subpage flowers image


Foothill Apprenticeship Program Collaborates with Semiconductor Manufacturers

December 18, 2023

group of people sitting at tables in conference room looking at speaker

Key collaboration at Nov. 14 Silicon Valley Advanced Manufacturing Forum targets skilled labor gap in Silicon Valley.

Community college leaders and advanced manufacturing employers joined together to discuss ways to increase the pipeline of skilled labor for the growing semiconductor manufacturing sector at the inaugural Silicon Valley Advanced Manufacturing Forum hosted by Foothill College and Applied Materials on Nov. 14 in celebration of National Apprenticeship Week.

The event highlighted a new semiconductor apprenticeship program at Foothill College, which provides students paid hands-on training with employers such as Applied Materials and Infinera. Foothill and local industry partners worked together to develop this new pathway to careers that pay well in response to the gap in skilled technology labor identified in the U.S. CHIPS and Science Act.

“This is the first semiconductor apprenticeship of its kind in the state of California,” said Chris Allen, dean of apprenticeship programs at Foothill College. “We are proud to work with Applied Materials to ensure we are able to bring together industry partners to provide quality education and hands-on training to help cultivate talent for the most needed careers of today,” said Chris Allen, dean of apprenticeship programs at Foothill College.

In addition to regional advanced manufacturing companies, representatives of six local community colleges, San Jose State University, Bay Area Community College Consortium, SEMI Foundation, U.S. Department of Labor, California Division of Apprenticeship Standards, Employment Training Panel, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, NOVAworks, and work2future attended the forum, which was held at Applied Materials in Santa Clara.

The breadth of participants provided the opportunity for attendees to develop key working relationships and learn about the needs and resources available in the region to enhance collaboration among all stakeholders. California is home to many of the companies leading semiconductor research, development, and manufacturing poised to benefit from the $52.7 billion in federal funding authorized in the CHIPS and Science Act.

 “SEMI stands as a crucial catalyst for both connection and innovation, aiding the semiconductor industry in deploying life-changing technologies globally," said Dr. Emma Bush, senior program manager at the SEMI Foundation, which was a recipient of a California Apprenticeship Initiative grant with Foothill College. “Our effectiveness is deeply rooted in our willingness to collaborate with educational, workforce, and manufacturing partners at both state and national levels. We were proud to participate in this forum, which plays a crucial role in expanding and developing our relationships with key partners as we advocate for continued focus and investments in building the industry's workforce. At SEMI, we are aware of the importance of working alongside key stakeholders to address the talent shortage in our industry, which is a critical step in sustaining innovation and future growth.”

Leaders from local colleges met during the event as part of a regional effort led by Foothill College to apply for the fifth round of federal Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants. The grants are intended to build the capacity of community colleges to address identified equity gaps, meet the skill development needs of employers in in-demand industries, and develop career pathways that lead to quality jobs, particularly for individuals from historically underserved communities.

Foothill College has over forty years of experience serving as the Local Education Agency for apprenticeship training programs in the Bay Area. This institutional knowledge and the collaboration with industry and community partners served as the model for the new semiconductor apprenticeship program.

“It’s more important than ever to come together as an industry and understand our collective needs to ensure we are doing what’s necessary to create 100,000 skilled jobs over the next five years,” said Mike Hill, senior director, talent & org development at Applied Materials.

“As the U.S. Department of Labor lead in establishing Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAPs) in the semiconductor and nanotechnology industries throughout the nation, NIIT cannot overstate the importance of working collaboratively with regional partners. It was a pleasure working with Foothill College and the employer partners to establish this program,” said Martha Ponge, director of national apprenticeships at the National Institute for Innovation and Technology.

Learn more about the Foothill Apprenticeship program.

Applied Materials, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT) is the leader in materials engineering solutions used to produce virtually every new chip and advanced display in the world. Our expertise in modifying materials at atomic levels and on an industrial scale enables customers to transform possibilities into reality. At Applied Materials, our innovations make possible a better future. Learn more at

For media inquiries, contact Foothlll marketing supervisor Laura Wigod at