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MVCC & Wolfspeed announce apprenticeship program

UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC), along with the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY) have partnered with Wolfspeed to upskill their workforce through a New York State registered apprenticeship program.

“In 2015, we received some funding to develop a workforce for the microelectronics industry,” explained Tim Thomas, Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs at MVCC.

He continued, “Specifically, at that point, it was the Indium Corporation and Global Foundries out in Malta, and we developed an eight-month mechatronic certificate program and used some of the seed funding to build out this facility, which includes our mechanical systems lab and our mechatronic systems trainer.”

Now, Mohawk Valley Community College will use this state-of-the-art facility to provide the required related technical instruction; expanding on the existing work already being conducted by Wolfspeed.

This will also help in addressing the national labor shortage and will help to tackle the projected four million manufacturing jobs that will need to be filled by 2030.

“With the existing labor force crisis of two open positions for every one person who’s looking for the job, and at the same time, economic development happening locally for the first time in decades – we’ve reached an impetus where companies and workforce development organizations like us, and manufacturing associations like the Manufacturing Association of Central New York, have to become much more strategic about developing the workforce for a specific end goal,” said Thomas.

“So, for example, Wolfspeed – the brand new fab in Marcy – has a need for a highly skilled workforce, and they recognize that in order to develop that workforce in a timeline that meets their needs, they had to move forward with an apprenticeship program.”

But what exactly does the apprenticeship entail?

“At its core, apprenticeship is a learn-and-earn model,” said Thomas, “Which means that the people are employees of Wolfspeed, they get paid from day one, they get benefits from day one, and then they get training provided by Mohawk Valley Community College that can be applied toward a degree, and is aligned with the internal career ladders at Wolfspeed.

Thomas says this is just another step in making Central New York the top semiconductor manufacturing hub in the country.

“I think what you’re seeing here is – we’re creating this ecosystem where all of us locally are willing to partner with one another in order to create the positive sum game that’s required to develop a workforce that can then drive more economic development locally,” he concluded.

So, if this apprenticeship seems like something you might be interested in, you can go to mvcc.edu to learn more.