~ The Center at UArizona is supported by a $35.5 million investment from the ACA ~
The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), today announced an expansion of the University of Arizona’s Micro/Nano Fabrication Center (MNFC) located in the University’s Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering building in Tucson, Arizona.
The MNFC is a cleanroom facility which supports manufacturing and research efforts involving semiconductors, computer chips, optical devices and quantum computing systems. The Center is supported by an investment of $35.5 million from the Arizona Commerce Authority. The funding will also support the expansion of training and educational modules to ensure Arizona continues to grow its skilled workforce to meet industry demand.
“The UArizona Micro/Nano Fabrication Center expansion represents another significant advancement for Arizona’s semiconductor industry,” said Governor Katie Hobbs. “The Center will leverage UArizona’s cutting-edge research and development capabilities and expand workforce training efforts, supporting continued growth of Arizona’s manufacturing and semiconductor industries.”
“I am incredibly proud of our College of Engineering and the work it does for our state,” said Robert C. Robbins, President, University of Arizona. “It has a long history of innovative research and training the next generation of Arizona’s work force. The expanded facility will have far-reaching impact for our students, researchers and industry partners, and I am very thankful to the Arizona Commerce Authority for this investment.”
“We are committed to advancing sustainable economic development, training the workforce of the future and enhancing national security – thereby growing the pool of well-paid jobs in Arizona and across the nation,” said Liesl Folks, Vice President of Semiconductor Manufacturing, University of Arizona. “To do this effectively, we must harness the country’s extraordinary research and development talent and attract more workers to the wide array of relevant disciplines to support an expanded manufacturing sector. As one of America’s leading research universities, the University of Arizona is in a leading position to quickly move to address these needs.”
“The MNFC expansion furthers Arizona’s semiconductor workforce, supporting the work of students, faculty, and industry leaders,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “We’re proud to support UArizona with the expansion of this state-of-the-art center, which will serve as a key resource to drive further workforce development and innovation throughout Arizona.”
The ACA’s investment is part of a $100 million commitment announced last year to increase semiconductor and microelectronics development in the state. The investment will support technological development and further grow the skilled workforce to support advanced fabrication industries.
The Southwest Nano-Lab Alliance, a coalition of universities invested in promoting the regional semiconductor industry, will be an important collaborator on the expansive initiative. Along with the University of Arizona, the alliance membership includes Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, the University of Utah, the University of New Mexico and Rio Salado College. UArizona will pass $3 million of the funds through to Pima Community College in Tucson and Central Arizona College in Coolidge to support expanded workforce training programs, including virtual reality classrooms.
“We are grateful to UArizona and the State of Arizona for their support to further Central Arizona College’s workforce training programs,” said Dr. Jackie Elliott, President and CEO, Central Arizona College. “These funds will enable CAC to further our workforce training programs to provide hands-on training to more students, preparing them for successful careers in high-tech industries.”
The College of Engineering plans to develop innovative teaching tools to train students from UArizona and partner schools to work with this technology. To streamline the training process, the university will create a digital twin of the MNFC facility and all the tools, yielding a virtual reality simulation of the facility that workers can use to familiarize themselves with the workflows and equipment. With this approach, training can be completed from anywhere, including Southwest Nano-Lab Alliance partner institutions, and in greater numbers than if training were limited to the physical cleanroom.
About the Arizona Commerce Authority
The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) is the state’s leading economic development organization with a streamlined mission to grow and strengthen Arizona’s economy. The ACA uses a three-pronged approach to advance the overall economy: attract, expand, create – attract out-of-state companies to establish operations in Arizona; work with existing companies to expand their business in Arizona and beyond; and help entrepreneurs create new Arizona businesses in targeted industries. For more information, please visit azcommerce.com and follow the ACA on Twitter @azcommerce.
Arizona Commerce Authority