PCC, partners celebrate the CHIPS and Science Act’s one-year anniversary

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Semiconductor partners took a tour of OMSI's planned development

Semiconductor partners took a tour of OMSI’s planned development.

Today, partners gathered at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the CHIPS and Science Act, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at bolstering the semiconductor industry and advanced manufacturing. The event also showcased Portland Community College’s exceptional training programs and pathways to degree completion in the field.

Among the notable attendees were PCC President Adrien Bennings, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, and State Representative Janelle Bynum. The event, which was hosted by OMSI President Erin Graham, also welcomed industry leaders such as Scott Clark, OMSI Treasurer and Co-founder of SigOpt; and Fred Bailey, Corporate Vice President of Manufacturing for Analog Devices.

semiconductor training.

The Strategic Plan: Workforce

The 2020-2025 Strategic Plan prepares the college for the future of higher education. Part of the plan is responding to community and workforce needs by developing a culture of agility. A big part of this effort is the college’s semiconductor and advanced manufacturing career and academic training pathway, which offers diverse options for certificate and degree completion.

Learn more about the programs

“Because of your work, we have an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen Oregon’s semiconductor workforce and industry,” said Dr. Bennings during the press event. “We’re also fortunate to have so many amazing partners here today. Thank you Congresswoman Bonamici, a champion for PCC, and Representative Bynum for being here. And of course our host OMSI, who has been a longtime partner whose work has helped to grow interest in STEM careers for so many Oregonians.”

PCC Critical to Semiconductor Training

PCC, Oregon’s largest post-secondary institution, plays a vital role in shaping the state’s workforce. The college serves over 50,000 students annually, with a strong commitment to diversity. One-third of the student body are people of color, and it is an emerging Hispanic Serving Institution.

Equitable student access and success remain at the forefront of PCC’s mission. The college actively engages in outreach and support for underrepresented populations, providing program advisors to guide students towards their desired career paths and connecting them with essential wraparound services for success.

The college’s semiconductor and advanced manufacturing career and academic pathway offers diverse options for certificate and degree attainment. The journey begins with career exposure, dual credit opportunities at high schools, and valuable internships. From there, students can pursue short-term workforce training certificates, a one-year certificate in Mechatronics, and a two-year Career Technical Associates Degree.

These credentials open doors to well-paying jobs, with nearly half of the semiconductor industry jobs requiring such qualifications. Graduates from PCC’s Microelectronics program have experienced an impressive hiring rate close to 100%, with industry leaders like Intel, Maxim Integrated, and Qorvo among the top employers hiring them.

Quick Start student graduation

The Intel Quick Start Program recently celebrated its first all-female cohort at Willow Creek.

Quick Start Initiative Changing Lives

One standout program is the Quick Start initiative, a successful public-private partnership with Intel, Worksystems, and the City of Hillsboro. The program offers a two-week training session, providing students with a $500 weekly stipend. Upon completion, students are guaranteed an interview for an entry-level position and offered a $1,000 scholarship for further education.

These innovative onramp programs generate excitement about career possibilities and expand opportunities for historically underrepresented students. The Quick Start program alone received over 1,000 applications, and its 11th cohort was all-female.

Recognizing the importance of collective efforts, PCC has actively engaged in local, statewide, and national conversations to support and grow the semiconductor industry. Their collaboration with Senator Wyden’s CHIPS Act, Congresswoman Bonamici’s Community Project for semiconductor workforce training, and Representative Bynum’s Oregon semiconductor bill has drawn national attention, with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo praising their exceptional work during her visit in April.

The CHIPS and Science Act anniversary celebration at OMSI served as a testament to the success of collaborative efforts in promoting advanced manufacturing and empowering students to embark on prosperous career paths. As PCC continues to champion equitable education and industry partnerships, the future of Oregon’s semiconductor sector looks brighter than ever.

“Thank you all for your partnership,” Dr. Bennings said to the gathered partners and media. “We cannot do the work of educating and training the future workforce alone.”

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, is the Director of Public Relations at Portland Community College. A graduate of Portland State University, James has worked as a section editor for the Newberg Graphic... more »