Student Association meets with Micron to potentially develop a partnership

28 days ago The Daily Orange

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Student Association President David Bruen said collaboration between Syracuse University and Micron is the beginning of something “very great” after some SA members met with Robert Simmons III, the head of social impact and STEM programs for the Micron foundation, on Feb. 17.

Bruen, Vice President Adia Santos and other SA leadership met with Simmons to lay the groundwork for a potential partnership and discuss student collaboration with Micron, the semiconductor chip manufacturing company set to invest up to $1 billion to build a facility around 15 minutes north of Syracuse.

The joint effort is in its early stages for both parties, Bruen said, but Micron has expressed its desire to connect with SA as a representative of the student body in relation to its partnerships with SU. SA hopes to explore how Micron can help students in areas like internships, post-graduation jobs and training programs, Bruen said.

Santos also hopes to use the relationship to benefit the broader Syracuse community outside of the university. She said SA’s goal is to collaborate on outreach initiatives that help marginalized communities access STEM programs and to advise on social impact areas like food scarcity and environmental sustainability. She also said SA has an objective to ensure a healthy relationship between SU and Micron.

Micron is looking to develop educational resources and infrastructure in the Syracuse area and throughout central New York to train a new semiconductor manufacturing workforce. The new plant is projected to provide nearly 50,000 New York jobs.

Bruen emphasized the importance of the investment from Micron, the second-largest chip manufacturer in the U.S., pointing to the potential it brings for growth in the city. He said that Micron will not only bring jobs in the semiconductor manufacturing industry, but also training, construction jobs and service industry jobs.

“People will look back and they will say how amazing it was at this moment, that our country reacted the way that we did to this situation and decided to invest in this region and in the people here,” Bruen said.

Micron’s various outreach initiatives include a Micron Collaboration Classroom at Onondaga Community College, which Gov. Kathy Hochul announced in her FY-24 budget proposal, as well as a direct partnership with SU through the Future-Ready Workforce Innovation Consortium. The multi-dimensional consortium, which will be located in the College of Professional Studies, intends to develop students’ skills relevant to chip manufacturing.

Santos pointed to the program and partnerships like it as a valuable professional opportunity for SU students.

“The company will affect both the flow and economic prosperity of the city and may even serve as a potential employment resource for students or recent graduates,” Santos said.

Micron also prioritizes providing support and relief for the community, including through food banks. Bruen added that he hopes to discuss issues relating to sustainability and the lead crisis, which SA has emphasized this semester. In December 2022, SA released its sustainability report to amend the University’s Climate Action Plan.

Santos said Simmons appeared to be passionate about making the central New York community self-sustaining.

“They seem very concerned about people being able to feed their own families after being here for a certain amount of years, so that was personally exciting,” Santos said.

Bruen added that Simmons made an effort to engage in conversations with SA as a way to begin a relationship that needs to be developed and fostered over time with future leaders.

“We’re playing a hand in starting this,” Bruen said. “But there will be many, many other hands in the future, many who haven’t even applied to Syracuse yet as students, so it’s very, very exciting,” Bruen said.

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