabs and semiconductor equipment installation for workforce training has been an exciting opportunity for DPS Group,” said Barry O’Sullivan, VP Strategic Business Development. “Our work with the AMP Center to provide context and convey the relationships between the broad array of systems required to operate digital manufacturing demonstrates the potential for innovation in workforce training, both “in person” and remote. With a skilled labor shortage being one of the biggest constraints to rapid growth and expansion of the entire Advanced Technologies sector, enabling efficient “up-skilling” for those currently not engaged in the industry is critical. This is the catalyst that fuels such enthusiastic collaboration between AMP and its partners. DPS Group is proud to support this important innovation.”

“Advanced manufacturing is confronting a chronic shortage of high-function technicians and engineers where career pathways are often opaque with no clear way to present the wide array of career opportunities within an enterprise, and there is often limited visibility into what a career path might entail and how to progress in higher degrees of attainment,” said Dave Anderson, SEMI Americas President. “However, CAP seeks to address these skills and information gaps by providing context for a given career pathway, with a program that is organized by related systems, forming “branches” in a career progression.”  

CAP also offers curated content in ascending level of attainment, beginning with background information on the industry, and related systems and careers to attract new entrants. This leads to course content related to foundational principles of operation using the AMP Skillup learning management system, which transitions to industry-compliant e-learning short courses on the theory and use of systems. Finally, this educational suite culminates in hands-on learning experiences, including real world bench-scale modules, tool- and facility-scale training stands, and augmented and virtual reality enhancement for systematic career progression.

The CAP endeavor will also benefit from Northeast Advanced Technological Education Center (NEATEC), which joins the AMP Center in operating under the Partner Aligned Training Hub (PATH) model. NEATEC provides workforce delivery; concurrently, the AMP Center focuses on building industry supply chain collaborations to jointly develop industry-compliant training content and hands-on training tools.

“As NEATEC fosters educational and training opportunities to meet the needs of the nanotechnology and semiconductor manufacturing industries, we are thrilled to work closely on this important initiative which dovetails perfectly with our mission, facilitating the hands-on know-how to achieve success across New York State’s high-tech sector,” said Dr. Robert Geer, SUNY Poly Professor of Nanoscale Science and NEATEC Executive Director. “We look forward to working together to leverage workforce development synergies that can uplift the future innovation workforce.”

“NY CREATES’ state-of-the-art, innovation-focused facilities provide critical support to our high-tech partners and an environment that fosters collaborations like this new partnership between TEL, Edwards, SEMI and the AMP Center,” said Paul Kelly, Chief Operating Officer, NY CREATES. “Growing the workforce has never been more important for the semiconductor industry, and CAP is an exciting initiative that will help to launch and advance good careers in the Capital Region and across New York.”

The AMP Center would like to invite members of industry to join this effort and expand upon CAP with curated career content and hands-on training stands in each area of chip fab operations, including facilities & utilities, equipment & support, and process & integration. For more information on how to play a key role, please contact Michael Fancher at mfancher@sunypoly.edu.

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