Onondaga County has the land, power and water to lure a chipmaker, but Onondaga Community College’s tech training programs may have given the CNY region an edge on the competition by landing the $100 billion investment.
OCC professors shared some details about the final landmark meetings with the company ahead of President Biden’s scheduled visit on Thursday.
Michael Grieb is chair of the OCC’s Applied Technology Department.
“These are trainers we’ve created that … allow students to explore both electrical and mechanical concepts, but also learn how motors are coupled with mechanical systems to create motion and make things happen,” Grieb said. “And robots are not part of the normal program.”
Staff shared with Micron the hands-on training and curriculum offered by their applied science programs. OCC officials said their meetings with Micron took place in late September toward the end of the process, but before the company announced on Oct. 4 that the chipmaker wanted to build a factory in CNY.
“In terms of working with Micron, you know, they came like a whirlwind,” Grieb said. “They gave us a lot of information. They asked a lot of good questions. And obviously we already had a lot of answers that they must have liked to hear. But they also have a lot of new technologies and new techniques that they’re going to have need us to teach things, like data analysis.
Assistant Dean Buffy Quinn’s passion for tech-ed capabilities also played a key role in Micron meetings.
“(Michael) built all of these so that we could not only use them to practice specific systems, but also so that we could take them to high schools and stuff,” said Quinn, assistant dean of natural and applied sciences of the OCC. I don’t know if he knows they’re all on wheels.”
When Quinn was called in for a confidential meeting, she initially thought it was a typical industry partner meeting.
“We didn’t even really know who it was,” Quinn said. “And so we sit in the meeting and they just start asking us questions about how we work with the industry, technical, you know, our partners, how we develop programs, how we do this stuff. While I’m in the meeting, I’m starting to figure out who it is because some of the questions were cleanroom and semiconductor related.
It was fortuitous.
Quinn had previously worked to obtain grants for a clean room in an area built to specifications at the Whitney Applied Technology Center.
“We’re in the OCC Bookstore, and it’s proposed to be the future cleanroom site that will support who we are, the program we’re building with Micron and some of our other industry partners,” said Quinn.
OCC officials noted that current industry partnerships and skilled technology workforce needs have helped strengthen their readiness for Micron.
“We already had a very vibrant local industry that needed this kind of equipment and technicians to fix it and keep it running,” Grieb said. “Companies like Inficon, like Marquardt Switches, JMA Wireless, already have a huge demand for these employees, but obviously with Micron coming in, the game is going to get a lot more intense trying to train more students and get them interested. to this area.
Interest should jump thanks to potential wages.
“Typical starting salaries between $60,000 and $70,000 for a two-year degree,” Grieb said. “A 2019 grad came back to tell us he was making $120,000 a year working four days a week. And we were all jealous.”
The demand for technicians will account for 80% of the workforce needed to operate the plant, OCC officials said. Micron officials said they will need 9,000 workers and expect an additional 40,000 new jobs to be created in the area as a result of the company’s move to Onondaga County.