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New online classes hope to hook Idaho students into semiconductor industry

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Next year, students in Idaho will be able to get a head start in learning about the semiconductor industry.

Boise State University professors are working on a new set of dual enrollment courses for middle and high schoolers who want to get into the semiconductor industry.

Semiconductors are materials used to create computer chips, which are increasingly found in many everyday products and devices.

Boise State electrical engineering professor Sin Ming Loo, who’s overseeing the courses, said the introductory class will expose kids to all different aspects of the industry, which is critical to making things like smartphones.

“In the future, you can be someone who works in this industry, potentially designing some part of that particular device,” said Loo. “Wouldn’t that be cool?”

The second and third courses will become more technical in nature and also help guide students to the right education they need to get their preferred job in the field.

That doesn’t just mean engineers. Loo said it could include other aspects like manufacturing, logistics or support roles.

Getting kids interested in these jobs is critical to help meet significant future demand for workers

“We are not going to have enough engineers in the future and there are less and less kids interested in it because it’s a pretty hard major to get into and to … stay in it,” Loo said.

A $5 million grant from the Idaho Workforce Development Council is funding the project, which will be available for students online through the Idaho Digital Learning Alliance.

Loo said they are expected to launch in fall 2024.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

Copyright 2023 Boise State Public Radio

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!

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