Middle school teachers immerse in hands-on semiconductor education at Washtenaw Community College June 24-27

June 20, 2024 Fran LeFort

 Image of electronic engineer in laboratory.


Fifteen area middle school teachers will spend next week at Washtenaw Community College (WCC) immersed in semiconductors as part of the state’s commitment to making Michigan a leader in the semiconductor industry.

Math and science teachers will learn foundational knowledge and participate in four full days of hands-on activities with STEM kits that they can deploy in their own classrooms this fall.

The end goal is to fuel the state’s semiconductor talent pipeline by introducing students to high-demand, well-paying career opportunities and demonstrating how semiconductors are essential in everyday products. Common products such as computers, vehicles, phones, appliances, gaming consoles, health care devices and even LED light bulbs require semiconductors.

The training is hosted in partnership with the SEMI Foundation and Eastern Michigan University’s GameAbove College of Engineering & Technology and will lead teachers in hands-on semiconductor circuit building sessions.

Teachers will also spend one day touring the KLA Corporation’s Ann Arbor headquarters, where they will participate in a career panel discussion and watch scientists and technicians in action, followed by a tour of the University of Michigan’s Lurie Nanofabrication research facility.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently announced a $10 million investment in the public-private Michigan Semiconductor Talent and Technology for Automotive Research (MSTAR) initiative, which was formed a year ago.

The goal of MSTAR is to accelerate the semiconductor workforce pipeline in Michigan, making the state a world leader in the automotive semiconductor technology and mobility ecosystem.

Washtenaw Community College is an MSTAR education partner and will train semiconductor technicians through a new short-term workforce development program expected to launch in 2025. The college plans to develop other stackable credential programs.

Other MSTAR partners are KLA Corporation, University of Michigan, Belgium-technology innovation hub imec and General Motors.

The Summer Semi Session for middle school teachers is funded through a separate grant awarded last Fall from Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

The week will kick off Monday, June 24, with special guests and partners gathered for a semiconductor industry panel discussion with participants from KLA, the SEMI Foundation, Macom and Stellantis, as well as an education panel discussion with leaders from UM’s Lurie Nanofabrication facility, Ypsilanti Community Schools, Code313 and WCC.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, June 25-26, teachers will learn more about industry jobs and build their own semiconductor circuits with kits from the SEMI Foundation.

The tours at KLA and U-M’s Lurie Nanofabrication Facility will be Thursday, June 27.

Tags: 2024, STEM, STEM Careers, Semiconductor, Semiconductor Industry, Workforce Development

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