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Episode 52: The Chip Challenge with Tara McCaughey of GlobalFoundries

Steve sits down with Tara McCaughey, the US Fab Workforce Planning & Development Lead at GlobalFoundries in Malta, NY. They discuss the chip shortage, the future of the semiconductor industry, and how GlobalFoundries is creating entry points at all levels of career paths.

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Transcript:

Steve Melito: Hey, welcome to New York State Manufacturing Now, the podcast that’s powered by FuzeHub. I’m your host, Steve Melito. Today, we’re talking to Tara McCaughey, the workforce development lead at GlobalFoundries in Malta, New York. We’ll be talking about GlobalFoundries, of course, but we’ll also be talking more broadly about the semiconductor industry, something that’s been in the news a lot lately. First because of the chip shortages, and now because of the CHIPS and Science Act, which is designed to help American semiconductor research, development, and production. So Tara, welcome to the podcast.

Tara McCaughey: Thanks for having me, Steve. Great to be here.

Steve Melito: Fantastic. So tell us, what is the hiring outlook for the semiconductor industry?

Tara McCaughey: It’s really strong. With the passing of the CHIPS and Science Act and the New York Green CHIPS legislation, there’s going to be long- term demand for semiconductor talent. In fact, it’s estimated that there’s going to be 42, 000 new positions created over the next five years nationwide. At GlobalFoundries, we plan to build an additional facility here in Malta, New York. And that’s going to add an additional 1, 000 new jobs over the next five years. That’ll be a combination of technician and engineering roles with the majority being technicians in fact.

Steve Melito: That’s a lot of jobs. That’s fantastic news. So what kind of skills does someone need to enter the semiconductor industry?

Tara McCaughey: The great thing about GlobalFoundries is that we’ve created many pathways into our industry. Whether you have a high school diploma or equivalent, a community college degree, a bachelor’s, master’s or PhD, and additionally, military veterans are great pathways into our industry, you can make a great career here.

Steve Melito: So lots of opportunities. And then once you’re in the semiconductor industry, what is career growth like? Where can you go?

Tara McCaughey: Career growth is really strong. It’s really unlimited. You can follow a lot of different pathways. We have great learning and development organization where you can grow your career right here within our industry. So in addition to on- the- job training, we have leadership development courses, a multitude of ways to learn through online learning, networking, mentoring, cross- departmental projects, and involvement in our great employee resource groups.

Steve Melito: Excellent. So we know a little bit about some of the challenges that the semiconductor industry faces today and certainly just in the last couple of years. But what are the challenges you think it’s going to face in the next 10 years, the next decade?

Tara McCaughey: The challenge is going to be talent. As a country, we need more students entering engineering and science fields in both the two- year and the four- year and graduate schools, so that the US can regain its position as a major manufacturer of semiconductors.

Steve Melito: And I think we’d all look forward to that. So what else would you like people to know about the manufacturing of semiconductors?

Tara McCaughey: Well, semiconductors are pervasive. Many people don’t realize the enormous impact these tiny chips have on our everyday lives. Everybody knows about the chips in their smartphones, but they’re also in our cars, in medical devices, in data centers, 5G, all the connected things in our homes. So it’s vital to the economic growth of our country and vital even to our national security to have these chips made in the US.

Steve Melito: Absolutely. So we’re living through a period of time that people call the Great Resignation in terms of workforce issues. And there’s probably some people who are listening that are looking for a new job. So what are some open positions that you have available at GlobalFoundries right now?

Tara McCaughey: We have 300 open positions at our Malta, New York location, and that includes process engineers, equipment engineers, and technicians in all of our manufacturing modules.

Steve Melito: That’s great. Hey, one last question. How does somebody apply? Do they go to a website? Or what’s the best way to do it? It’s not like it used to be where you open up the newspaper on a Sunday and hunt through the print.

Tara McCaughey: Right. It’s going to be gf. com/ careers. And what you’re going to see is a variety of different types of positions to apply to. I wanted to also tell you about our apprenticeship program. Our apprenticeship program was designed for people with a high school diploma or equivalent who really like working with their hands. So those hands- on mechanical, electrical skills are really important in our industry to keep the equipment running smoothly. And we have a specific apprenticeship program that allows people to enter into the semiconductor industry with no previous experience. And so when they come in here, it’s an 18 to 24 month program. They’re learning on- the- job, getting… It’s a paid full- time position, and incorporated within that is four community college courses that are paid for through a grant. So you’re getting paid to learn, and your college courses are covered. We have partnered with Hudson Valley Community College on those courses. They’re a great partner for us. And this really is a nice, structured program that people really like because it gets them on a path. If they want to continue their community college degree, they’re a quarter of the way through by the time they finish the apprenticeship. And speaking of that, as they finish that apprenticeship, they’re promoted to the next level technician. There’s pay increases incorporated throughout that program as well as at the end. They’re promoted, and they get a journey worker’s card. So it’s a really great program. We’re very excited about it. It’s going to be a great pipeline to grow our own technician talent to help us within those next several years as we build our new fab.

Steve Melito: Beautiful. Did I hear you correctly that you get paid as you learn?

Tara McCaughey: Absolutely. It’s that learn and earn model. I also wanted to let everybody know that GlobalFoundries has a tuition reimbursement program. And we will reimburse up to $5, 250 per calendar year, which is the IRS max before they will tax that. But that can be used towards an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, a graduate degree, for a degree that is relevant to your current or future job. So if you’re in our apprenticeship program and you want to continue on with your degree, you’re going to be able to get that paid for. It’s a great model.

Steve Melito: Fantastic. So some key points for everybody. Look, there are going to be lots of job openings at GlobalFoundries in Malta. There are already job openings there and some tremendous opportunities for career growth. Hey Tara, what are some good high school programs for going into semiconductors?

Tara McCaughey: We look for students coming out of career and technical education programs, and the P- TECH programs are also great. Programs that are advanced manufacturing, automotive, anything that is hands- on and mechanical is a really great feeder into our industry. And we also look for people coming out of community college degree programs, like electrical engineering technology, mechatronics, automotive. Again, anything that has hands- on mechanical components, those are really great pipelines right into our industry and to a great job.

Steve Melito: Great. So community colleges and high schools in New York State, those would be the BOCES High Schools, correct?

Tara McCaughey: Correct.

Steve Melito: Okay, great. Anything else you’d like to add?

Tara McCaughey: Sure. People often wonder what kind of engineering degrees that they should go into, and we want people to know that it’s really almost everything. I’ve heard one of my colleagues compare the semiconductor industry to NASA. It’s one of the few industries that really integrates all of the different types of engineering. So we look for electrical, chemical, mechanical, industrial, material science and physics. And really, we even have aeronautical and biomedical engineers that end up working here because it is so integrative and collaborative.

Steve Melito: And when you think about here, Malta is a pretty nice place, right? It’s a nice area, great part of the state to live in and also work in.

Tara McCaughey: It really is. You’re close to Saratoga Springs, the racetrack, and SPAC. You’re close to Albany. You’re just a three- hour drive from New York City, from Boston, from Montreal. It’s a really great central location with a lot of outdoor activities. Great place for families. Great place for schools. The schools are very strong here in Upstate New York. So it’s very attractive place to work and be.

Steve Melito: For sure. Hey Tara, you mentioned earlier about military veterans. What are the hiring prospects like for them at GlobalFoundries?

Tara McCaughey: Military veterans have great transferrable skills into our industry. They bring technical skills, they bring decision- making skills, communication and leadership. And we’re working closely with partners like the SEMI VET STEP Program, which is a skill bridge program, the Army PaYS Program, and most recently, Penn State, the Center for Nanotechnology is creating a microelectronics and nanomanufacturing for Veterans Consortium. So a lot of ways for people to learn about the semiconductor industry as they transition into a civilian career.

Steve Melito: Hey Tara, thank you so much for being on New York State Manufacturing Now.

Tara McCaughey: Thank you, Steve. It’s been a pleasure.

Steve Melito: So we’ve been talking to Tara McCaughey of GlobalFoundries in Malta, New York about the semiconductor industry. Hey, semiconductors are used in all kinds of technologies, including trains and airplanes. If you’re a part of the transportation industry or if you want to do business with transportation industry leaders, FuzeHub would like to invite you to an upcoming event. It’s called New York State Keeps the World Moving, and it’s scheduled for September 28th in Corning, New York. If you’re a Tier I or a Tier II player, this is your chance to meet small to medium manufacturers in New York State who can help you to shorten your supply chain. If your company is farther down that supply chain, you’re invited, too. This is your big chance to meet with those Tier I and Tier II players that you want to do business with. No matter how you look at it, it’s a win- win situation. If you’d like to learn more, go to fuzehub. com/ manufacturing- forum- nys- keeps- the- world- moving. And if you didn’t get that link, don’t worry, just email [email protected] fuzehub.com and let us know you’re interested. On behalf of FuzeHub and New York State Manufacturing Now, this is Steve Melito signing off.

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