Delta College, MEDC’s Talent Action Team announce major $500,000-plus expansion in move to become national leaders in semiconductor education and training programs
Partners include Hemlock Semiconductor, SK Siltron CSS, CMU, MSU, SVSU and Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! with anticipated launch in December 2023 of state-of-the-art learning and high-paying, high-tech career opportunities for students and workers across the Great Lakes Bay Region
UNIVERSITY CENTER (Bay City), Mich. — Leaders with Delta College and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) Talent Action Team were joined today by state legislators and executives with Hemlock Semiconductor and SK Siltron CSS to announce the kickoff of Delta’s more than $500,000 state-of-the-art training programs that respond to Michigan’s increased demand for skilled technicians and engineering professionals in the semiconductor industry.
Michigan’s semiconductor workforce ranks among the top 10 in the nation, with job growth of at least 11% projected in the next five years.
Watch the video of the press conference here.
(Available for news media use)
“Delta College’s goal is to be one of the leading educational institutions in America in semiconductor programming,” Delta College President Michael Gavin said during a news conference in the school’s cutting-edge chemical processing laboratory this morning.
“Our focus is to provide accessible and industry-relevant training to equip Delta College students with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in these high-demand, high-paying sectors,” he said. “This new opportunity will be adapted by Delta to build a world-class talent pipeline to meet the semiconductor industry’s needs.”
Gavin was joined in the news conference by MEDC Talent Solutions Director Christopher Rishko; state Sen. Kristen McDonald Rivet, D-Bay City; state Rep. Amos O’Neal, D-Saginaw; state Rep. Bill G. Schuette, R-Midland; Hemlock Semiconductor Chairman and CEO AB Ghosh; and SK Group Director of State and Local Government Relations and Community Engagement Keida Ackerman.
“Today’s announcement by Delta College makes me proud to be a Michigander, and even more proud to represent our Great Lakes Bay Region,” said McDonald Rivet.
“Michigan is among the first states in the nation with a consortium that has successfully identified the key skills and competencies employers need to drive future microchip industry development,” she said. “I’m delighted Delta College is going to build upon that foundation of achievement.”
Historically, Delta College has designed academic programs that provide a comprehensive pathway for students and apprentices who wish to pursue a career. The college provides opportunities for a career credential, one-year certificate, associate degree and transfer pathways to four-year institutions.
Currently, Delta College offers an associate degree in mechatronics technology, chemical process technology and mechanical engineering technology.
Now, Delta College is investing more than $530,000 in its semiconductor curriculum expansion, including $292,000 enabled by MEDC’s Semiconductor Higher Education Grant Initiative. In addition, Delta has submitted a Congressionally Directed Spending Request that is currently funded in the U.S. Senate at $284,000, with a decision expected by federal lawmakers in October.
“The MEDC is thrilled to support Delta College’s innovative semiconductor curriculum expansion plan,” Rishko said. “Delta’s announcement today is a major step forward in helping build on our state’s push to onshore critical supply chains of semiconductors back to Michigan, creating good-paying jobs and reducing supply chain delays and shortages.”
As part of the semiconductor curriculum expansion, Delta College will begin offering a pre-engineering path to align with partner institutions Central Michigan University, Michigan State University and Saginaw Valley State University.
This will allow student participants to have access to well-defined and easily expandable paths that will prepare them for jobs in the semiconductor field. These paths include training, industry certification, career credentials, a one-year certificate, associate degree and transfer opportunities.
The target audience includes existing students in relevant degree pathways, adult learners seeking to change careers, current workers in need of semiconductor skills, underserved populations and high school students.
“Delta College’s expansion of its education and training programs exemplifies why Michigan should be the home of semiconductor manufacturing in the United States,” said O’Neal.
“Delta will build custom pathways for apprenticeship opportunities within the region and promote job readiness and foundational technical skills to underserved urban populations,” O’Neal added. “That’s especially critical to the constituents I serve to ensure all Michiganders have access to career opportunities in the semiconductor industry.”
Workforce and employer partners in the Delta College expanded semiconductor curriculum rollout include Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works!, Hemlock Semiconductor and SK Siltron CSS.
“This truly is a unique and powerful partnership with state government, private industry and academia all rowing in the same direction to drive Michigan forward in this vital segment of our state and national economy,” Ghosh said.
“This is both an important moment and a critical opportunity for Michigan. We have this unique chance — right now — to plant the flag and declare ourselves the home to high-tech industries of the new economy,” Ghosh added. “To be successful, we need a long-term vision and commitment to building vital industries here at home over the next 30 to 40 years. And that is exactly what we are doing.”
Delta College anticipates serving 100 individuals during calendar 2024. Participants can choose to pursue short-term training, attain industry credentials, complete academic certificates, obtain an associate degree or transfer to a partnered engineering program — all depending on their career path and current situation.
“Michigan is a global leader and hub for advanced manufacturing and innovation, and we have grown our semiconductor industry footprint aggressively,” Schuette said. “Let’s keep working together to bring advanced manufacturing and critical supply chains home as we create economic opportunity in every region and build a brighter future for Michigan.”
Delta College envisions serving up to 200 more participants in the following two years. Short-term training for career credentials will fill skills gaps, including foundation skills training for underserved participants. Apprenticeships are included, along with a revised curriculum for academic students.
Anticipated launch would be December 2023 and activities would occur during the following academic semesters: winter 2024, spring 2024, summer 2024 and fall 2024, with efforts concluding at the end of December 2024.
“The MEDC and Delta College announcement today is just one example of the many ways SK is working to ensure that the U.S. workforce has the skills necessary to transition to technologies and industries of tomorrow,” Ackerman said. “Together with our government and community partners, we are creating pathways to jobs that represent the future of American manufacturing, and SK is proud to be a part of this future.”
As Delta College works with Hemlock Semiconductor and SK Siltron CSS to develop semiconductor certificate and degree offerings, Delta will also increase awareness with K-12 students and their parents.
Delta College operates a 38-foot STEM Explorer vehicle to engage with middle and high school students, allowing hands-on activities focused on STEM. Delta will develop new learning modules for the vehicle, focused on semiconductor skills, to bring that knowledge into the schools.
Delta College leaders believe these efforts will have an impact because a recent key STEM Explorer student survey showed:
- 70.7% of students are more interested in STEM topics because of their visit on the STEM Explorer.
- 81.1% of students might consider one of the STEM careers they learned about as a possible career for themselves in the future.
To create additional awareness, Delta College will develop on-campus programs and activities for K-12 students to allow for career exploration of skilled trades laboratories and discussion of semiconductor careers. Delta will engage companies in the Great Lakes Bay Region to send employees to be a part of these activities, allowing for direct engagement with youth in the region. By offering high-demand, high-wage career options, local residents will be hired, thus providing greater employment longevity.
The populations served include area middle school and high school students from Bay, Saginaw, Midland, Tuscola, Huron, Arenac and Isabella counties. Delta will also develop information that can be shared with parents of these students. In addition, Delta College is teaming with intermediate school districts in Bay, Saginaw, Midland, Tuscola, Huron, Arenac and Isabella counties on these career exploration activities and opportunities.
Delta College projects that 3,000 middle and high school students will take part in activities on STEM Explorer during the 2023-2024 school year. Another 500 middle/high school students will be engaged in on-campus activities.