What’s Going on With the Semiconductor Workforce? The U.S. Government Wants to Know

The U.S. government requests information on high-demand skill sets, hiring difficulties, apprenticeship programs, and pipeline challenges

Photograph of two workers wearing bunny suits inside or a semiconductor fabrication lab.
Photo: Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images
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The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) wants to know about efforts to educate and train the future semiconductor workforce, and how the U.S. government can help.

NIST has asked for input on this topic from semiconductor companies, and their suppliers, trade associations, equipment manufacturers, educational institutions, and other related organizations, for a new report. The deadline to submit ideas is 15 August 2018.

Government assistance could include “enhanced support for K-12, undergraduate, and graduate STEM education (with a particular focus on semiconductor technology), targeted technical training, internship and apprenticeship programs, and cooperative education programs,” according to NIST’s request for information.

The outreach effort was sparked by President Donald Trump’s 2017 National Security Strategy, and its concerns about the impact of semiconductor-dependent technologies, like encryption, advanced computing, and artificial intelligence, on U.S. economic growth and security.

Among the specific issues those submitting information are asked to consider are:

  • The types of technical positions for which hiring is most difficult

  • Educational levels at which hiring is most difficult

  • Expected changes in staffing levels over the next 5 to 15 years

  • Skill sets that are likely to grow in importance

  • Things your company is doing to bring people into the tech workforce

  • Ideas for ways of stimulating semiconductor workforce growth

  • Thoughts on apprenticeship programs

The full request for information is published in the Federal Register here. Written comments should be submitted by email to semiwkfc@nist.gov.

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