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2024 Message from the CEO

Updated: Mar 13

In these transformative times for the U.S. workforce and the semiconductor and advanced manufacturing industries, our mission at the Institute gains even more relevance and urgency.  


My recent appointment to the U.S. Labor Secretary's Advisory Commitee on Apprenticeships is not just a personal honor, but a testament to the critical work we've been championing at the Institute to build our nation’s talent pipeline in strategic industry sectors to support global competitiveness and national security.

  

As we navigate an election cycle that brings workforce development into sharp focus, it's imperative to highlight the bipartisan agreement on the importance of skilled labor and skills-based learning to our economy's health and competitiveness. The discussions and policies taking shape now will lay the groundwork for the future of semiconductor and advanced manufacturing. It's a pivotal moment for us to contribute meaningfully to shaping these outcomes.

 

The recent State of the Union address brought to light several initiatives that resonate with our mission. The expansion of Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAPs) and the emphasis on creating more equitable career pathways align closely with the work we've been doing across the country. In our role as the national U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) Intermediary for establishing RAPs throughout the semiconductor and broader nanotechnology related industry supply chains we have hit some significant milestones; to date we have supported the development of 85 Registered Apprenticeships (RAs) in 17 states with over 4,800 apprentices committed to our programs. 


Collaborations are key in what we do, and no one entity can build the nation’s critical talent pipeline on its own. We at the Institute may have a strategy – or the “playbook” - and the required infrastructure, however our approach is to support the great work already being done in regions. 

  

Through our Growing Apprenticeships in Nanotechnology and Semiconductors (GAINS) program, our successful partnerships with leading companies like Applied Materials, Wolfspeed, TSMC Arizona, and GlobalFoundries - and with municipalities such as the City of Phoenix where we recently honored them as the first municipality in the nation to serve as a RAP group sponsor in the semiconductor industry - are the bedrock of our strategy to address the talent shortage and skills gap. Through our Semiconductor and Advanced Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship Program (SAM-TAP), we are expanding our partnership model to states, providing Intermediary services to establish RAPs at no cost to state taxpayers.

 

Looking ahead, our aspirations are both ambitious and achievable. With the collective expertise and commitment of our team of subject-matter experts, partners, and stakeholders, we are poised to drive significant advancements in talent development. 

Our work is cut out for us, but the path is clear. By fostering a culture of continuous learning, innovation, and collaboration, we can ensure that the U.S. semiconductor industry and the broader tech sector remain at the forefront and that we can change lives and communities by giving workers from all cross-sections of society an opportunity to pursue a high-value, rewarding careers. 


As we move forward, I invite you to join us in this journey. Whether through participating in our programs as an employer or apprentice, contributing to our initiatives, or engaging in critical conversations shaping the semiconductor manufacturing industries’ future, your involvement is invaluable. Together, we can ensure that adults can leverage skills that they have acquired to advance their careers, and the nation’s public education system has the skills–based foundation required to build a workforce that is not only ready for tomorrow's challenges, but also capable of driving the innovations that will define our future -today. 


In service and partnership,

 

Michael A. Russo

President and CEO 

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