Chip manufacturing jobs are coming to the US. | So Good News


President Joe Biden spent some time in Syracuse on Thursday, where Micron Technology plans to spend $100 billion over the next two decades building semiconductor factories in the area. This summer’s passage of the CHIPS Act, a federal law that has invested billions of dollars in the chip industry, is expected to bring more from these factories. Thousands of jobs are also expected to be created, and schools are rushing to create training so people can do it.

Those jobs are different, engineers, including chemists and cleaners.

“It’s like a small town,” said Nina Turner, director of research at IDC.

Part of that city: clean rooms; People dressed in white suits, also known as bunny suits.

“These people are technicians who are monitoring the process or maintaining the equipment or cleaning things,” Turner said.

The reason there are restrooms and bunny suits is because making chips involves etching precise patterns onto silicon wafers, and everything has to be just that.

“They have the whole dressing process and a decontamination process to make sure you’re as clean as possible,” Turner said.

According to the Commerce Department, more than 60% of people currently working in semiconductor manufacturing do not have a college degree, and some entry-level professionals can start work with a high school diploma, Turner said. But it needs more jobs to grow, and schools are working to offer them in places like central Ohio, where Intel plans to build two new factories.

“We’re looking at things like VR and simulation, how that can play a role,” said Cheryl Hay of Columbus State Community College, who applied her bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering to include training on how to live in a clean room. Even if there isn’t one on campus

Arizona State University in Phoenix offers a variety of courses, including a certificate in semiconductor processing.

“There will never be a moment like the one we’re experiencing now,” said Kyle Squires, dean of the engineering schools there. “This is truly once in a lifetime.”

Many of the expected jobs will be in places that are not traditional technology centers; points out Anshel Sag with Moor Insights & Strategy.

“A lot of semiconductor jobs today are mostly on the West Coast,” Sag said. “With the CHIPS Act, some of these jobs will actually come from Ohio and New York.”

Another requirement: People must want to work in manufacturing. Maria Flynn, who heads the non-profit Jobs for the Future, said she was concerned that some positions would be automated.

“For example, we’re hearing a lot from communities in Kentucky about parents not being comfortable promoting manufacturing as a good path for their kids,” Flynn said.

For those who want to try it out, the average salary in semiconductor manufacturing is just under $100,000, according to the Commerce Department. What is worth wearing a bunny suit?

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