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Ohio State and Columbus State to take part in Midwest semiconductor research network

John Kovacich

Having a computer chip manufacturing workforce ready to go, is what Midwest colleges and universities are banking on to attract an increasing number of semiconductor companies. A dozen schools, including the Ohio State University and Columbus State Community College, are joining forces to ramp up specialized training.

The Midwest Regional Network, with schools in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, aims to address a global computer chip shortage, and according to University of Cincinnati President Neville Pinto, “The urgency has never been greater.”

“This announcement is a game changer,” says University of Cincinnati Chief Innovation Officer David Adams. “This highly innovative approach illustrates that we’re all in this together when it comes to meeting industry workforce and research needs.”

Participating Schools:

  • Ohio State University
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Michigan State University
  • Purdue University
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Dayton
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Wright State University
  • Columbus State Community College
  • Lorain County Community College
  • Sinclair Community College

One place schools will be sending graduates is Intel. The company announced earlier this year it would spend $20 billion to build chip factories in Central Ohio, requiring 10,000 workers in various phases. The development would be the largest in Ohio history.

Intel has been waiting for passage of the CHIPS Act to determine if and when the company would expand to full scale on the site. President Biden is expected to sign the legislation this week.

The bill provides $52 billion in subsidies for U.S. chip manufacturing and research. It’s goal is to alleviate a shortage that has affected everything from appliances to video games to cars. Monday, chip makers and car manufacturers met with government officials behind closed doors to discuss the administration’s plans to help alleviate the chip shortage.

The Midwest thinks it can plan a key role in jumpstarting the manufacturing process. Adams says this is an opportunity to come together as a state and heartland, "and really be intentional about this ecosystem. And I think that’s going to be a beacon to companies that are looking for locations to further develop in this very rapidly growing space.”

Another semiconductor chip manufacturer has chosen the Midwest; Skywater Technology announced it will locate at Purdue.
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With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.