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CHIPS R&D issues guidebook for creating education and workforce development plans

June 27, 2024
By: Jerry Coughter

The CHIPS Research & Development Office (CHIPS R&D), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is tasked by the CHIPS and Science Act to invest $11 billion to ensure the U.S. develops and maintains a robust semiconductor workforce. Accordingly, CHIPS R&D anticipates that its Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) will require applicants to submit an Education and Workforce Plan (EWD). CHIPS R&D recently issued a guidebook for creating an EWD.

As described in the guidebook, there are five key elements recommended for an EWD plan:

  1. A workforce needs assessment that considers the current workforce by occupation, skill set, wage, and demographics, as well as the pool of available workers with relevant skills, projected workforce needs, and any challenges or barriers to address.
  2. Metric and milestone targets that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) to measure the impact of the program. Also, these should be aligned with the objectives, timelines, and resources of the funding opportunity
  3. Demonstrated and proven models, curriculum, and pedagogy for training or upskilling workers that align with industry-wide or internally developed competency standards, skill requirements, or stackable, industry-recognized credentials.
  4. Strategic partnerships with educational institutions, labor unions, community-based organizations, and economic development organizations to build sustainable systems that serve employers and workers beyond the federal investment.
  5. Worker recruitment and retention strategies to recruit and retain a diverse and skilled workforce, such as creating new opportunities for underrepresented populations, investing in support services such as childcare and transportation, and promoting a safe and respectful workforce culture.

It is important to note that while the CHIPS R&D Office recommends aligning the EWD plan with the DOC's Workforce Development Strategy and the Good Jobs Principles, not every principle will be applicable to every project or funding opportunity.