Before Biden arrives, Micron meets with school, religious leaders to talk about the future of CNY’s chip fab

Representatives from Micron Technology made the rounds with local leaders in the Syracuse area in the days leading up to President Joe Biden’s visit to celebrate the computer chip maker’s promise to bring thousands of jobs to downtown New York.

This week, Micron officials have already met with business leaders, community residents, school wardens and faith leaders.

Later today, they will meet educators from around the region, including some community groups, at a forum at The Most in downtown Syracuse.

Some meetings were public, others private. People on the forums told syracuse.com | The post-standard that is Micron’s main message: They want to engage a large and diverse group of residents throughout the Syracuse area in workforce training, spin-off companies, and educational opportunities.

Meeting with faith leaders and school wardens is an unusual approach for a business, and certainly not typical, said Greg Loh, the chief policy officer for the city of Syracuse.

“Micron does an exceptional job demonstrating its dedication and interest in connecting quickly with the community,” he said. “That is not typical for most companies.”

Micron Technology’s has pledged to invest up to $100 billion in a computer chip manufacturing complex in Clay, which is expected to bring thousands of jobs to downtown New York over the next 20 years.

The Rev. H. Bernard Alex, bishop and senior pastor of the Victory Temple Fellowship Church on East Willow Street in Syracuse, said he was one of about 75 religious representatives who met representatives from Micron on Monday in Syracuse. It was a 90-minute meeting at the Oncenter, Alex said.

Micron told them they are committed to providing opportunities for everyone to work and be involved, Alex said Micron is committed to diversity and inclusion, and that’s part of the company’s identity, he said.

Robert Simmons III of Micron, the company’s chief of social impact and STEM programs, met with the Liverpool and Northern Syracuse inspectors and other administrators at the school district office in Liverpool earlier this week. The meeting lasted almost two hours.

Simmons also met with Le Moyne’s leadership team this morning at the newly opened Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Creativity (part of the Madden School of Business). They discussed technical capabilities and the university’s ERIE21 program, said Joseph Della Posta, speaking for the university. ERIE21 is a program designed to address high poverty in Syracuse and the inability of employers to attract and retain the skilled workers needed to fill current vacancies.

Later today, approximately 200 educators and inspectors from across central New York will attend an educators’ forum at The Most in Armory Square to learn more about Micron.

The invite-only event will focus on Micron and Micron Foundation’s commitment to STEM education, said Lauren Kochian, president of the MOST. That commitment extends to community groups like the MOST, and not just schools, she said.

Kochian said the forum gives educators the opportunity to “learn more and know what to expect from Micron in the future.”

Kochian said all local inspectors were invited to the forum and asked to share it with their principals and STEM administrators. The invitee list also includes all the teachers and schools the MOST partners are with, from field trips to programs, as well as the MOST board members and some MOST partners.

Micron has a history of investing in education in Idaho, where it is headquartered.

Micron has provided funding to open the Micron School of Material Science and Engineering at Boise State University.

The company has also invested heavily to help open the region’s first community college. The College of Western Idaho opened 14 years ago and quickly became one of the fastest-growing community colleges in the nation with more than 30,000 students.

Micron has also worked in the Boise community to spark the interest of K-12 students, including creating a “technology bus” that visits local schools to encourage STEM careers.

Micron met about 250 people in Clay’s offices Monday night, and also met business people at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo on Tuesday, along with Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon.

Micron announced his plans for Clay on October 4. The semiconductor manufacturing plant is said to create 9,000 jobs over the next 20 years, with an average wage of more than $100,000. In addition, according to the company, more than 40,000 jobs will be created with suppliers and other companies that want to locate near the factory.

Elizabeth Doran covers education, suburban government and development, breaking news, and more. Do you have a tip, comment or story idea? Contact her anytime at 315-470-3012 or email [email protected]

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