Workforce training

Purdue’s Birck Nanotechnology Center plays a vital role in developing our country’s high-tech workforce of tomorrow.

A first-of-its-kind semiconductor degrees program

Purdue is the home of the nation’s first comprehensive semiconductor degrees program, a full suite of offerings including graduate and undergraduate degrees, competitive internships, flexible online courses, and a virtual lab. Much of this training takes place at Birck, putting students at the center of emerging Silicon Heartland technology efforts.

Launched in May 2022, Purdue’s semiconductor degrees program offers a master of science degree, stackable certificates at the postgraduate level, a bachelor of science minor/concentration, and associate degrees through a partner institution, Ivy Tech Community College. Students seeking to join the semiconductor revolution can take Purdue’s courses in person or through our first-of-its-kind online program.

Experiential learning through the Semiconductors @ Birck VIP Program

Birck is home to the semiconductors track of the College of Engineering’s innovative Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) program, a growing experiential learning opportunity for undergraduates. Students work in vertically-integrated teams (sophomore through seniors) with faculty, staff, and graduate researcher mentors during multiple semesters to learn nanofabrication skills and tackle real-world research and engineering challenges.

Through the VIP program members of industry can work with Purdue faculty and Birck staff and scientists to define a set of applied projects for students that would help them master nanofabrication and semiconductor manufacturing concepts, learn process improvement and project management skills, and contribute to one of the largest academic cleanroom facilities.

growing the quantum workforce

Purdue is at the forefront of quantum education and workforce development and has a variety of programs and initiatives in this area, such as the MicroMasters Program in Quantum Technology Computing, which allows students to gain familiarity with quantum science and technology, and Qiskit, an introductory course to the world of quantum computing. 

The university hosts a Quantum Summer School every year as part of its efforts as the workforce development lead of the Quantum Science Center. The school includes lectures from world-leading experts, hands-on training, poster sessions, and career development activities.

Purdue hosts a YouTube channel called Quantum Coffeehouse, which contains short instructional videos, interviews with quantum experts, and technical seminars. An online MicroMasters program via edX taught by Purdue faculty offers opportunities for a broad audience from undergraduates to working professionals to learn about and gain experience in quantum technologies.

Purdue is the lead site of the Center for Quantum Technologies, a National Science Foundation-funded Industry-University Cooperative Research Center that allows students to perform industry-relevant, use-inspired research.

Defending our country at SCALE

Along with helping the United States create a vibrant 21st century economy, Birck is producing the technology workers who will bolster our national defense. Purdue leads Scalable Asymmetric Life Cycle Engagement (SCALE), a Defense Department-sponsored national coalition of 19 universities aimed at addressing the urgent need to develop a highly skilled U.S. microelectronics workforce to safeguard our national security. SCALE is administered by the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane).

SCALE educates students in five microelectronics specialties: radiation-hardening, heterogeneous integration/advanced packaging, system on a chip, embedded system security/trusted artificial intelligence and supply chain awareness.

Participants gain access to internships and other career opportunities with both public and private employers in their preferred technical areas. Separately from SCALE, the Defense Department has chosen Indiana as one of eight Microelectronics Commons Hubs in the United States, increasing the role of Purdue and Birck. The selection comes with more than $30 million in federal funding.

Tech training that never ends

Birck isn’t simply training tomorrow’s workers – it’s also training today’s workers to be even more effective tomorrow. As the field of semiconductors and microelectronics rapidly changes, Birck’s continuing education helps America’s workforce to keep up.

Our online courses on semiconductors are especially convenient for students with business obligations far from Purdue’s campus. And Purdue is challenging the notion that schooling comes first and work comes next. Our innovative Learning While Working program allows students to pursue a degree while employed full-time. In some cases, this means students can graduate in four or 4.5 years even though they spent one of the years in a full-time job.

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