December 18, 2006

HVCC Training Goes Nanotech

By: by Eric Anderson, Deputy Business Editor, Times Union


ALBANY -- Students in Hudson Valley Community College's semiconductor manufacturing technology program will have a big edge in the job market, thanks to a collaboration with the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

Starting this spring, the students will get hands-on experience on what college and industry officials describe as the most advanced semiconductor manufacturing equipment on the planet.

The equipment is part of the Albany NanoTech complex on Fuller Road. The agreement, signed there at a ceremony Thursday, outlines a series of courses at UAlbany the students will take, focusing on mask preparation, photoresist coating, etching, clean room protocols and other processes involved in manufacturing semiconductor chips.

The first class of five HVCC students will train on the equipment during the spring semester, with UAlbany picking up most of the $6,000 cost per student. The class will graduate in May.

HVCC was planning to use simulation software for future classes because of the cost of hands-on training, but the agreement will allow the training in UAlbany's clean rooms to continue.

Also on Thursday, UAlbany and Einhorn Yaffee Prescott Architecture & Engineering P.C. announced the start of discussions to create a program to train architects to design efficient state-of-the-art nanoelectronics research and manufacturing facilities. UAlbany and HVCC would work with the Albany-based architectural practice to develop the Global Education and Training for Nanotechnology program, or GetNano.

HVCC President Andrew J. Matonak said he expects enrollment in the semiconductor program to grow exponentially. The latest class, at 14 students, is nearly triple the size of the original one. Graduates of the two-year program can expect to earn $30,000 to $60,000 annually.

The collaboration drew the endorsement of Douglas Grose, newly appointed senior vice president at chip manufacturer Advanced Micro Devices Inc., which has announced it will build a $3.2 billion plant in Saratoga County.

"The availability of a highly skilled and well-trained work force was a key factor in AMD's selection of the Luther Forest Technology Campus," Grose said.

He added it's important that AMD's employees have access to training and education, and that the program would play a "critical role" for AMD.

Grose is no stranger to Albany NanoTech: In his previous position with IBM Corp., he spent some time working at the complex with Alain Kaloyeros, vice president and chief administrative officer at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.