Closing the U.S. semiconductor workforce gap through high-impact workforce investments

On July 1, 2024, Natcast, the purpose-built, non-profit entity created to operate the National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC) Consortium, launched the NSTC Workforce Partner Alliance (WFPA) program. The program creates a nationwide fund to support projects that will address a critical workforce need in the U.S. semiconductor industry to help to close key skills and labor market gaps and fuel industry and national economic growth. This initial funding program will focus on closing workforce and skills gaps in the U.S. for researchers, engineers, and technicians across semiconductor design, manufacturing, and production.

Natcast encourages a wide range of workforce solution providers to apply for this initial workforce funding program. Entities providing semiconductor-related education or training programs, products, or activities developed to prepare, encourage, motivate, or enable individuals to obtain the skills or credentials required for jobs across the semiconductor ecosystem in the U.S. should consider applying.

The Challenge

The semiconductor industry is facing significant workforce challenges as demand for semiconductor talent is expected to rapidly outpace the supply of skilled workers.

Forecasting based on factors like current industry exit rates, education and training completion rates, and global talent migration patterns suggests that the industry will be unable to fill more than 67,000 of the 238,000 jobs the industry is projected to create by 2030.

(source: Semiconductor Industry Association, “Chipping Away: Assessing and Addressing the Labor Market Gap Facing the U.S. Semiconductor Industry”, July 2023).

The Opportunity

Supporting the current semiconductor workforce and building the workforce of tomorrow are critical to the economic health and competitiveness of the United States. Jobs in the industry range from researchers to engineers to technicians and can offer gainful employment across the nation to workers from all demographic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Making investments in the U.S. semiconductor workforce is an opportunity to serve underserved communities, to connect individuals to good-paying sustainable jobs across the country, and to develop a robust workforce ecosystem that supports an industry essential to the national and economic security of the U.S.

Funding Opportunity

Up to 10 Projects  |  Up to $2M  |  1-2 Years of Programming

Through the Workforce Partner Alliance program, Natcast plans to make awards to 4-10 high-impact projects. Projects should be one (1) to two (2) years in duration with a total budget between $500,000 to $2 million per award.

Proposals can support established programs with a track record of success seeking to scale; growing programs seeking to expand or realign; or new programs that meet a previously unaddressed need, opportunity, or theory of change. Applicants will be asked to assess the level of maturity for their program as part of the application process.

Illustrative examples of evidence-based workforce development strategies and methodologies that may be considered for this program include, but are not limited to initiatives that:

  • Support paid work-based learning, including registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs
  • Issue industry-recognized credentials
  • Confer semiconductor industry-relevant degrees, such as undergraduate or graduate programs in computer engineering, electrical engineering, technology, informatics, computer programming, chemical engineering, or industrial engineering, offered by two- or four-year colleges or universities
  • Modernize or create curriculum, including with direct input from employers
  • Combine on-the-job training, industry-aligned curriculum, effective classroom instruction, mentorship, credentialing, and/or recognized wage gains for demonstrated skills milestones  
  • Provide training integrated with wraparound supports that reduce barriers to entry in program participation e.g. childcare, transportation
  • Facilitate experiential learning opportunities such as co-ops, externships, internships, or capstone projects 

Construction activities are not an allowable cost under this program.

General Eligibility

The NSTC Workforce Partner Alliance program is open to:

  • For-profit organizations that are incorporated in the United States
  • Accredited institutions of higher education
  • Training providers
  • State and local government agencies
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Unions
  • Other organizations

Eligible entities for this program must have a presence in the United States.

Individuals and unincorporated businesses are not eligible, nor are foreign entities or entities associated with foreign countries of concern.

While entities are not required to be NSTC members at the time of application, Natcast will work with each awardee so they can become an NSTC member at the time of Award. 

Please see the full CFP documentation for further details.

Application Timeline

Call for Proposals ReleasedJuly 1, 2024
Full Application DeadlineJuly 26, 2024, 11:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)
Selection NotificationsEarly Fall 2024


Questions can be submitted to [email protected]. Questions must be submitted by 11:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) July 9, 2024.