Success Story: GlobalFoundries Trains More Maintenance Techs with Nationally Unique Apprenticeship Program Sponsored by CEG
GlobalFoundries is one of the world’s leading computer chip manufacturers. It has more than 3,000 employees at its most advanced semiconductor facility, dubbed Fab 8, in Malta, New York. Crucial to the 24-7 operation of this 300mm, leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing facility are maintenance technicians, whose duties include monitoring, sustaining, and improving the equipment and/or processes. Their work, mostly in cleanroom environments, includes performing preventive, corrective maintenance on semiconductor equipment as well as monitoring, controlling, and testing it for manufacturing readiness.
GlobalFoundries employs many maintenance technicians of varying skill levels at Fab 8. To meet the demand for these skilled workers, the manufacturer relied on a talent pipeline consisting of students graduating with associate’s degrees in fields such as electrical engineering or mechatronics. Service members leaving the military for civilian careers are another major talent pipeline for the company.
Wanting to broaden its talent pipeline for maintenance technicians, GlobalFoundries launched a first-of-its-kind apprenticeship program for the semiconductor manufacturing industry. To create this Maintenance Technician Apprenticeship Program, GlobalFoundries partnered with the Center for Economic Grow (CEG), Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC), the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY) and SEMI, the end-to-end electronics design and manufacturing industry’s representative association.
“It widens the pool of candidates to people who don’t have prior experience. The only requirement is they have a high school diploma and mechanical interest,” said Tara McCaughey, GlobalFoundries’ U.S. fab workforce planning and development lead.
In January 2021, GlobalFoundries began internally registering employees in SEMI’s Industry Approved Apprenticeship Program (IAAP), and the program was later opened to non-employees. For the program, maintenance technician apprentices undergo 2,700 hours of paid on-the-job training over about 16 to 24 months, with all work hours counting towards that goal. They also receive related instruction from HVCC online as well as in-person lab work at HVCC’s satellite campus in Malta, near Fab 8.
CEG serves as a group sponsor for this New York State-registered apprenticeship. That means CEG works as an intermediary with the New York State Department of Labor on behalf of GlobalFoundries and the apprenticeship program. Workforce Development Director Christine McLear manages the program’s records and reporting and coordinating required coursework.
The apprenticeship program has provided GlobalFoundries with assistance monetarily through the SUNY Apprenticeship Program (SAP), New York Colleges Apprenticeship Network (NYCAN), and the Apprenticeship Expansion Grant (AEG 2) to help support the related instruction needs of apprentices at their companies.
In July 2022, GlobalFoundries had two apprentices successfully complete their apprenticeship on-the-job training and related instruction to earn their journey worker cards. Apprentices Shameer Ally and Tyler Mahoney are the two first successful apprentices at a semiconductor and at Global Foundries.
GlobalFoundries currently has 57 open and ongoing apprenticeships in the program. The manufacturer is preparing to establish another apprenticeship program registered with the Vermont Department of Labor for its Burlington, Vermont chip fab.
“The apprenticeship program is a pathway to a more diverse applicant pool,” said McCaughey.
For more information about CEG’s apprenticeship programs, contact CEG Workforce Development Director Christine McLear at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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