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Connections Academy Partners With SEMI Foundation

A franchise of online K-12 schools is working with a nonprofit to offer students scholarships, internships, digital credentials and other opportunities to get a head start in the semiconductor industry.

A worker holding a semiconductor in a sterile environment.
Connections Academy, a for-profit online franchise of online K-12 schools, is partnering with a nonprofit in the semiconductor industry to promote job and networking opportunities.

According to a news release Thursday, the academy’s partnership with the SEMI Foundation will provide students with access to internships, apprenticeships, scholarships and career technical education training. They will also have opportunities to earn digital credentials for experiences through the SEMI Foundation.

Connections Academy’s parent company, Pearson, based in London with U.S. headquarters in New Jersey, contracts with state education departments and public school districts to offer tuition-free online options for families who prefer remote learning. The news release said Pearson’s partnership with the SEMI Foundation is an extension of a Connection Academy program launched in 2023 offering students triple credit for certain courses, wherein they can earn high school credit, college credit and industry-recognized microcredentials at the same time.

Casey Welch, vice president for career in Pearson’s virtual learning division, described the new partnership as a strategy for companies in a highly competitive industry to attract students to the field early on in their education.

Shari Liss, executive director of the SEMI Foundation, said in a public statement that the partnership aims to help students and industry capitalize on the CHIPS and Science Act, passed in 2022 to reduce U.S. dependence on Asia for microprocessors.

“A strong workforce is crucial in ensuring the success of investments made through the CHIPS and Science Act,” she said. “New and expanded semiconductor facilities across the U.S. will require a growing number of technicians, engineers, project managers, as well as non-technical staff to truly fulfill the promise of a strengthened domestic semiconductor industry.”

Pearson’s announcement cited a July 2023 report from the Semiconductor Industry Association that projected the industry would add about 115,000 jobs by 2030, more than half of which could go unfilled, the report said, given the current rate at which students are graduating with relevant degrees.

Pearson’s partnership with the SEMI Foundation follows the company’s launch of virtual academies in California, Missouri and Pennsylvania earlier this year, as well as a partnership with the Future Business Leaders of America to promote IT career tracks.