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GlobalFoundries hiring as semiconductor chip demand grows

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The semiconductor sector sees a shortage of workers

The semiconductor industry is recruiting workers in a tight labor market as competition for talent increases and funding from the CHIPS and Science Act designed to boost domestic manufacturing continues to roll out.

It is also seeing a projected shortfall of up to one million workers in the broader US economy by 2030 as generative artificial intelligence adds fuel to the in-demand sector.

The U.S. chip industry is expected to face a shortage of 67,000 technicians, computer scientists and engineers by 2030, while the broader U.S. economy will have a gap of 1.4 million such workers, according to a 2023 study by the Association of Semiconductor Industry.

A separate study by Deloitte found that the talent crunch in the semiconductor space could worsen due to the global economic environment and ongoing supply chain issues.

A wafer separator inside the GlobalFoundries semiconductor manufacturing facility in Malta, New York, on June 18, 2024.

Cindy Schultz | Bloomberg | Getty Images

GlobalFoundries, the world’s third-largest chip maker, is casting a wide net to recruit talent. The company has sought veteran candidates, along with candidates from its workforce re-entry program and a women in construction initiative.

The company creates chips for everyday products, from electronics and phones to cars, in addition to aerospace and defense components. Major clients include General Motors AND Lockheed Martin.

In 2021, the company launched the industry’s first registered internship program, which is full-time and paid with benefits, with training at no cost to the intern. Completes in two years or less, and requires only a high school diploma or equivalent and interest in the field of mechanics. About 50 apprentices have gone through the program so far, the company said. It has recruited graduates with technical associate degrees from regional community colleges and veterans transitioning out of the military for the program.

GlobalFoundries is working to fill hundreds of roles at a time around the world and hires thousands a year, a pace it expects to continue, chief people officer Pradheepa Raman said in an interview with CNBC. Raman said keeping the workforce the same size is “not an option” for the industry as demand grows. Needs range from technicians to product managers and corporate roles.

“That’s why we’re very, very aggressive when it comes to our workforce development efforts,” Raman said. “And if you’re not getting traditional talent, [the solution is] Cross-training talent, identifying alternative talent pools, people doing things in different fields, showing them that this is a very welcoming pool of opportunities that exists within the semiconductor industry, is our approach.”

The GlobalFoundries semiconductor manufacturing facility in Malta, New York, on June 18, 2024.

Cindy Schultz | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Workers also have room for advancement, and training and retention of existing workers is essential in this competitive environment. Morgan Woods, 28, started in Malta, New York, at GlobalFoundries’ manufacturing facility as a technician in 2021. Woods has now moved into the role of training and development analyst with the company, overseeing training for technicians, engineers and management, plus ensuring compliance. Woods said compatibility is key as the company expands into the automotive space, working with GM.

“With increasing demand for microchipping, we definitely need more manpower to help support the continued rollout of microchipping and meet our day-to-day targets,” said Woods.

Woods has taken advantage of a benefit GlobalFoundries launched in May, allowing qualified U.S.-based employees and new hires to receive a tax-free lifetime total of $28,500 for student debt. It includes qualifying credits for all types of degree and credit-based certificate programs offered by American universities and colleges. So far, the number of applicants has exceeded 200, exceeding expectations, the company said.

“By participating in this program, I will be in a much better financial position to buy a home within the next few years, as well as look at expanding my family and having children,” Woods said.

Beyond helping to create roles in engineering and computer science, funding from the CHIPS and Science Act will also bolster growth for GlobalFoundries’ manufacturing plants in New York and Vermont. In February, the company announced $1.5 billion in planned financing for CHIPS to expand manufacturing capacity. He predicts the funding, along with local and state money, will help create about 1,500 manufacturing jobs and 9,000 construction jobs over the life of the planned projects.

Manufacturing and construction have faced labor shortages recently and are looking to attract new and younger workers to the field.

“We believe that the challenges we face in recruiting can be solved through an ecosystem approach to workforce development and by making our organization one of the best places to work through the benefits offerings we have in place,” said Raman.

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