As Intel implements its plans for two new semiconductor plants in central Ohio, Bowling Green State University is joining the Midwest Regional Network in partnership with the technology giant to help solve national needs in semiconductor and microelectronics development.
With its record of faculty and student success in high-impact research at the university’s Center for Photochemical Sciences, coupled with the 50-year legacy of the state’s first computer science program as well as hosting the state’s premier supply chain program, BGSU is uniquely positioned to further Intel’s mission to onshore strategically vital semiconductor production as it opens a chipmaking epicenter in central Ohio.
The Midwest Regional Network supports the industry-leading company and is part of Intel’s $50 million commitment to Ohio higher education institutions over the next decade. Intel’s investment in Ohio institutions of higher education works in league with the University’s mission to support industry needs and regional economic vitality by providing in-demand academic programming that prepares BGSU students for success and supports the workforce needs of today and tomorrow.
The three-state Midwest Regional Network will leverage existing BGSU research, curricular and experiential learning assets, capabilities and expertise within the region and grow the collective capacity to support the domestic growth of robust semiconductor and microelectronics innovation and supply chain ecosystems.
“As a public university for the public good, Bowling Green State University is pleased to be joining this incredible partnership network to meet the workforce needs of Ohio and beyond,” said BGSU President Rodney Rogers. “This regional network will allow each of the partnering institutions to leverage their individual strengths while working with one another to effectively and efficiently support Intel’s growth, which is an investment in our state’s future.”
In addition to Bowling Green State University, members of the Midwest Regional Network include:
Case Western Reserve University
Columbus State Community College
Lorain County Community College
Michigan State University
Sinclair Community College
The Ohio State University
University of Cincinnati
University of Dayton
University of Michigan
University of Notre Dame
Wright State University
Each institution’s president signed a memorandum of understanding to form the network, which is expected to grow beyond these institutions.
Initial activities for the network include:
Developing a common, secure, information-sharing platform to make it easier to identify expertise, equipment, facilities and curricular programs of interest to facilitate joint programming, research, and/or outreach initiatives across the network
Encouraging regional collaborations and promoting workshops around opportunities to pursue funding that will grow regional capacity to support identified needs across the semiconductor and microelectronics ecosystems
Developing pilot mechanisms to connect existing research, facilities and curricular/training assets across the region to optimize their use to address regional needs and opportunities
Intel’s investment in Ohio
In January 2022, Intel announced an investment of more than $20 billion for the construction of new factories in the Columbus suburb of New Albany, which will boost production to meet demand for advanced semiconductors. Also known as computer chips, semiconductors are used in computers, cell phones and vehicles and serve a variety of functions, including the processing and storing of information.
The expansion marks the largest single private-sector investment in Ohio history and is expected to create 3,000 Intel jobs and 7,000 construction jobs, as well as support tens of thousands of additional local long-term jobs across a broad ecosystem of suppliers and partners.
The multinational company also pledged an additional $100 million toward partnerships with educational institutions, like BGSU, to attract workers and bolster research.
Making a difference now
With nearly 200,000 alumni worldwide, BGSU graduates are already making their mark with large international companies like Intel.
Over the years, the microprocessor-producing company has hired BGSU graduates — mostly those with science-based degrees, according to Farida Selim, a professor in the BGSU Department of Physics and Astronomy. They have been hired into various types of roles including process engineers.
Selim, whose research focuses on semiconductors and complex oxides for use in optoelectronic, spintronics and information technology, said BGSU graduates working at Intel today develop techniques for making and testing computer chips, improve manufacturing processes and serve as lead project managers.
“BGSU graduates are helping to lead and support the technology industry at all levels,” Selim said. “The work being done by Bowling Green alumni at companies like Intel is so important and it changes lives. It’s so great to see.”
According to Selim, the majority of BGSU graduates employed by Intel are those with graduate degrees, many of whom conducted high-impact research at the university’s Center for Photochemical Sciences. With the company set to soon have a prominent presence in Ohio, Selim said faculty are already rethinking undergraduate curriculum to ensure students are employable immediately upon graduation.
“We’re developing curriculum to give our students the best experience and essential fundamentals to be successful on campus and in the working world,” Selim said. “Graduates will leave BGSU prepared to contribute to and support the needs of major companies like Intel and organizations of every size in between.”
Preparing for the future
Home to Ohio’s first computer science program, BGSU has been a statewide leader for more than 50 years in educating computer science professionals and software engineers. These ABET-accredited programs provide students with comprehensive opportunities.
Beyond computer science and software engineering, BGSU is also a leader in academic programs that will support broad workforce and economic needs as Ohio’s manufacturing portfolio grows.
Currently, the university offers a variety of ABET-accredited undergraduate majors and graduate programs in the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering with heavy focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, including mechatronics engineering technology, electronics and computer engineering technology and mechanical and manufacturing engineering technology.
In addition to STEM-based majors, BGSU is also home to the Allen W. and Carol M. Schmidthorst College of Business, which offers a wide selection of top-ranked programs like management, business analytics and intelligence and international business. All programs in the Schmidthorst College of Business provide students with comprehensive experiences and opportunities needed to help businesses achieve their strategic and marketplace goals.
Leading innovative partnerships
As a leader in innovative partnerships, BGSU already works in partnership with Owens Community College and the University of Findlay to design the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics.
Positioned to support workforce needs, the center helps ensure Ohio remains a leader in global manufacturing and logistics by providing customized training for an in-demand, highly skilled and globally competitive workforce. The center provides training on the latest cutting-edge technological assets being used by companies now and in the future.
“Through partnerships like the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics, BGSU is able to equip Ohio workers with the necessary skills to lead successful and productive careers,” said Ford Weber, program manager for Economic Development Partnerships at BGSU. “At the same time, the center also instills confidence in companies like Intel through knowing that they’re getting skilled and highly trained workers needed to do business.”
The center is also leveraging its strategic position near and along the I-75 and Ohio Turnpike corridors to educate students and equip workers with the skills needed to effectively run large-scale global supply chains like those managed by Intel.
Ranked as the No. 1 supply chain program in Ohio, the BGSU supply chain program features an integrated approach to the movement of goods, like computer chips, from the supplier to the final customer. The University also partners with international brands like First Solar, John Deere and Toyota to provide corporations with top BGSU supply chain graduates as new employees.
Supporting Ohio’s economy
Just as Intel’s investment in Ohio means much more than jobs, the same can be said for the university’s impact across the state. Generating $765.8 million for Ohio’s economy annually, BGSU is already well-positioned to support Intel’s expansion through high-impact research and creative activities that make communities better.
“As a public university, BGSU wants Ohio’s economy and residents to be successful,” Weber said. “The state’s success is our success. Together, through education and partnerships, BGSU and Ohio will provide high-growth industries like the technology sector with highly skilled and highly trained employees that drive the state’s economy forward.”