Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo leads the initiation of the HBCU CHIPS Network, aimed at creating a talented and inclusive workforce in the semiconductor industry.

On February 9, 2024, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo hosted the launch of the HBCU CHIPS Network, a collaboration between several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and the Georgia Institute of Technology. This initiative aims to build a skilled and diverse workforce in producing chips, also known as semiconductors, which are critical in powering our consumer electronics, automobiles, data centers, critical infrastructure, and military systems.

The launch of the HBCU CHIPS Network coincides with Black History Month and is expected to provide access and opportunities for Black Americans. This collaboration will help coordinate the resources of HBCUs and expand the geographic and institutional diversity of research institutions and the students and researchers they serve.

In 2023, Secretary Raimondo called on colleges and universities to triple the number of graduates in semiconductor-related fields. However, there is still a labor shortage in this critical industry, with an estimated shortage of 300,000 engineers and 90,000 technical workers by 2030. The HBCU CHIPS Network is expected to provide opportunities to historically underserved students and communities and bridge gaps in access and opportunity for Black Americans.

The launch of the HBCU CHIPS Network is a result of the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, signed by President Biden two years ago. This act provides a historic $50 billion funding opportunity to revitalize America’s domestic semiconductor industry and create hundreds of thousands of good jobs. Recipients of this funding must demonstrate how their project will advance the nation’s economic security and invest in workers and communities, including opportunities for small businesses and disadvantaged communities.

Last year, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the CHIPS for America funding opportunity for smaller supply chain projects and businesses to access CHIPS for America funds. This initiative is part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, which aims to strengthen the nation’s economy and create more opportunities for all Americans. Secretary Raimondo encouraged HBCUs to work together with private companies to ensure graduates are ready to start working on day one.  

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