Major Focus on Expanding Workforce in Semiconductor and Nanotechnology
January 4, 2021 – Hanover, Maryland – The National Institute for Innovation and Technology (NIIT) has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of Labor to expand the use of Registered Apprenticeships to provide better access to careers in strategic supply chains for all workers, especially underrepresented populations.
The funding, approximately $2.4 million per year over 4 years for a total of up to $9.5 million, will be used to scale the NIIT’s GAINS program (Growing Apprenticeships In Nanotechnology and Semiconductors), designed to expand the use of Registered Apprenticeships in related industries. The only program of its type in the nation targeting the semiconductor and nanotechnology sectors, the GAINS program is part of the NIIT’s National Talent Pipeline Development Initiative. Under the Initiative and with funding support from the NSF-ATE program, the NIIT is developing a nationally integrated infrastructure to attract, train and connect individuals with careers in industries tied to national security and global competitiveness.
The GAINS program will build upon the NIIT’s successful model piloted in 2021 in New York in partnership with the MACNY, The Manufacturers Association of Central New York, The Manufacturers Alliance Intermediary Apprenticeship Program (MIAP) and JFF’s Center for Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning. The national program partners working with the NIIT to facilitate the GAINS program include Maher & Maher, an affiliate of the American Institutes for Research (AIR), the MACNY, and Credential Engine.
“The NIIT’s mission is to ensure strategic industry sectors in the U.S. have what they need to prosper, innovate and develop the talent pipeline is a top priority,” said Mike Russo, President and CEO of the NIIT. “Our National Talent Hub and its state-of-the-art competency-based system leverages advanced data analytics to connect jobseekers, employers and training providers and more efficiently target training. Applying our infrastructure to expand the use of Registered Apprenticeships to support strategic industry sectors where they are currently underutilized provides a great opportunity to broaden the talent pipeline and improve access to currently underserved populations.”
“We look forward to being a part of the GAINS program through our partnership with the NIIT,” said Beth Brinly, Vice President at Maher & Maher. “We have been working for over a decade to expand Registered Apprenticeships as an evidence-based solution for talent development and the opening of new career pathways for diverse workers. We are excited about this effort to develop the workforce needed for strategic supply chain sectors.”
“Collaborating with the NIIT to engage the semiconductor industry has proven to be effective,” said Randy Wolken, President of The Manufacturer’s Alliance/MACNY. “The NIIT brings the industry expertise, its competency-based vs. hours-based approach and Talent Hub infrastructure needed to effectively implement Registered Apprenticeships in what has been a challenging sector to engage. There is no other entity focused on the sector with the expertise and existing systems that the NIIT brings to the table, and we are looking forward to continuing to work with the Institute to help scale the GAINS program nationally.”
“Leveraging our ability to help identify and align credentials and certificates with target industry requirements in the NIIT National Talent Hub in support of expanding Registered Apprenticeship Programs provides a great opportunity to advance credential transparency,” said Scott Cheney, CEO of Credential Engine. “We look forward to our work with the NIIT and in helping to improve access to careers in the semiconductor and nanotech sectors by helping individuals get the most out of the opportunities they have and will acquire over time.”
Ross Bernston, President and COO for The Indium Corporation, who is the latest employer to initiate a Registered Apprenticeship in partnership with the NIIT said: “Through registered apprenticeships, Indium Corporation gains a credentialed program that leverages the strengths of our supervisors and subject matter experts, our local colleges, and organizations such as the NIIT and the MACNY,” said. “By working with the NIIT and the MACNY led partnership, we were able to design a program so that apprentices more effectively advance in their current positions and meet the rapidly emerging needs of the advanced manufacturing industry, especially semiconductors.”
The National Institute for Innovation and Technology is a Maryland Tax-Exempt Nonstock Corporation established for the public benefit with a mission to identify roadblocks to innovation in strategic industry sectors and ensure they are eliminated.