Michigan invests in semiconductor training to meet demand for high-skilled talent

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation will provide $4.6 million in grants toward semiconductor education and training programs, it announced Jan. 10 — reflecting ongoing need for newly trained workers in the high-demand industry.

The grants are set to support eight higher education institutions in the state in response to projected 11% job growth predicted over the next five years in Michigan, as well as ongoing investments from various semiconductor manufacturers in need of talent in the state.

The higher education institutions listed in the announcement will focus on training for adult learners, including certification and micro-credential programs, and outreach to local schools to expose students to the industry as a whole

“Michigan’s coordinated effort to empower semiconductor skills training and education is unique because it creates both essential training and career pathways across institution types, from community colleges to renowned universities, and across geographies,” MEDC’s Higher Education Partnerships Director Avazeh Attari said in a statement. “Furthermore, by collaborating with state agencies and corporate partners, the MEDC is ensuring that our local workforce has the skills necessary to create the technologies and industries of tomorrow.”

Semiconductors are crucial components of everyday items, like smartphones, and vital to other industries, such as military technology. But talent shortages are severe in the sector, other studies have shown; the SEMI Foundation and the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning noted in 2022 that better access to training, especially for underrepresented groups, could help employers find people — further showcasing the need for employer and government cooperation to meet certain goals.

The Biden administration has also focused on the semiconductor industry in its jobs proposals, setting aside budget to boost sectoral employment training, which skills up workers (often those without degrees) in partnership with “client” employers.