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Micron, U of I Partner in Microelectronics Workforce Development Education Programs

U of I News

University of Idaho College of Engineering students evaluate microelectronic device designs in the Next Generation Microelectronics Research Center on the Moscow campus. U of I and Micron are working together to bring additional research dollars and faculty expertise toward semiconductor manufacturing and workforce development in Idaho. Photo courtesy of U I News

MOSCOW — The University of Idaho College of Engineering, in partnership with Micron Technology, is building Idaho’s professional semiconductor manufacturing workforce through its Next Generation Microelectronics Research Center (NGeM).

In support of the 2022 CHIPS and Science Act and a national focus to revitalize domestic manufacturing and mediate supply chain issues in the U.S., research funding for the lab is provided through a faculty endowment, established through a $1 million gift from the Micron Technology Foundation.

“Strengthening U.S. technology leadership requires talented engineers and technicians with diverse skill sets,” said Scott Deboer, executive vice president of Micron’s Technology and Products organization. “U of I’s College of Engineering is leading the charge in Idaho with world-class undergraduate and graduate education programs and research across the field of microelectronics.”

Launched in 2014, NGeM provides experience for undergraduate and graduate students through research projects funded by Micron, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Defense, among others. Undergraduate and graduate students develop expertise in microelectronic device design, fabrication and packaging, cybersecurity, plant safety, and related technologies, such as semiconductor physics, electrochemistry, corrosion, and applications for the semiconductor industry.

The Micron Endowed Chair in Microelectronics is Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Feng Li. Micron’s establishment of this endowed position provides a permanent revenue source for the laboratory and faculty-mentored research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.

“Thanks to our 40-year partnership with Micron, we have continuous support for research into advanced semiconductor design and manufacturing and one of the strongest foundations for enhancing microelectronics education and workforce training in Idaho,” Li said.

U of I is expanding its microelectronics courses and training programs, with certificate programs coming soon.

Micron last year announced plans to invest $15 billion through the end of the decade, as a result of the CHIPS and Science Act, to build a leading-edge memory manufacturing facility in Boise that will secure U.S. national and economic security. The new fab will require a highly skilled and diverse workforce, increased research investments, and deeper local faculty expertise in semiconductors to support the workforce of the future and ensure semiconductor research, innovation, and manufacturing success in Idaho and the U.S.

Micron’s investment will create over 17,000 Idaho jobs, including 2,000 direct Micron jobs as the cleanroom is built out and production is fully ramped up. As part of the company’s ongoing commitment to the Idaho community and to further grow the workforce, Micron will increase investment in K-12 STEM education programs, build on partnerships with community colleges and universities and identify new ways to provide advanced skills training to underrepresented and rural populations.