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10 New York School Districts to Implement Semiconductor Curricula

Watertown City School District and nine others in New York state will begin piloting an educational program in 2024 developed by teachers and Micron to interest and train students in semiconductor technology.

(TNS) — The Watertown City School District is one of 10 statewide chosen to participate in a pilot program aimed at developing students for careers in the rapidly emerging semiconductor industry.

The American Federation of Teachers, New York State United Teachers, United Federation of Teachers, Micron, and Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul worked together on the project, according to a statement sent Thursday by the Watertown district.

Watertown School Superintendent Larry C. Schmiegel could not be reached for additional comment regarding potential impacts from the new program.

In 2022, Micron said it plans to invest up to $100 billion over the next 20 years or more to build a memory manufacturing megafab operation in Clay, near Syracuse. This would be the biggest semiconductor fabrication facility ever in the United States and is expected to need 9,000 employees while creating up to 40,000 supply-chain jobs over the next two decades.

Hochul announced the rollout of the pilot program Thursday in Syracuse as she also attended, accompanied by Micron officials, a ground-breaking ceremony for the Syracuse Science, Technology, Arts and Math High School, which will be Central New York's first regional technical high school.

"Through the investments we're making in Central New York, we're expanding educational opportunities for students while ensuring the region is ready to welcome the jobs and opportunity coming through Micron's transformative project," Governor Hochul said in a statement. "By investing in high-tech education and advanced manufacturing, we can ensure the next generation of New Yorkers is prepared to fill the jobs of the future. We're committed to building a global chip-making hub right here in New York."

Watertown City School District is one of 10 school districts or BOCES that are participating.

The framework was developed by teachers and Micron to incorporate industry-based career work to draw students into deeper learning like analyzing information, thinking critically and applying knowledge while also giving them real-life and real-world skills.

A news release from the American Federation of Teachers states that this is going to be piloted in 10 school districts and BOCES over the course of the next three years beginning in fall 2024.

"Educators are the essential link in the partnerships we are forging in New York and around the United States to build a workforce that is prepared to drive technological leadership," Micron Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer and President of the Micron Foundation April Arnzen said in the release. "We will develop a framework together with the New York State Education Department and the American Federation of Teachers — with its affiliates New York State United Teachers and the United Federation of Teachers — that will empower teachers to introduce students from all backgrounds to the opportunities a STEM education offers. Equipping teachers with industry knowledge helps build their confidence to inspire students with no possibilities and pathways to careers — including high-tech careers at Micron here in New York."

The pilot program was designed with feedback from both educators and industry experts at Micron and will focus on foundational and technical skills in the semiconductor industry. Students will also have an analysis of information and the application of their knowledge.

Besides Waterton, other districts and BOCES that will take part include Baldwinsville, Chittenango, East Syracuse Minoa, Liverpool, New York City (Brooklyn STEAM Center and Thomas Edison High School), Niagara Falls, North Syracuse, Syracuse, and Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES.

Micron and New York will contribute a joint $4 million for the three-year pilot.

"The Watertown City School District is honored to be a part of this innovative initiative that not only enhances educational opportunities for students, but also positions New York as a national leader in preparing students for workforce development and industry awareness," a news release from the district said.

©2023 Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, N.Y.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.