Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Industry Spotlight: Semiconductor

According to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), the U.S. semiconductor industry is America's #1 export industry over the last five years and a bellwether measurement of the U.S. economy. In 2010 alone, American semiconductor companies generated $144 Billion in sales and directly employed over 180,000 workers in the U.S. This industry is weathering a challenging economy quite well. In fact, the SIA just published a press release stating that worldwide semiconductor sales for 2011 reached a record $299.5 billion, a year-on-year increase of 0.4 percent from the $298.3 billion recorded in 2010. Major U.S. semiconductor companies include Freescale, Intel, Micron, and Samsung.

It is only fitting that a thriving industry would find a talented labor pool in veterans. Veterans, both Officer and Enlisted alike, with electronics, electrical, or mechanical training typically find the transition to this industry to be a suitable one. Military Technicians, such as Electronics Technicians (conventional, nuclear, avionics), Avionics Technicians, Fire Control Technicians, Machinist Mates, Equipment Technicians, and Systems Technicians, are well-suited for this transition, and officers with Engineering degrees are also particularly compatible with this industry.

One veteran excited to be a part of this industry is Dan Thiele, who was placed by Orion with Intel in November 2011. Thiele is now a Manufacturing Technician at Intel and has found his military background to be very useful. “I retired from the Navy in August 2011 as a Chief Sonar Technician with 24 years of active service. My Navy background provided me with technical skills, a solid work ethic, and the ability to quickly adjust to a changing environment and work on unfamiliar equipment, all of which help me greatly in my new job,” explains Thiele.

Brandon Ferran transitioned from his position in the Navy as a Nuclear Power Officer to a career with Lam Research, a wafer fabrication equipment and services company, as a Project Manager in 2010. He credits his time in the Navy with giving him the background he needed to succeed. “My experience as a nuclear submarine officer provided a strong technical background and operational experience. When combined with the managerial and leadership skills that all JMOs develop, I think it will be a background that I draw heavily from in my new industry,” said Ferran at the time of his placement.

Veteran placements like that of Thiele and Ferran are not unique. Orion has facilitated the placement of nearly 2,000 veterans into this industry since our inception in 1991. With the ever-increasing interest in wireless items like the iPad, etc, this industry can expect continued growth as their products power these items and much more.

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