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A Brief History of MATEC

In 1994-95 the Maricopa Community Colleges, under the leadership of Vice-Chancellor Dr. Alfredo G. de los Santos Jr. collaborated with schools and companies in the Arizona Semiconductor Industry Partnership to develop the concept of a national center for education and development in the semiconductor manufacturing and related industries.  Working with a planning grant from the National Science Foundation, they submitted a proposal for a national center to the Advanced Technological Education Program with Dr. de los Santos Jr. as Principal Investigator, Cathleen Barton from Intel and Tom Lorig from Motorola University were the Co-Principal Investigators.  The grant was awarded on September 1, 1996 for five million dollars over a six-year period.  This represented the NSF's "venture capital" for creating a permanent self-sustaining center.

In late 1996 the Center's first employee, Director Michael Lesiecki, was hired.  The Maricopa Colleges provided the physical office space for the Center at Rio Salado Community College.  The Center opened for business on March 1, 1997 with a staff of five.

MATEC Staff, early 1997

In the Summer of 1997 the Center assumed the sponsorship of the annual Advanced Technological Education in Semiconductor Manufacturing (ATESM) Conference.

Over the years the Center enjoyed a particularly close working relationship with industry by working with SEMATECH (now International SEMATECH).  The Center assumed the semiconductor manufacturing technician curriculum developed by SEMATECH and its partners.  MATEC was charged with carrying forward and developing curriculum materials and faculty professional development.

At the time of its inception, there were 32 schools in the U.S. that offered programs related to semiconductor manufacturing technology.  Frank Squires, C.O.O. of SEMATECH became the first Chairman of MATEC's National Advisory Board, and the website was launched.

In MATEC's early years, a systematic, modularized, competency-based curriculum and materials structure was created with the first module, number 40 Photolithography Process, published in late 1998.  A unique, first of its kind, hybrid electronic delivery method was developed to insure rapid updates for modules.  The Faculty Electronic Performance Support System (FEPSS) allowed users to access and performance support.  SEMATECH's Partnering for Workforce Development program, supported in-part by the Center, rapidly expanded the number of schools offering programs to 78 in late 1998.  George Scalise, President of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) assumed the chairmanship role of MATEC's advisory board as the workforce development project transitioned to the SIA.

In 2000, in collaboration with SEMI's Technician Performance Improvement Council (formerly sponsored by the Semiconductor Industry Suppliers Association), the Center published the industry's first Skill Standards for Semiconductor Manufacturing - Equipment Technicians.  The total published curriculum modules rose to 32 and version II of the MATEC Electronic Performance Support System (MEPSS) for electronic delivery of material was introduced.  Over 600 faculty had participated in one or more MATEC workshops by that time.  Stan Myers, President of SEMI (Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International) assumed chairmanship of the advisory board.  MATEC staff had risen to ten and Director Lesiecki assumed the Principal Investigator position upon Dr. de los Santos Jr.'s retirement.  The Maricopa Colleges began to assume a 25% share of the Center's funding.

MATEC Staff, 1999

In 2001 the Center's annual conference was co-joined with the Technician Council's annual conference to provide an opportunity for enhanced industry/education collaboration.  MATEC's partner schools numbered over 100 plus 12 international educational institutions.  MATEC staff increased to 13.

MATEC Staff, 2001

The Center first exhibited at the industry's major trade show, SEMICON West in July.  The Academic Membership Program was launched, a program for community colleges to make use of all the resources that the Center provides, and in turn, to strengthen the link between colleges and MATEC.

In August 2002, the Center concluded its first phase of development with the publication of its 50th curriculum module and its second standards Skill Standards for Technicians Working in Highly Automated Environments.  Over 1000 faculty have participated in workshops and over 150 faculty have used the curriculum modules and system at 56 different institutions.  Seven industry members have purchased modules for their internal training.  The years 2001 and 2002 were very difficult for the industry due to the economic down turn .  The affected educational institutions and their ability to attract students to the programs.  By this time there has been some contracture and re-organization of programs.  The number of schools offering direct semiconductor programs decreased to 65.  In spite of these cycles, the Center and its partners continued to build long term strength and relationships.

MATEC Staff, 2002

In September 2002 the Center began a new phase of NSF funding focused on the dissemination of its products and programs.  This grant for $300,000 per year for three-years will enable the widespread use of the materials.

Now in its seventh year the Center is focused on broadening its support of community colleges' technology programs with expansion into areas of electronics and automation.  The Center is supported in-part by federal grants, corporate foundation grants, the Maricopa Community Colleges, its Academic Members and revenues generated from the sales of its products and services.

In the future the Center is positioned to continue its "bridge" role between industry and education and will increase its value and return on investment to both its education and industry stake-holders.



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