Delta president aims to help ALICE population enter semiconductor workforce

State, university leaders excited about new ‘Semiconductor Talent Action Team’

Delta College President Michael Gavin said the college intends to work with area high schools and the ALICE population in an effort to increase the semiconductor industry workforce.

Gavin was one of several college and university presidents who joined Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and business leaders Wednesday in announcing the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s new Semiconductor Talent Action Team, a public-private alliance.

“(Developing) the semiconductor workforce is part of reimagining what the Great Lakes Bay Region can be,” Gavin said while speaking for about five minutes during a 45-minute Zoom news conference.

Gavin said Delta is fortunate to have partnerships with nearby Hemlock Semiconductor and with SK Siltron CSS, which last September opened a semiconductor wafer plant in Monitor Township about two miles north of Delta’s main campus, the company’s second plant in Bay County.

Like many of the other speakers, Gavin said increasing Michigan’s population goes hand in hand with expanding the semiconductor industry in the state. 

“We need to poise ourselves for an increased workforce. We at Delta are reenvisioning the curriculum and the faculty roles. Our programs need to be retailored to train semiconductor technicians.”

Part of establishing a trained workforce for the semiconductor industry, Gavin said, is connecting with populations that have traditionally been overlooked.

“Our service area has a significant number of low-income, low-skilled individuals,” he said. “We are looking at (connecting with the) ALICE population. Our dual enrollment partners are looking at creating pathways from high schools to the semiconductor industry.”