Texoma Tech Hub meets at SMU to discuss key parts of the economic initiative plan
More than 160 people from 41 institutions met at SMU on Dec. 13 to discuss key components of the Texoma Semiconductor Tech Hub economic development initiative, which seeks to strengthen and drive innovation in the existing semiconductor supply chain in 29 counties in North Texas and southern Oklahoma through regional collaboration and workforce development.
DALLAS (SMU) – More than 160 people from 41 institutions met at SMU on Dec. 13 to discuss key components of the Texoma Semiconductor Tech Hub economic development initiative, which seeks to strengthen and drive innovation in the existing semiconductor supply chain in 29 counties in North Texas and southern Oklahoma through regional collaboration and workforce development.
The Texoma Semiconductor Tech Hub, led by SMU, was one of 31 tech hubs selected nationwide in October by the White House and the U.S. Department of Commerce to compete in federal funds for up to $75 million each. The Texoma Tech Hub was also awarded a Tech Hubs Strategy Development Grant that will help the consortium to increase local coordination and planning activities to further develop its technology-based regional economic development strategy.
These 31 tech hubs selected by the Biden-Harris administration are designed to develop and grow innovative industries in regions across the country.
As President Joe Biden noted, the United States has dropped from once producing 40 percent of the world’s semiconductor chips to producing just over 10 percent. Chip shortages are a significant national security issue, slowing worldwide production of everything from automobiles, to washing machines, to mobile phones.
The goal of the Texoma Semiconductor Tech Hub – the only hub designated in Texas – is to bring semiconductor manufacturing jobs back to the region over the next decade.
The Texoma Semiconductor Tech Hub includes a consortium of 41 members from private industry, local governments, colleges and universities, tribal communities and nonprofit organizations. The consortium must submit its plan to the U.S. Department of Commerce by February 29, 2024 to compete for up to $75 million in funding through the CHIPS and Science Act, signed into law in August 2022.
The focus of Wednesday’s workshop was to identify barriers in the economic systems and job markets and discuss how the consortium members could come together to eliminate these gaps in North Texas and southern Oklahoma.
“I believe your work to date on the Texoma Semiconductor Tech Hub is a model for the country,” SMU Provost Elizabeth G. Loboa told consortium members at the meeting. “This demonstrates what is possible when leaders from industry, research, venture capital, education, and government come together around a shared goal.”
The Texoma Semiconductor Tech Hub strategies to promote enhanced collaboration, expand the region’s technical workforce and catalyze the commercialization of technological advancements include the following:
Develop “FabletTM Facilities” – modular, targeted and accessible labs with equipment for electronic design, semiconductor manufacturing, packaging and/or testing throughout the region, specifically addressing the needs in underserved areas.
Create commercialization councils to link innovators, venture capitalists and industry representatives throughout the supply chain to commercialize and manufacture new ideas and products.
Develop workforce development councils to promote opportunities at multiple skill levels for students and adult learners to enter the workforce, acquire new knowledge and obtain advanced degrees and certifications while minimizing the time it takes to do so.
The outreach education will begin at the K-12 level and include semiconductor career pathways for adults.
At Wednesday’s meeting breakout sessions participants such as SMU, Dallas College and Texas Instruments discussed workforce development, training and partnering with local school districts and higher education.
Representatives from Sherman Economic Development Corporation, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and others brainstormed how the Texoma Tech Hub could enhance job opportunities by capitalizing on the existing robust supply chain.
The Dec. 13 workshop was led by Suku Nair, SMU vice provost for research and chief innovation officer; Jennifer Dworak, professor and associate chair of electrical and computer engineering at SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering; Scott Douglas, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Lyle; J.-C. Chiao, the Mary and Richard Templeton Centennial Chair and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Lyle. Other leaders at the event were David Griffith, professor of business administration at Austin College, and Steve Guengerich, associate vice president of innovation and commercialization at UT Dallas.
“One of the great benefits of the proposal process has been the lines of communication that have been opened or enhanced among the various stakeholders,” noted Dworak after the conference. The relationships and the solutions that are being developed among the members is truly making our consortium more than the sum of its parts.”
The Texoma Semiconductor Tech Hub was organized by Dworak, Douglas and Chiao under the leadership of the SMU Office of Research and Innovation.
The full list of the 41 members of the consortium can be found here.
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