Florida Semiconductor Week convenes leaders to strengthen and expand Florida’s semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem

The urgency to fortify and expand Florida's semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem echoed through the halls of Malachowsky Hall for Data Science and Information Technology at the University of Florida Feb. 7-9 during the 2024 Florida Semiconductor Week. 

Hosted by the Florida Semiconductor Institute, the workshop attracted a diverse selection of stakeholders, including state and local government officials, researchers from academic institutions, and industry leaders from prominent semiconductor companies.

The focal point of the discussions revolved around the need to cultivate a resilient and dynamic ecosystem in Florida, where research, manufacturing, and workforce development converge to propel the state into a manufacturing powerhouse. Florida currently ranks fifth in the nation in semiconductor jobs, and attendees at this year’s Florida Semiconductor Week are optimistic the state can grow what is already a vibrant microchip industry. 

“The time is now to strengthen and expand Florida's semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem,” said Mark Tehranipoor, Ph.D., the Sachio Semmoto Chair of UF’s electrical and computer engineering department and the Intel Charles E. Young Preeminence Endowed Chair Professor in Cybersecurity. “The Florida Semiconductor Institute and Florida Semiconductor Week ’24 show the rest of the world that Florida is ready to lead the nation in reshoring semiconductor manufacturing to the U.S.”

Conversations held during the week underscored the need for strategic investments, innovative collaborations, and a concerted effort from both the public and private sectors to bolster Florida's position in this vital industry.

“Events like Florida Semiconductor Week can serve as catalysts for fostering collaboration and driving innovation,” said David Arnold, Ph.D., the deputy director for government affairs at the Florida Semiconductor Institute. “The coordinated alignment of multiple agencies and institutions is a huge advantage for advancing our Florida-based semiconductor industry.”

With microchip technology playing an increasingly critical role in every facet of modern life, securing the semiconductor supply chain is vital, many speakers at the event said, and planned workshops provided a platform for exploring avenues to address challenges like supply chain disruptions as well as workforce development and infrastructure development.

While many speakers throughout the three days noted the critical need for an educated workforce ready to take on semiconductor jobs — from technician to data scientists — Arnold said the Florida Semiconductor Institute is coordinating its workforce development efforts to provide career pathways from primary school to post-graduate education.

“By harnessing the collective expertise and resources of stakeholders, we can chart a course toward sustained growth and competitiveness for Florida's semiconductor industry,” he said, “ultimately positioning Florida at the forefront of semiconductor technology.”

UF News February 15, 2024