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News | 4 min read

Statewide initiative to innovate Virginia’s semiconductor and microelectronics ecosystem

April 21, 2023

VCU Stem

VAST will provide 25,000 hours of lab and equipment training, fast-track certifications, and 100 internship opportunities

RICHMOND, VA –  Gov. Glenn Youngkin announces the formation of Virginia Alliance for Semiconductor Technology (VAST) in advance of his first international trade mission to Taiwan, Japan and South Korea where he will meet with a number of industry leaders on why Virginia is the best place for the semiconductor and microelectronics ecosystem to thrive.

VAST will bring together industry and university partners to create new workforce development opportunities and expand access to cleanrooms, labs, and equipment for training and R&D by faculty, students, and entrepreneurs. VAST will be led by Virginia Tech and encompass a broad alliance across leading educational institutions throughout the Commonwealth including University of Virginia, George Mason, Virginia Commonwealth University, Norfolk State University, and Northern Virginia Community College.

Job-ready workforce training will be a primary focus of VAST as it creates three new Fast-Track to Semiconductor Careers certification programs that span the semiconductor supply chain. This up-skilling initiative will target veterans and under-served communities and result in over 25,000 hours of hands-on lab and equipment training that produces 500 job-ready workforce certifications over the next three years.

“Virginia is stepping up to lead the way by investing in key initiatives that will deliver STEM talent to a robust and growing workforce across the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Glenn Youngkin. “Together, our private and public sector partnerships will create new opportunities in semiconductors, microelectronics and nanotechnology to drive critically important economic sectors and technology leadership. I look forward to collaborating with the many schools in Virginia that are producing research and highly-trained students that will accelerate the development of our VAST ecosystem.”

Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC) will also collaborate with VAST to activate early-stage venture capital investment, alongside private sector partners, through its Virginia Venture Partners (VVP) equity funds. VIPC will additionally offer eligible grants for entrepreneur-in-residence, faculty R&D, and lab equipment through its Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF). Virginia Microelectronics Consortium (VMEC) will continue supporting student internship scholarships while meaningfully increasing R&D funding efforts.

“A key pillar of Virginia’s Compete to Win economic growth plan is unleashing a talented workforce by improving connections and preparing Virginians to acquire in-demand, marketable skills,” said Caren Merrick, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “This announcement is a terrific example of the potential we can realize by coordinating alignment across government and statewide partners to launch creative solutions.”

“Strong university partnerships, strategic programs, and an ongoing talent pipeline are critical to be competitive in recruiting in this industry,” said Jason El Koubi, president and CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP). “VAST will be a distinctive and compelling asset to market as we continue to aggressively pursue this dynamic and growing sector.”

“Connecting innovators with opportunity is VIPC’s mission, and we are excited to help catalyze private investment and growth throughout semiconductor, microelectronics, and nanotechnology related end-markets,” said Bob Stolle, president and CEO of VIPC. “We look forward to collaborating with VAST to foster research commercialization and innovation breakthroughs.”

“Virginia is a great home for chips, microelectronics, and technology,” said Virginia Tech Professor Masoud Agah, founding director of VAST. “There is a lot we can do regionally, and together we can do a lot more. This alliance leverages our collective strengths and mobilizes partners throughout the state.”

“GO Virginia is pleased to provide initial funding for VAST and support the opportunity it presents to accelerate growth and innovation in an industry of strategic importance for the Commonwealth and our nation,” said Nancy Howell-Agee, chair of GO Virginia.

VEDP and VAST will look to partner with companies in Virginia and companies looking to start businesses in Virginia as partners and collaborators.