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OCC panel discussion covers Micron, education growth

Abigail Connolly

A panel discussion at Onondaga Community College Monday brought semiconductor industry leaders and educators together.

OCC President Warren Hilton was joined by OCC professor Mike Grieb, College of Western Idaho President Gordon Jones and CHIPS for America Head of Facilities Workforce Reginald Hicks to discuss the ways Micron, and the semiconductor industry, are impacting education and industry in communities.

Micron has plans to invest over $100 billion into the central New York region. Funding is helping with education and community planning but Hilton said the support goes both ways — without local schools attracting more students, workforce needs will be hard to meet.

“Community colleges are those workforce engines that are training people in a short period of time in an affordable manner,” Hilton said.

CHIPS for America’s Head for Facilities Workforce Reginald Hicks agreed and said even beyond workforce development, community colleges help all aspects of our communities.

“We get the chance now to even improve the U.S. economy, improve our employment rates, things of this nature,” Hicks said.

Micron has helped to develop industry-standard curriculum at OCC and CWI. Grieb said this has already started to generate positivity in the classroom.

“It’s really a breath of fresh air in seeing how excited they are because they can see their pathway to a career that is going to be rewarding,” Grieb said.

Grieb said the next challenge will be to create a space big enough to meet the needs of students and professors.

Abigail is a temporary WRVO News Reporter/Producer working on regional and digital news stories. She graduated from SUNY Oswego in 2022 where she studied English and Public Relations. Abigail enjoys reading, writing, exploring CNY and spending time with family and friends. Abigail first joined the WRVO team as a student reporter in June 2022.