SIA Webinar
The U.S. Semiconductor Workforce: Challenges and Opportunities to Attracting Skilled Talent

Date: Thursday, April 21
Time: 2 pm EDT

The U.S. semiconductor industry is essential to the U.S. economy, significantly contributing to U.S. GDP, stimulating jobs, and paying income to workers. The industry continues to grow and innovate; however, companies are faced with many challenges to growing its workforce with skilled technicians and engineers. To meet the growing demand for skilled workers, the U.S. must find innovative ways to attract skilled talent and strengthen the domestic semiconductor workforce ecosystem.

Please join panelist from academia, government, and industry to discuss the U.S. semiconductor industry’s workforce. Speakers include Dr. Loria Gordon, Associate Dean at Jackson State University; Leah Palmer, Executive Director AzAMI Workforce at the Maricopa Country Community Colleges; Dr. Kara Perry, Education & Workforce Development Co-Lead and SCALE Program Manager at the Department of Defense; Tara McCaughey Workforce Development Lead at GlobalFoundries; and Robert Geer, Workforce Development lead at NY Creates. The session will be moderated by Robert Casanova, Director of Industry Statistics and Economy Policy at SIA.


Investing in Business-Education Partnerships to Enhance the Talent Pipelines
Tara McCaughey, GlobalFoundries

Creating a Skilled Worker Pipeline for Microelectronics
Dr. Kara Perry, Department of Defense

Academic/Industry Partnerships: The New York State Model
Robert Geer, NY Creates

Partnerships Building a Pipeline Together
Leah Palmer, Maricopa Country Community Colleges



April 21, 2022




Loria Brown Gordon, Ph.D.
Associate Dean, Du Bois – Harvey Honors College
Jackson State University

Loria Brown Gordon, Ph.D., has 26 years of experience as an administrator, educator, evaluator, presenter, and trainer. Dr. Gordon, a visionary leader, has supervised, restructured, and enhanced various units, departments, and programs during her administrative tenures: Career Services Center, Center for Disabilities, Du Bois-Harvey Honors College, Counseling and Psychological Services, Student Life, TRIO Programs, and Undergraduate Studies. Dr. Gordon served as Associate Dean of Honors College, Interim Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Special Assistant to the Assistant Provost for Student Life, Assistant Professor (graduate faculty status), and Principal Investigator of TRiO Programs. She has successfully authored, implemented, and administered more than 5 million dollars in grant-funded programs. Dr. Gordon, a certified teacher and school administrator, is a transformational leader committed to implementing model grant programs and redesigning departments, programs, and events to create models and solve problems to develop student success. She is married to Vince, and together they have six children.


Leah Palmer
Executive Director AzAMI Workforce
Maricopa Country Community Colleges

Leah has established a proven record of transformative and innovative results with over 20 years of hands-on experience forging collaborative partnerships and cworkforce solutions such as building needed talent pipelines for accelerated technician training in aerospace and semiconductor sectors, serving hundreds of students for the Aerospace and Semiconductor advanced manufacturing companies like Boeing, Intel and others. Next on the horizon is the Electric Vehicle manufacturing technicians growing technicians with the “future of work” skills needed for tomorrows’ jobs.

As the current Executive Director for the Arizona Advanced Manufacturing Institute (AzAMI), she has developed workforce implementation strategies for the manufacturing sector, connecting the talent supply with competency-based training in automation, robotics, electronics, 3D printing, drafting, machining and welding programs effectively addressing the growing workforce demands in Arizona. Her expertise is strategic planning, program design, grants management, and building a systems approach to support economic impact by developing collaborative processes that bring together education, workforce resources and industry partners.


Dr. Kara Perry
Education & Workforce Development Co-Lead and SCALE Program Manager
Department of Defense

Dr. Kara Perry is the Education & Workforce Development Co-Lead for OUSD(R&E)Trusted & Assured Microelectronics (T&AM) Program.  She also serves as the PM for SCALE (Scalable Asymmetric Lifecycle Engagement) Workforce Development project.  Kara started her career as an instructor at the Naval Nuclear Power School teaching reactor principles after receiving her B.S. in Applied Mathematics from Michigan Technological University.  After leaving the Navy, she received a Ph.D. in Space Plasma Physics from Dartmouth College.  Since then, she has worked for AFRL, NSWC Dahlgren, and NSWC Crane in various roles ranging from numerical modeling, data analysis, and model validation in the areas of radiation environment, space weather, and Earth environments.


Tara McCaughey
Workforce Development Lead

Tara McCaughey is the Workforce Development Lead at GlobalFoundries in Malta, NY.  Her background includes experience in the semiconductor industry as an engineer and HR professional, as well as experience in secondary education teaching math and STEM courses.  She received her BS in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University, and her MBA and MEd from Arizona State University.  Her focus now lies in workforce development and education outreach, to help build the STEM talent pipeline in our region.  STEM@GF was created to inspire students, who are our future workforce, to understand semiconductors and the many career pathways into this exciting industry.


Robert Geer
Workforce Development Lead
NY Creates

Robert Geer is a Professor of Nanoscale Science in SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE). His teaching and research areas focus on integrated circuit (IC) metrology, fabrication, and advanced materials development. Professor Geer is the Director of Education and Workforce Development for AIM Photonics, a Manufacturing-USA institute. Professor Geer is also the Principal Investigator and Executive Director of the NSF-funded Northeast Advanced Technological Education Center (NEATEC) which develops and promotes advanced education and training program development for the U.S. semiconductor and nanotechnology manufacturing industries. He has led the development of a range of workforce training programs for the semiconductor industry including technician training programs for several chip manufacturers and toolmakers. Professor Geer’s education-development team has also recently founded a DoD SkillBridge training program, the VET Semiconductor Training and Experience Program (VET S.T.E.P.) to provide skills to transitioning U.S. military personnel for semiconductor manufacturing. He has led a wide range of research programs at SUNY Poly which include design, development and fabrication of novel 3D integrated circuits, investigation of variability and manufacturability of integrated photonics devices and structures, reliability of resistive RAM, development of graphene for next-generation interconnects, Si-based nanowire materials for energy applications and integrated circuits, and development of nanoscale metrology tools for measurement and characterization of nanodevice structures. His research has been supported by: NSF, GlobalFoundries, IBM, AMD, ONR, the New York State Office of Academic Research and Technology, International Sematech, AFOSR, DARPA, and the SRC. Professor Geer has presented over 75 papers at technical conferences and has published more than 100 articles, book chapters, or proceedings on nanoscale materials, devices, and nanoscale characterization.


Robert Casanova
Director, Industry Statistics and Economic Policy
Semiconductor Industry Association

Robert Casanova is the Director of Industry Statistics and Economic Policy at the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), where he directs SIA’s statistics, data analysis, and industry research. Prior to joining SIA, Robert was an Industry Analyst and commodities expert at the U.S. International Trade Commission where he was responsible for research and market analysis of the semiconductor, robotics, and AI industries. Robert also worked on the staff of Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), where he handled the Senator’s International Trade, Small Business, and Indian Affairs legislative portfolio. Robert received a M.A. in International Economics from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).