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IU leading national effort to make STEM careers more accessible, expand sources of talent

EDGE Consortium to strengthen innovation in semiconductor-related education

For Immediate Release Oct 24, 2023

WASHINGTON — Indiana University President Pamela Whitten and Joanna Millunchick, dean of the Indiana University Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering, are among a select group of leaders in higher education launching a national effort dedicated to making semiconductor-related education more accessible and aligned with industry workforce needs.

Pamela Whitten IU President Pamela Whitten. Photo by Chris Meyer, Indiana UniversityWhile the U.S. invented the semiconductor, it now produces just 10% of the world’s supply and relies heavily on East Asia for global production. The EDGE Consortium, co-chaired by Whitten and Dartmouth President Sian Beilock, aims to reverse this trend and double the number of industry-ready women and people of color entering semiconductor-related careers. EDGE members, which consist of women presidents and deans of engineering from the nation’s leading research universities, are uniting leaders across the public and private sector to expand U.S. leadership in the semiconductor landscape and develop solutions that drive innovation, economic growth and national security.

“Meeting our nation’s talent needs and strengthening the U.S semiconductor industry is only possible by growing and diversifying our STEM workforce at scale,” Whitten said. “This requires the leadership of powerhouse research universities like Indiana University and our partners in the EDGE Consortium. Working together, we can shape academic programs and industry collaborations that will lead to a growing, inclusive and resilient semiconductor workforce.”

The EDGE Consortium will host its inaugural Fall Summit on Oct. 24 in Washington, D.C.

Joanna Millunchick Joanna Millunchick, dean of the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

A leading university partner in the effort, IU is home to the Luddy School, the nation’s first school of informatics. With nearly 90,000 students at its campuses spread across a Midwestern state that is prioritizing growth in microelectronics and semiconductor industries, IU has more than 21,000 students enrolled in STEM programs, roughly 10,000 of whom are women.

IU is using evidence-based approaches to revolutionize the way we teach STEM and improve the learning experience, making these career paths more accessible,” Millunchick said. “More women and underrepresented people working in STEM fields will contribute to the shortage of qualified workers needed to ensure the nation’s economic strength, national security and global competitiveness.”

IU supports industry-leading programs committed to diversifying the field, including the Women in STEM Living-Learning Center; the Center of Excellence for Women and Technology; the NIH-funded Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program, which prepares underrepresented students for graduate study in the biomedical and behavioral fields; and the IU-Minority Serving Institutions STEM scholars initiative.

In the spring, Whitten, Millunchick and fellow EDGE Consortium founding members signed an open letter urging both industry and government to work with higher education institutions to diversify and strengthen the U.S. semiconductor workforce. Today’s summit serves as the next step in the consortium’s commitment to supporting Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo’s ambitious goals for the CHIPS and Science Act. It will convene leaders across public and private sectors to address workforce skills gaps and STEM education and career pathways.

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Barbara Brosher

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