Leaders Discuss Workforce Training for Micron’s CNY Arrival Leaders Discuss Workforce Training for Micron’s CNY Arrival

JOHN PERIK: Preparing for Micron. It continues to be a big talker here in our region. And today, company leaders and others gathered at OCC to speak about preparing the workforce for the chip industry. That’s where Chilekasi Adele joins us live. Chile, how far along is the college?

CHILEKASI ADELE: Well, guys, the consensus around here seems to be getting its feet wet. This was an interesting event because at times there was a lot of raw honesty here talking about the process. And basically what a lot of leaders said is that the groundwork has been laid. But there’s still a lot more to go.

MICHAEL GRIEB: There’s a huge demand for technicians and we’re looking to be that person that that educator for that field.

ADELE: Certainly preparing for that today with officials from all different sorts of groups gathering here to talk about training the workforce for the next generation of chip makers.

GRIEB: It involves a lot of the same techniques that you would need for being a mechanic or anything like that. It’s really a lot of fundamentals.

ADELE: And the fundamentals are why it’s not just an effort for OCC, but for many local school districts as well.

GRIEB: We are pretty new to semiconductors, so we don’t have a lot of semiconductor specific coursework, but we’re working closely with a number of of educators in the across the nation to integrate that in the future.

ADELE: There are many four year schools like SU taking part in this. OCC is advertising itself as a more affordable option.

DR. WARREN HILTON: Many of our students graduate with no debt or very little debt, and we have that opportunity here at O.C..

ADELE: And OCC continues to talk with people from Western Idaho. People all over the country as it tries to figure out next steps.

HILTON: Spend a lot of time in the community talking with government, as well as for profit and nonprofit organizations.

ADELE: And a lot of those schools we talked about earlier in our 4:00 newscast here West Genesee, which John mentioned in that story about the golf course, there were representatives here as well. Okay. And the SRC ARENA continue to play a big part in all of this. Remember, the CHIPS and Science Act passed last year, A lot of that funding going into the CHIP plan.

ADELE: And Clay. John, you were talking about West Genny earlier. There were a lot of people here. And I think one of the most interesting things is that we’re in the same place last year that President Biden was touting the Chips and Science Act here. So definitely OCC and the SRC Arena continuing to play a big part in this. We’re going to send it back to you guys in the studio now. I’m Chilekasi Adele, NCC News — Guys?

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Onondaga Community College is not the first institution to prepare for a new industry. The College of Western Idaho did the exact same thing.

In September of last year, Micron expanded its presence in Idaho — committing $15 million to a new facility. In that commitment, the chipmaker turned to the College of Western Idaho to be its “core education partner,” with the two entities working together to train the next generation workers in these fields.

The partnership is something that CWI’s President sees as beneficial to his college’s success — offering young people the opportunity to prepare themselves for the future, and cementing his college’s place in the community.

“Micron has been integral to our origin story,” Gordon Jones, president of the College of Western Idaho, said. “We’re only 14 years old as a community college.”

Citizens, local school district officials, and students from Onondaga Community College joined a four-person panel on Monday, led by WSYR-TV’s Andrew Donovan. One federal official was in attendance — Dr. Reginald Hicks, Head of Facilities Workforce for CHIPS for America.

Hicks has worked with semiconductors for over three decades. During Monday’s panel, some expressed skepticism about the future of Micron in Central New York — scarred by other companies like Carrier coming and going. Hicks stressed the need that semiconductor companies fill in an ever-changing world, with more advanced technology than ever before, along with geopolitical tensions creating the need for domestic stability.

“If you break open any electronic — any electronic, it starts with a chip,” Hicks said. “We’re not going backwards. We’re gonna go forward.”

Onondaga Community College is partnering with Micron to offer training for future Micron jobs, but almost a year after the announcement, programs are only just beginning to take shape. Curriculum integration is something that’s expected to pick up in the near future.

“We are pretty new to semiconductors, so we don’t have a lot of semiconductor specific coursework, but we’re working closely with a number of educators across the nation to integrate that in the future,” Michael Grieb, Chair of the Applied Technology Department at Onondaga Community College, said.

Grieb said that the skills that those training for Micron jobs need aren’t too far off from those of other professions.

It involves a lot of the same techniques that you would need for being a mechanic or anything like that,” Grieb said. “It’s really a lot of fundamentals.”

Other sectors of the economy are set to reap the benefits of the increased workforce from the semiconductor industry. Grieb said that the approach to preparing the next sets of semiconductor creators can not be one-dimensional.

“There’s not just the technicians directly that are employed by Micron that need to be supported… but a whole array of the community that needs to be brought up and educated to do healthcare and construction management and all sorts of things,” Grieb said.

Throughout Monday’s 90-minute panel discussion, the participants focused on the teamwork between all sorts of different entities to achieve a goal — it’s an attitude of “everybody in.”

“Partnerships go as well as the partnership and the willingness of individuals to join in, to believe, and to attempt to collaborate,” Jones said.

Reported by
Chilekasi Adele

Chilekasi Adele

Chilekasi Adele is a sophomore Broadcast and Digital Journalism Major at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications. Adele is from Aldan, Pennsylvania -- a suburb of Philadelphia. When Chilekasi is not chasing a story for NCC News, he also spends time with other campus media organizations, such as CitrusTV, where he is an on-air talent in both the News and Sports Departments. Adele likes to spend time with friends and family in the meantime, and he is an avid Philadelphia sports fan.

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