Austin Community College District, UT, and Texas Institute for Electronics partner to launch new Semiconductor Training Center

Austin Community College District (ACC), the University of Texas at Austin (UT), and the Texas Institute for Electronics (TIE) announce a new workforce development partnership that will fuel the needs of America’s semiconductor industry. 

Together, ACC, UT, and TIE will launch new education training programs that will leverage ACC’s advanced teaching and training facilities and UT’s faculty, research, and state-of-the-art fabrication facilities to help ensure skilled talent for a rapidly growing workforce. Semiconductors—or chips—are key electronic components critical to the global economy and national security. These chips are the brains of everything from everyday devices like flashlights and smartphones to advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and clean energy, shaping the future of innovation and progress.

An estimated 115,000 new semiconductor jobs are expected to be added to the U.S. economy by 2030. A recent report from the Semiconductor Industry Association and Oxford Economics found 67,000 of those new jobs are at risk of going unfilled because of an undersized workforce and lack of training programs. Under the partnership, ACC, UT, and TIE will:

  • Develop a joint Semiconductor Training Center (STC) | Featuring new facilities, students at UT, ACC, and nationally, can receive hands-on technical training combined with academic theory. It will also host programs designed to transition current workforce talent into the semiconductor industry and advance the careers of those who are in it.
  • Semiconductor Curriculum & Credential Development | Leveraging faculty from both institutions along with industry experts, this initiative will build stackable skill-based microcredentials and related education activities, with plans to develop K-12 partnerships. 

“The semiconductor industry is a critical part of our local economy, and it’s growing. ACC is already recognized as one of the leading institutions in the nation for building curricula and programs that support this industry. We have the capacity to create just-in-time programs that support employers and workers, and we want to develop a model that can be scaled across the nation. ACC is proud to partner with UT-Austin to take this work to a new level,” says ACC Chancellor Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart. “When we can collaborate through programs like the STC, we’re giving our students the best of both worlds — access to one of the nation’s top research universities and ACC’s advanced teaching and training facilities. Together, we can develop a model and strategy that others can replicate across the nation.”

“UT has a rich history as a leader in the semiconductor industry not only in Texas, but across the country, helping position the U.S. to compete globally with the most advanced technology and qualified workforce,” says UT President Jay Hartzell. “America needs a skilled and sustained workforce to bolster our supply chain and mitigate disruptions. Our partnership will bring together our exceptional faculty and students and top ranked programs with Austin Community College’s nationally renowned workforce training in the heart of Austin’s well-established innovation ecosystem to achieve this.”

Texas leads the nation in semiconductor manufacturing and is tied among states with the second most semiconductor workers. In Central Texas, semiconductor workforce demand is expected to continue to rise sharply due to the growth and relocation of large companies including Samsung Austin Semiconductor, Applied Materials, NXP Semiconductors, and Tokyo Electron.

The new partnership will help make Central Texas a premier hub for comprehensive workforce development that will fuel the needs of America’s semiconductor industry. The joint program will serve as a one-stop shop for industry in need of skilled labor, creating seamless and coordinated education pathways between ACC and UT to address every skill set on the semiconductor workforce continuum, ranging from equipment technician to semiconductor engineer. Both institutions will leverage and grow programs currently offered as well as jointly address the educational needs between them. 

  • ACC Stackable Credentials | In fall 2023, ACC developed the Semiconductor Technician Advanced Rapid Start (STARS) curriculum as a rapid upskilling program intended to bridge incumbent workers with foundational technical skills to a manufacturing technician role. This program was developed in collaboration with the Austin Regional Manufacturing Association (ARMA) and leaders in the regional semiconductor industry – including Samsung Austin Semiconductor, NXP Semiconductors, Tokyo Electron, Infineon, and Applied Materials. The STARS program provides a customized blend of theoretical and hands-on training necessary for these positions, all in a condensed 4-week, full-time schedule. 
  • UT Master’s Program | Starting in fall 2025, UT will offer a new Master of Science in Engineering with a major in semiconductor science and engineering. The program aims to help meet the demand for semiconductor scientists and engineers through hands-on experience in four core areas: semiconductor manufacturing, circuits and systems, heterogeneous integration, and semiconductor devices. 

“Austin Community College is a regional leader for workforce development training programs that build direct paths for students to train and get the skills needed to meet the growing needs for Central Texas’ manufacturing workforce,” says Jon Taylor, Corporate Vice President for Samsung Austin Semiconductor. “Partnerships with ACC and our peers in the industry are vital in creating a unified approach to foster opportunities to achieve and sustain economic prosperity.”

“Austin Community College is paving the way for workforce development training programs, helping to foster a new generation of local technical and engineering talent. NXP is proud to work with ACC and other companies in the region to develop these programs and nurture the talent necessary to help Austin continue to thrive as a global technology hub,” says Johnnie Cain, Front End Operations Training Program Manager for NXP Semiconductors.

As part of the ACC-UT agreement, the UT-sponsored Texas Institute for Electronics (TIE), will commit approximately $3.75 million of funding that was provided by the State of Texas through the Texas CHIPS Act to develop the STC. TIE has 84,000 square feet of clean-room space. The agreement will also leverage the facilities of industry partners. Strong workforce development is central to meeting the goals of the CHIPS for America Act. The Texas Legislature has appropriated $552 million from the Texas CHIPS Act to TIE, a public-private consortium of preeminent semiconductor systems and defense electronics companies, national labs, and academic institutions, paving the way for pursuit of federal CHIPS Act funding.  

UT also will provide opportunities for students and educators to get first-hand experience with semiconductor research and fabrication facilities, such as the Montopolis and Pickle fabrication facilities. In return, ACC will provide innovative skills-based semiconductor education and training programs and campus space to build facilities for specialized learning environments to broaden the regional training ecosystem. 

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