ELKHART, Ind. (Feb. 16, 2023) – The Elkhart-Goshen area was named 8th in the nation for semiconductor workforce readiness in a study conducted by workforce data analytics firm Lightcast. The report follows the signing of the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, which aims to bolster American semiconductor research, development, and production.
According to the study, titled “Rebuilding Our Semiconductor Workforce: Making the Most of the CHIPS Act,” 230,000 new employees are needed in the industry to double the current U.S. percentage of global production of semiconductors. The area labor force readiness rankings consider the occupations with the newest demand, the top undersupplied occupations, and the number of similarly skilled workers in an area.
“The data backs up what we’ve known for a long time – the workforce in Elkhart County is skilled, eager to learn and ready for the challenge of this burgeoning industry,” said Chris Stager, President and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County. “An opportunity of this scale is rare, with $280 billion in spending through the Chips and Science Act dedicated to creating high-tech hubs and a highly skilled STEM workforce. We plan to make the most of this opportunity to advance Elkhart County’s robust manufacturing capabilities.”
Semiconductors are microchips made from elements like silicon or compounds such as gallium arsenide. These materials land near the middle on the scale of electrical conductivity, falling between conductors such as metals and insulators like ceramics. Described by the Semiconductor Industry Association as the “brains of modern electronics,” semiconductors are an integral component of technology, playing a role in nearly every facet of life. While semiconductor manufacturing originated in the U.S., today only 12 percent of global production happens in the U.S., dropping from its peak of 37 percent in 1990.
“Chip shortages have revealed our dependence on overseas semiconductor suppliers,” said Alan Seabaugh, the Frank M. Freimann Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, and the director of NDnano, Notre Dame’s Nanoscience and Technology center. “Universities and community colleges in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio are now coordinated to encourage and support the development of semiconductor manufacturing in the Midwest.”
Notre Dame signed a memorandum of understanding last summer to establish the Midwest Regional Network to Address National Needs in Semiconductor and Microelectronics. The network has expanded to include 24 universities and five community colleges with the goal of advancing semiconductor research and innovation, and providing the workforce needed to meet the needs of the semiconductor industry.
The CHIPS and Science Act provides $52.7 billion for semiconductor research, development, manufacturing, and workforce development, including $39 billion in manufacturing incentives. It also provides a 25 percent investment tax credit for capital expenses for manufacturing of semiconductors and related equipment. In addition, the bill requires recipients to show significant investments in their communities and workforce, including opportunities for small businesses and disadvantaged communities, ensuring semiconductor incentives support equitable economic growth and development.
“The CHIPS Act gives American companies an unprecedented opportunity,” said Bethany Hartley, President and CEO of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership. “Estimates from McKinsey show semiconductors will grow into a trillion-dollar industry by the end of the decade. With support from area colleges and universities, including an upcoming semiconductor manufacturing program through Ivy Tech, and the multi-state Midwest Regional Network, I expect this will be an up-and-coming industry for our region.”
The study ranked the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California, MSA top in the nation. Rounding out the top 10 were:
- Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
- Huntsville, AL
- Boulder, CO
- Kalamazoo-Portage, MI
- Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
- Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL
- Elkhart-Goshen, IN
- Reading, PA
- Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI
The full report can be found at www.lightcast.io/resources/research/rebuilding-our-semiconductor-workforce.
About South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership
The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership is a collaboration of economic development partners from 47 smart connected communities in northern Indiana and southwest Michigan. The Regional Partnership focuses on a long-term systemic approach to advance the region’s economy by aligning the efforts of various stakeholders around five key areas: educating a world-class workforce, recruiting, and retaining great talent, attracting and growing new economy companies in complement to our remarkably strong manufacturing industries, promoting inclusion and sparking opportunities for minorities, and helping entrepreneurs thrive. The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership seeks to unify and collaborate so that together, the communities across the region work together to achieve what cannot be done individually. For more information about the Regional Partnership, visit SouthBendElkhart.org.
South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership