BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — As a leading innovator in science and technology, the expansion of the semiconductor industry continues with Virginia Tech’s new partnership with Micron Technology Incorporated, the United States National Science Foundation, and 10 other universities.

This partnership is known as ‘UPWARDS for the Future,’ and will partner with universities in the U.S. and Japan. This initiative hopes to develop and prepare students for skilled labor careers in semiconductor technology, preventing a shortage of engineers in the industry.

“Virginia Tech is proud to partner with Micron and leading U.S. and Japanese universities to support economic innovation by advancing growth and diversity in the semiconductor workforce,” said Virginia Tech President, Tim Sands. “Our top-ranked electrical and computer engineering department is educating the next generation of engineers with 10 specialized areas of study including a major in chip-scale integration.”

According to Micron, the universities were selected based on their efforts to close the gender equity gap in STEM fields.

“UPWARDS for the Future is aligned with Virginia Tech’s commitment to increase diversity in STEM education by fostering inclusion and success for women and individuals from underrepresented and underserved communities,” said Sands.

Along with Virginia Tech, the following universities will participate in UPWARDS for the Future:

  • Boise State
  • Purdue
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • The University of Washington
  • Hiroshima University, Japan
  • Kyushu University, Japan
  • Nagoya University, Japan
  • Tohoku University, Japan
  • Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan

Micron Technology Inc. is growing across the world, but a new manufacturing facility in New York will bring over 45,000 jobs to Americans in the coming years.

“We’re excited about this opportunity because we are not only going to change the world and make other people’s lives better, but we also get to provide our students with that same opportunity through experiential learning,” said Luke Lester, the Roanoke Electric Steel Professor and head of the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech. “They get to be part of this national priority to become more globally competitive in the semiconductor space.”