July 16, 2008

NYSUT educators team with high tech industry on workforce development

Source: NYSUT Media Relations

UPDATE: Teachers reverse roles, becoming students of the semiconductor industry. Times Union, July 21, 2008.


Albany, N.Y., July 16, 2008 - Educators from Capital Region school districts are gearing up for SEMI High Tech U Teacher Edition, an industry-driven math and science-based career exploration program for middle-level and high school educators, administered and presented by the non-profit SEMI Foundation. The program is cosponsored and hosted by New York State United Teachers (NYSUT). Two identical two-day programs are scheduled (July 21-22 and July 24-25), with approximately 30 educators attending each.

technology studentSeveral school districts - including Albany, Shenendehowa, East Greenbush, Saratoga Springs, Ballston Spa, North and South Colonie, Schoharie and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake - are participating. Teachers and guidance counselors were invited by their school districts, and attend the program at no cost to them or their school districts. Cosponsors with NYSUT are the Air Products Foundation, General Electric, the SEMI Foundation and the Workforce Consortium for Emerging Technologies, a coalition of Capital Region workforce boards. As part of its sponsorship, General Electric is providing tours of its research center and conducting an interactive lab session at its manufacturing center.

SEMI High Tech U is a unique program that is changing the way the semiconductor industry tackles the challenges of preparing middle and high school students for tomorrow's workforce. The program gives classroom teachers and school counselors the unique opportunity to have a hands-on learning experience about microelectronics and the emerging alternative energy industries. It also provides practical applications of math, science and technology for classroom instruction and curriculum development. Volunteer industry professionals teach the sessions.

"SEMI High Tech U Teacher Edition is an exciting opportunity for NYSUT to sponsor industry-education partnerships," says Maria Neira, NYSUT Vice President. "We need to increase student interest in science, math and engineering and at the same time, motivate and excite students to pursue high tech careers. It is critical that our teachers are afforded professional development opportunities to ensure our young people have the skills necessary to succeed in the emerging technology industry and 21st century workplace. This groundbreaking collaboration will help ensure our region's economic viability. Our hope is to integrate this program into a year-round partnership among school districts, higher education institutions and regional and global industry leaders."

"Workforce development really begins early in the education process and is most successful when partnerships are formed between the education community and industry," notes Lisa Anderson, vice president, SEMI Foundation. "This is the first time we have partnered with a statewide educator organization, and we're thrilled. Our partnership with NYSUT and the other local sponsors that have provided volunteer teaching time and financial support is a model for the nation."

"As corporate sponsor of the program, the Air Products Foundation has donated time, money and resources to SEMI High Tech U programs in communities around the U.S.," says Kassie Hilgert, manager of community relations & philanthropy for Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. "With its focus on education and workforce development, High Tech U is a perfect fit within our giving priorities."

Since SEMI High Tech U began in 2001, more than 70 programs have been delivered to nearly 3,000 students and 400 teachers in the U.S., Austria, France, Japan and Singapore.


July 21 & July 24 - All activities at NYSUT Headquarters, 800 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham

10:50 a.m.: - noon: Electronic Peg Board. Participants work in teams with diodes, transistors and capacitors on a specially designed circuit board to learn how we store and transmit energy.

1-2 p.m.: Hacky Sack Catapult. The air is filled with hacky sacks as participants learn how medieval technology relates to modern-day chip-making in a math and statistics exercise called "Statapult". The module integrates numerous skills including interpretation of graphs and charts, estimation, process and quality control.

2:35-3:45 p.m.: Human Calculator. Using a "feet on" exercise, like the game "Twister," participants try not to get tangled up as they simulate electron flow in a microprocessor.

4-5:30 p.m.: Solar Cell Activity: Participants work in groups to improve the situation in Third World countries by proposing solar solutions. Case studies reflect actual situations in six countries.

July 22 & July 25 - General Electric Research Center Tour; Lab Session At GE Manufacturing Center

10:30 – 11:10 a.m.: Manufacturing Tour

11:10 – 11:50 a.m.: Interactive Lab Experience

11:50 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.: Technology Forum


Bernie Mulligan, NYSUT, 518-213-6000 (office); (518)-469-2035 (cell)

Lisa Anderson, SEMI, (408) 943-6918 (office); (408) 482-5235 (cell)



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