Originally published on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) website with the help of New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NY MEP)
Wolfspeed Inc. is a developer of wide bandgap semiconductors, focused on silicon carbide and gallium nitride materials and devices for power and radio frequency applications such as transportation, power supplies, power inverters, and wireless systems. The company, formally known as Cree, was founded in Durham, North Carolina and is currently in the process of finishing up construction on their silicone carbide facility in Marcy, New York.
Once Wolfspeed completes the new facility, the next step is to hire highly-skilled employees to operate it. The skills necessary to operate the plant are very specific to this facility and the type of equipment used. The challenge is that there are very few potential employees that currently have the specific skills needed and there is a strong demand to hire approximately 600 employees in the first five years of operation. The semiconductor and micro-electronics industry are new to the Mohawk Valley Region, and it is extremely important to build the local workforce that can support Wolfspeed and the entire industry.
Mohawk Valley Community College workshops for Wolfspeed Equipment Technicians develops core skills contributing to a successful workforce. The location of the college in the Mohawk Valley, benefits students and Wolfspeed to offer opportunities and contribute to the community.
AIM, a component of Mohawk Valley Community College, which is part of the New York MEP and the MEP National Network™, used its 75-year history as a technical college to connect resources and local expertise to develop a customized training program that is recurring as Wolfspeed hires new employees and as they open the doors to the new chip fabrication facility.
The 10-day, 13-module “hands on” training program was launched in the fall of 2021 and continues to be provided on demand as Wolfspeed grows in the Mohawk Valley Region. The class participants will acquire a learned skill that enables them to operate, troubleshoot, and problem solve electrical systems, mechanical systems, tooling and calibration, helium lead detection equipment, and vacuum systems. All these key skills are required to work in the micro-electronics industry.