CHIPS for America and the U.S. Department of Labor’s VETS Program host a Veterans Workforce Outreach Event at Norfolk State University

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s CHIPS for America Program and the U.S. Department of Labor’s VETS Program will visit Norfolk State University on Wednesday, July 10, 2024, to showcase veterans workforce training activities delivered through NSU’s Nanomanufacturing Certificate Program (NCP). NCP helps equip military veterans, as well as transitioning military personnel, with skills in nanotechnology-based manufacturing and new product development—skills companies need to move life-changing nano-scale applications out of the laboratory and into the marketplace. NCP is an approved U.S. Veterans Administration SkillBridge that features a 12-week short course for veterans seeking to compete for semiconductor industry jobs. The Program is offered in collaboration with Tidewater Community College and Pennsylvania State University and is critical to the national CHIPS for America effort to build a workforce of more than 90,000 skilled semiconductor technicians.

The CHIPS for America Program was made possible by the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 that provides the U.S. Department of Commerce with $50 billion for a suite of programs to strengthen and revitalize the U.S. position in semiconductor research, development, and manufacturing—while also investing in American workers.

“To unlock the full potential of the U.S. semiconductor industry, we need to get more veterans into the semiconductor workforce,” said Karen Owens, Senior Policy Advisor, CHIPS for America. “We firmly believe that the semiconductor industry cannot succeed unless it is diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible to all Americans to be a part of this unprecedented mission.”

In partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor’s VETS program, which enables all veterans, service members, and military spouses to reach their full potential in the workplace, CHIPS for America is launching a six-state strategy to reach veterans in America’s semiconductor geographic hubs by leveraging the services offered via the Department of Labor’s American Job Centers. The U.S. Department of Labor funds the Hampton Roads Workforce Council’s efforts to assist businesses in accessing qualified workers and job seekers in search of suitable job openings and training — which includes a focus on veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses.

“We are proud to partner with the Department of Commerce’s CHIPS for America Team to establish training and employment pathways into the semiconductor nanotechnology industry for our military community,” said Margarita Devlin, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Operations and Management, Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service. “We are honored to highlight Norfolk State University and the Hampton Roads Workforce Council Veteran Employment Center’s efforts in bringing this program to life. It is an excellent example of how interagency collaboration can have a powerful impact not only within a local community, but throughout the nation’s economy.”

Speakers for the event will include Javaune Adams-Gaston, Ph.D., Norfolk State University President; Margarita Devlin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Operations and Management; Morgan Dwyer, Ph.D., CHIPS Chief Strategy Officer, The Hampton Roads Veterans Employment Centers Workforce Council; and veterans who participated in Norfolk State University’s program. The event will also include a tour of NSU’s cleanroom and training facilities.

Dr. DoVeanna Fulton, NSU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, welcomes CHIPS for America and the U.S. Department of Labor’s VETS Program to the NSU campus saying that the CHIPS for America Act is crucial for maintaining and advancing the United States’ leadership in semiconductor manufacturing. “Equally important is the investment in nanomanufacturing workforce education, which is essential to develop a skilled labor force capable of operating and advancing nextgeneration manufacturing technologies,” she said.

NSU is a member of the Virginia Alliance for Semiconductor Technology (VAST), a consortium that includes more than 35,000 square feet of shared semiconductor fabrication facilities, serves more than 150 faculty research groups, and trains more than 600 students. VAST upskills 300 veterans and adult learners annually through the Fast Track to Semiconductor Careers Certificate Program.

“By prioritizing education and training in this high-tech field,” said Dr. Fulton, “Norfolk State University graduates skilled professionals, many of whom are veterans, who contribute to a steady pipeline of talent, supporting the industry’s growth and maintaining its global leadership in semiconductor technology.”