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36 PCB007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2019 Feature Interview by Nolan Johnson I-CONNECT007 Cristina Sandoval, manager of workforce development and university initiatives for the SEMI Foundation, discusses how two new pro- grams, as well as a long-running high school STEM outreach program, are aiming to ad- dress the skills gap within the industry. San- doval also explains SEMI's efforts to prepare students to enter the workforce and continu- ing to develop talent as young professionals join the industry. Nolan Johnson: Can you tell me what you do at SEMI and what your program is about? Cristina Sandoval: I manage two new key work- force development programs—the SEMI Men- toring Program and the University Connec- tions Program. I also support our diversity and inclusion initiatives with Leslie Tugman, our VP of global workforce development and di- versity. We created these new programs based on SEMI member feedback from an industry survey driven by SEMI pesident and CEO Ajit Manocha. Our Workforce Development and Di- versity Inclusion Councils, consisting of SEMI member companies, helped create the vision and direction for these programs. Johnson: So, this started with some survey in- formation from members. What did you find out, and what are you trying to achieve strate- gically with these programs? Sandoval: Our overarching goal is to address the talent shortage in the industry, and there are two main components to our strategy. First, SEMI is working to change student perceptions about our industry and generate more excite - ment about career opportunities. Our indus- try is competing for talent against recognized consumer-facing companies with much higher recognition. Meanwhile, our member compa- nies struggle with a lack of awareness among students about the significant contributions our industry makes to technology and inno- vation. The second component is to reach tal- ent that the industry hasn't tapped yet. We're reaching out to groups of students who may have no or little awareness of our programs or industry so that they can see the many oppor- tunities available to them. Johnson: That seems to be a very common theme in the industry right now. Some other sectors of the marketplace are facing a quiet crisis because most of their workforce is 55 and above and/or ready to retire. Then, the de- mographic drops all the way down to 30 and below. Many companies are facing a skills and staffing gap, which could be a threat to their SEMI's Cristina Sandoval on Mentoring and Retaining Young Talent Cristina Sandoval

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