Remarks as prepared.
Thank you, Dr. May. I have fond memories of working with you at NIST and I am delighted to see you again. My thanks to Morgan State for hosting this event, and to all of you for your interest in CHIPS for America.
I want to congratulate Morgan State on the recent $3 million per year of funding from the State of Maryland that allows for expansion of your Center for Research and Education in Microelectronics. To meet the demand for skilled talent that CHIPS for America will create, the Secretary of Commerce has called for colleges and universities to triple the number of graduates in semiconductor-related fields, including engineering, over the next decade. It is great to see Morgan State positioning to be a leader in that effort.
I am also glad that NIST and Morgan State are building stronger STEM workforce connections through the NIST Professional Research Experience Program, or PREP. PREP allows us to provide paid laboratory experience to students ranging from community college to post-graduate and postdoctoral fellows, as well as faculty members. About 40 Morgan State students have participated in PREP since 2019.
Through this program, students get hands-on experience at one of the country’s premier technical agencies. This gives students a competitive edge when applying for further education or jobs, and NIST is delighted to provide that experience. In turn, PREP participants strengthen our agency with their new ideas and experiences.
These values of opportunity and inclusion at the heart of the PREP program are also central to the CHIPS for America programs.
In August of 2022, the CHIPS and Science Act was passed with strong bipartisan support to bring semiconductor manufacturing back to America and establish a robust research and development ecosystem to support chipmakers. Semiconductors are the brains of the devices we rely on for entertainment, transportation, medical care, critical infrastructure like power and water, and national defense.
As important as semiconductors are to the American quality of life, just about 10% of semiconductors are made here, and none of the most advanced chips are made here on a commercial scale. Many elements of the semiconductor supply chain are also offshore and out of our control. These conditions create risks to our economic and national security. That is why Congress appropriated $50 billion to the CHIPS for America programs administered by NIST at the Department of Commerce.
The CHIPS for America programs are broad and serve nearly the entire semiconductor supply chain and product cycle. We envision that CHIPS incentives for manufacturers will lead to increased production of the current-generation and mature-node chips used in transportation, defense, and other critical sectors. We want U.S. fabs producing leading-edge memory chips at high volume, with a domestic research and development enterprise to support new memory chips for supercomputing and other uses.
And we want CHIPS funding to help establish at least two new large-scale clusters of fabrication facilities for the leading-edge logic chips that drive advances in fields like artificial intelligence, biotech, quantum computing, the internet of things, next generation 6G communications, and renewable energy. These technologies have the potential to address infectious diseases, food insecurity, climate change and other threats to us and our planet.
Increasingly, the value of semiconductor electronics comes not from the chips alone, but rather from how a chip is connected to other chips. The ability to combine a variety of chips from diverse sources to build a subsystem that has an enhanced functionality and performance at lower cost is what we call “advanced packaging.” This approach is integral to the aims of the CHIPS Act and the production of many microelectronics products.
Because of the role advanced packaging will play in assembling chips for many applications with growing demand, we must have the capability to package those chips here. Fabricating chips in America but shipping them overseas to be packaged creates supply chain and national security risks we cannot accept. That is why we envision that, by the end of the decade, the United States will be home to multiple high-volume advanced packaging facilities and a global leader in commercial-scale advanced packaging for the most sophisticated chips.
We have a strategic opportunity in advanced packaging. The most sophisticated methods for advanced packaging are still in their infancy here and around the world. Today, most advanced packaging as well as conventional packaging takes place in Asia by some of the large global semiconductor manufacturers. The U.S., however, has only 3% of the world’s packaging capability as of 2021.
But the U.S. is strong in research and development resources and talent — and we have the CHIPS Act. We can leverage those strengths to redouble our efforts toward advanced packaging and leap ahead of existing advanced packaging facilities to establish the world’s most innovative approaches to improve semiconductor performance, reliability, yield, and cost. We envision convening chip designers, scientists, engineers, and many more experts to develop new materials, methods, measurements, and tools and equipment in the United States — and deploy those to American manufacturers. To achieve this, our efforts will extend along the path from innovation to production, from “lab-to-fab.”
To help realize this vision, I am pleased to announce that CHIPS for America is committing approximately $3 billion in funding through the National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program across six priority development areas, an advanced packaging piloting facility that will enable advances from those areas to be validated and transitioned for large-scale U.S. manufacturing, and workforce training programs to support a robust domestic advanced packaging ecosystem.
These six areas of investment include both technology investments in materials and substrates; equipment, tools, and processes; power delivery and thermal management; photonics and connectors; as well as codesign and an advanced packaging ecosystem for the chiplets that can improve performance, reliability, yield and cost in advanced packaging. The piloting facility will provide a place to test the new equipment and processes. Success means validating development efforts as well as demonstrating the technology integration and transfer essential to achieving commercial scale advanced packaging here in the United States. The pilot facility will also allow for hands-on workforce development.
This investment in the National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program, coupled with CHIPS for America manufacturing incentives to establish multiple high-volume advanced packaging facilities, can help us improve performance, reliability, yield, and cost for major growth markets of semiconductors. Within a decade, we envision a vibrant, self-sustaining, profitable, high-volume, onshore packaging industry where advanced node chips manufactured in the U.S. undergo advanced packaging in the U.S.
More details are available in a paper we have just released that is available at CHIPS.gov. We anticipate announcing the NAPMP’s first funding opportunity — addressing materials and substrates for advanced packaging — in early 2024.
Earlier I mentioned that institutions like Morgan State are critical to realizing this vision. Other educational institutions and training programs are gearing up to meet the needs of the re-invigorated American semiconductor industry. Since the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act in August 2022, at least 50 community colleges across 17 states have announced new or expanded programming to support opportunities in the semiconductor industry.
U.S. students are demonstrating increasing interest in the growing semiconductor roles. Data from the job platform Handshake shows that student applications to full-time jobs posted by semiconductor companies were up 79% in 2022-2023, compared to just 19% for other industries. Applications from core tech majors — the talent pool this industry most needs to fill expected skills shortages — increased by 168%. Internship applications followed a similar trend.
But we cannot rest. Just as the space race inspired a generation of physicists and engineers, we must inspire young people and career changers to make the microelectronics upon which our economy and security rely.
Growth in the U.S. semiconductor sector means hundreds of thousands of good job opportunities that can lift whole communities, even entire regions. The State of Maryland recognized this with funding for Morgan State, which had the foresight to seek backing for a microelectronics program.
It is incumbent upon all of us in education, government, and industry to attract people to those jobs, eliminate barriers that keep people from completing training programs and entering the workforce, and pay good wages and provide pathways to upward mobility so that we retain valued workers.
For CHIPS to succeed, these opportunities must be open to everyone. Inclusion is a core value of CHIPS for America. Inclusion is a win-win-win.
Making the economy work for all citizens by expanding access to good jobs is the right thing to do. That’s a win for Americans.
We also know that work groups with more diversity are more creative and effective. That’s a win for employers and research groups — and for American innovation and entrepreneurship.
And we know that, to muster all the people needed to staff the semiconductor sector, we must attract more people from underserved communities — including women, people of color, veterans, persons with disabilities, and rural populations — with education and training programs and wrap-around services to support the most vulnerable populations. That’s a win for everyone.
The CHIPS Incentives Program has a clearly stated goal of increasing educational and workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion. We provide applicants with guidance on seeking partners for labor recruitment, particularly among underserved groups, and forming partnerships with educational and training organizations that can prepare people to work in the semiconductor sector.
Inclusion is a priority in the R&D arm of CHIPS, too. The CHIPS R&D programs are committed to training new generations of technical experts and researchers that represent the diversity of America, and that have the skills and knowledge to advance semiconductor science and the sector.
The CHIPS Packaging Program and other facilities like the National Semiconductor Technology Center will help students from underserved communities explore careers in semiconductors and related fields. Trainees will have access to cutting-edge tools, processes, and materials, and opportunities like post-doctoral positions and fellowships. We also anticipate that the NSTC will fund research and training programs at HBCUs and minority-serving institutions, as well as host researchers for technical exchanges. In addition, the CHIPS R&D programs will help minority-owned start-ups access advanced prototyping and design tools.
Since we are celebrating an announcement from CHIPS R&D, I want to introduce the director of the CHIPS Research and Development Office, Lora Weiss, who will help to make our visions of a robust innovation ecosystem come to life. Lora recently joined CHIPS from Penn State, where she was senior vice president for research. Lora has also served at Georgia Tech, most recently as senior vice president and director of the Georgia Tech Research Institute. Thank you, Lora, for answering the call to federal service. Lora shares my commitment to diversity in STEM and, along with the other CHIPS staff members, will help to ensure that CHIPS for America is for all Americans.
Thank you for your attention today. I will now take any questions you may have.