Maricopa Community Colleges Interim Chancellor Dr. Steven R. Gonzales Gives Keynote at the Greater Phoenix Chamber Workforce Summit
Aug, 30 2022
Today, Dr. Steven R. Gonzales, Interim Chancellor of the Maricopa Community Colleges, gave the keynote address to a room full of respected industry leaders and workforce development enthusiasts at the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation Workforce Summit. The Summit highlighted the innovative programs that the Maricopa Community Colleges are developing in partnership with industry to fill labor gaps and amplify job placement while advancing Maricopa students in the highest need workforce areas.
“Maricopa County’s population grew larger than every other county in the nation last year. This includes a long list of new employers and industry sectors,” stated Dr. Gonzales. “Arizona has seen an enormous increase in semiconductor manufacturers, battery manufacturers, electric vehicle producers, as well as the suppliers that feed these employers. Recognizing this influx of new and growing industries in Arizona, the Maricopa Community Colleges quickly adapted with out-of-the-box ideas to meet this extensive workforce need.”
Earlier this year, the Maricopa Community Colleges announced the establishment of the new Semiconductor Technician Quick Start, a two-week bootcamp-style program to expedite workforce development to becoming a Semiconductor Manufacturing Technician. Students of the program will earn three college credit hours and are able to immediately apply to work in the semiconductor fabrication sites with salaries starting at $22 to $25 an hour.
“This is a groundbreaking innovation between community colleges and industry to meet our shared goals around workforce development – something we are extremely proud of in the Maricopa County Community Colleges,” stated Marie Sullivan, Governing Board President of the Maricopa Community Colleges. “We learned that associate, bachelor, and graduate degrees are very important for this workforce, but waiting for these will not be able to keep up with this immense workforce need. By developing this quick start technician model, we are able to expediently grow the entry-level pipeline.” She continued, “We know our work is not done, and we cannot just stop at these technicians. We need to ensure that we are professionally advancing this technician workforce, furthering employment and wage opportunities for our communities by offering continuous education and upskilling to these individuals."
Arizona is home to two of the three largest semiconductor manufacturing companies in the world. Welcoming the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) who is currently developing a $12 billion fabrication site in North Phoenix, and Intel’s expansion of their plant in Chandler which is estimated to add 3,000 additional manufacturing jobs. Last year, Forbes named Arizona the United States Semiconductor Central.
The Semiconductor Technician Quick Start model is garnering statewide as well as national attention and recognition. In May, U.S. Senator Mark Kelly visited Estrella Mountain Community College to tour the equipment, labs, and classrooms to learn more about the Semiconductor Technician Quick Start at the college. In March, Dr. Jill Biden, First Lady of the United States, visited the Intel semiconductor fabrication plant in Chandler. Dr. Steven R. Gonzales, Interim Chancellor of the Maricopa Community Colleges, briefed the First Lady about Maricopa’s Semiconductor Technician Quick Start program.
Dr. Gonzales stated, “In an ultra-competitive postsecondary world, the Maricopa Community Colleges are leading the charge working directly with industry to develop pathways that expeditiously meet their skilled workforce needs. This shift in fast-track programs meets the personal and professional interests of college-goers who are oftentimes in search of timely reskilling and upskilling opportunities to get them into the workforce making a livable wage. Next time employers need workforce development support, we ask them to come to the Maricopa Community Colleges first, as the state’s top quality, flexible, and most affordable workforce development provider.”