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Ohio schools, large and small, to develop Intel's workforce

Intel is pouring money into schools to help develop a workforce that can be employed in its developing{ }microchip manufacturing facilities. (WSYX)
Intel is pouring money into schools to help develop a workforce that can be employed in its developing microchip manufacturing facilities. (WSYX)
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Intel is promising more than $17 million to 80 Ohio colleges, partnering with higher education to develop a workforce for its microchip manufacturing facilities.

Schools large and small are getting a piece of the action, hoping to attract students and create a pipeline to Intel.

Students at Mount Vernon Nazarene University are busy today with a simple task: make an LED bulb light up, in different colors, in sequence. But getting that to happen is complicated and demands they write code and program computers. Their professors say if they can master that, they’re on their way to mastering what happens inside an Intel chip fab.

“They learn how this works, which is actually the same knowledge as the semiconductor and the transistor,” said Edward Meng, an assistant professor at MVNU.

Intel has said it needs more than 3,000 employees at its fabs.

“They are looking for material science engineers. They are looking for physicists. They are looking for computer engineers,” Jose Oommen, associate professor and department chair. He said the partnership with Intel will give students access to advanced learning techniques and opportunities.

“They’re going to get access to a virtual reality environment where they can see how semiconductors are getting manufactured in these fabrication labs,” Oommen said.

Senior Owen Paulus will graduate before the Intel fabs are completed, but he’s definitely thinking about the company.

“Intel could be something that I look into later on. I plan on staying around this area, we’ll see where God leads, but it's definitely something that’s on my radar,” he said.

Oommen said faculty at MVNU know that Intel will attract other companies to Central Ohio and hopes the university can provide workers for those companies as well.

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“They’re requiring a lot of other multi-talented individuals to come through with different expertise,” he said. “So our goal is to help out those other businesses as well. So it’s not going to just be tailored to computer engineers.”

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