NIIT, Applied Materials Establish Texas' First Apprenticeship for Semiconductor Equipment Manufacturing


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The National Institute for Innovation and Technology (NIIT), the leader in developing the nation's semiconductor talent pipeline, and Applied Materials, Inc. (Applied), the world's largest semiconductor equipment group, announced an agreement to establish a Registered Apprenticeship Program designed specifically to strengthen the company's technician and assembler workforce.

The innovative, competency-based program is the first of its kind in the state of Texas and will utilize NIIT's National Talent Hub to identify individuals, assess and align skills and provide targeted training for semiconductor equipment manufacturing. The regional partners supporting program implementation include Austin Community College, the Texas Department of Labor and Workforce Solutions of Texas.

"Applied Materials is excited to launch this key program at our Austin manufacturing site," said David Immenhauser, Vice President of Manufacturing at Applied Materials. "We welcome NIIT's support to help implement a program that leverages our strong relationships with Austin Community College and Workforce Solutions to help increase and diversify the talent pipeline for the semiconductor industry. Program participants will benefit from access to the latest in learning methods from Austin Community College, along with opportunities to apply new skills at a high-tech employer such as Applied Materials."

NIIT has the exclusive U.S. Department of Labor contract to lead the expansion of the nation's Registered Apprenticeship Programs in the semiconductor and nanotechnology related industries. The Applied initiative is part of NIIT's "Growing Apprenticeships in Nanotechnology and Semiconductors" (GAINS) program, designed specifically to meet the needs of the semiconductor industry.

Applied Materials provides foundational technology for the semiconductor industry, supporting chip production facilities around the world. The Applied initiative will include entry level engineers and offer pathways for individuals participating in GAINS pre-apprenticeships. The program will initially focus on Assembler and Technician roles and will be scaled nationally across target sites.

"The GAINS program comes at a time when the industry is struggling to maintain a stream of qualified talent –a problem that will grow in the years ahead as more semiconductor fabs emerge in the U.S.", said Mike Russo, the President and CEO of NIIT. "At NIIT, we are charged with creating the national strategy and infrastructure to develop the talent pipeline in strategic sectors. We are excited to be supporting Applied Materials, a technology leader and the largest provider of equipment to semiconductor fabs around the world."

"Apprenticeships are industry-driven, high-quality career pathways through which employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and transferable credentials," said the United States Department of Labor. "The Department oversees Registered Apprenticeship Programs, which assist employers in developing an immediate pool of workers with the right skills for available jobs and allow workers to get a paycheck from day one while they build skills in a new career."

"ACC understands the need to collaborate with the industry to provide a workforce that will continue to develop the skills needed as technology evolves," said Dr. Laura Marmolejo, Associate Dean of Advanced Manufacturing Programs at Austin Community College.

"Austin's booming employer landscape and low unemployment rate contributes to the challenge of finding qualified candidates to fill numerous new roles, but Workforce Solutions Capital Area is responding to this growth strategically for the benefit of both the job seekers and employers in our region," Tamara Atkinson, CEO of Workforce Solutions Capital Area, said. "With learnings from our existing apprenticeship programs, we have been able to creatively envision apprenticeships in other nontraditional industries, such as manufacturing. We're thrilled to partner with Applied Materials and NIIT to continue growing these valuable opportunities."

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