Carson Rivard, a doctoral student in electrical and computer engineering, is using a thermal evaporator in the Oregon State University cleanroom to deposit a thin film of aluminum. The cleanroom serves as a teaching laboratory as well as a research facili

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has become a founding member of a university-industry collective tasked with developing the United States’ next generation of semiconductor workers.

The Northwest University Semiconductor Network, led by Micron Technology, Inc., will support research and experiential learning opportunities in the computer chip industry, with equitable access for underrepresented students, including those in rural and tribal communities.

Micron and the universities in the network plan to align with a pair of industry groups, the American Semiconductor Academy and the SEMI Foundation, that are partnering on an initiative to build a comprehensive workforce development program through the combined efforts of universities, community colleges and companies.

“Oregon State University is proud to be a founding member of Micron’s Northwest University Semiconductor Network and is committed to work with other regional universities and Micron to fully serve the technical needs and demands of the semiconductor industry and expand STEM access to underrepresented rural and urban students, including women,” said OSU President Jayathi Murthy. “The university has joined with more than 200 universities and community colleges nationally and over 1,000 companies which are committed to advance the semiconductor workforce supply and research innovation.”

Oregon State and the other 12 founding partners of the university semiconductor network were identified based on strong undergraduate and graduate programs in engineering and other STEM fields, their research and development expertise and the hands-on learning opportunities they provide.

OSU has made contributing to the stability and growth of the semiconductor industry a university priority. Last month, OSU was picked to lead a $1 million National Science Foundation project to advance semiconductor technologies in the Pacific Northwest.

And on Sunday, the Oregon Legislature awarded Oregon State $72 million in state bonds to assist in the construction of a $213 million research and teaching facility that will serve as center of innovation and teaching in technology areas such as semiconductor design and fabrication.

“As a member of the network, OSU will create certificate and degree pathways to build a deep, inclusive and robust talent pipeline to serve the needs of the semiconductor industry and lead an innovation engine that will drive economic growth in the region through research in use-inspired and sustainable semiconductor technologies,” said Pallavi Dhagat, professor of electrical engineering and computer science in the OSU College of Engineering.

Collectively the six-state network, which includes Portland State University and six Pac-12 Conference schools, features teaching labs and cleanrooms, programs that connect with community colleges, and an emphasis on diversity programs designed to advance equitable access to an engineering education.

In addition to OSU and Portland State, the founding institutions are the universities of Oregon, Washington and Utah; Washington State, Idaho State, Boise State, Montana State and San Jose State; the University of California, Berkeley; and the University of California, Davis.

“Partnerships between institutions of higher education, government and industry leaders like Micron are critical so that together, we can build an inclusive and robust talent pipeline equipped with the high-tech skills that will advance U.S. technology innovation and leadership,” said April Arnzen, Micron senior vice president and chief people officer. “Micron is proud to be expanding our university partnership model through the U.S., leveraging the regional proximity to our leading research and development center in Boise and reaching students that have been traditionally underrepresented in the semiconductor industry, including rural and tribal communities in the Northwest.”

General OSU

About Oregon State University: As one of only three land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the nation, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 36,000 students come from across the globe, and our programs operate in every Oregon county. Oregon State receives more research funding than all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined. At our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, marine research center in Newport, OSU Portland Center and award-winning Ecampus, we excel at shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.

Story By: 

Steve Lundeberg, 541-737-4039
[email protected]


Pallavi Dhagat, 541-737-9927
[email protected]


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