Reading time ( words)
The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) announced a partnership to enhance STEM education and interest among students and bolster workforce development. With demand for highly skilled workers currently outstripping supply of U.S. STEM graduates, this partnership is critical to ensuring the United States maintains its innovation edge in a range of critical technologies, including semiconductors. SIA represents 99% of the U.S. semiconductor industry by revenue and nearly two-thirds of non-U.S. chip firms. FIRST is a a global robotics community preparing young people for the future through exciting, mentor-based programs that build both STEM and well-rounded life skills.
Together, SIA and FIRST will collaborate on equiping PreK-12 students with the skills necessary to pursue a career in science and technology, facilitating mentorship programs that improve the workforce talent pipeline for the semiconductor industry, and addressing public policy matters affecting STEM education and workforce development in the U.S.
“Semiconductors are the fundamental enabling technology of modern electronics throughout our economy, and the semiconductor industry relies on a highly skilled and diverse workforce to maintain its economic and strategic advantage,” said Cristiano Amon, President and CEO of Qualcomm Incorporated and 2022 SIA Chair. “Leadership in semiconductor research, design, and manufacturing demands access to the best scientists, engineers, and technicians. SIA is proud to announce this partnership with FIRST focused on building a strong, STEM-proficient workforce through engaging students across the U.S.”
With mentorship and financial sponsorship opportunities, this partnership will recruit students from all backgrounds, especially among underserved and underrepresented communities, to ensure a diverse and inclusive future STEM workforce.
“We’re thrilled to be formally partnering with SIA to create greater access to learning and mentorship programs that will provide students the necessary skills and resources to succeed in STEM careers—starting as early as PreK,” said Dean Kamen, FIRST Founder and President of DEKA Research and Development Corporation. “With many SIA companies already supporting FIRST through both sponsorship and employee volunteerism, we’re certain this official collaboration will foster even greater outcomes for students as they pursue STEM-related interests and activities.”
A strong U.S. semiconductor industry is critical to the U.S. economy. According to a recent SIA and Oxford Economics report, the U.S. semiconductor industry accounts for roughly a quarter of a million direct jobs in the U.S, with the largest two segments being production occupations and engineering. Additionally, for each U.S. worker directly employed by the semiconductor industry, an additional 5.7 jobs are supported in the wider U.S. economy, either in the supply chains of the semiconductor industry or through the wage spending of those employed by the firms themselves or their supply chains.