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Clark College News and Events

May 5, 2009

For Immediate Release

Lisa Anderson, SEMI Foundation,

Lisa Nisenfeld, Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council,

Joe Hirschmugl, Underwriters Laboratory, 847-830-1404

Barbara Kerr, Clark College,




From Underwriters Laboratories to Clark College,
a three-day program will inspire
regional high school students
to think creatively and confidently about their future —
opening a world of high-tech career possibilities


CAMAS, Wash. For three days, 30 students from four Clark County high schools will be learning about high-tech careers that most of them probably never imagined as they attend SEMI High Tech U. at Underwriters Laboratories in Camas and Clark College in Vancouver. 

Taking place from May 12-14, this will be the first SEMI High Tech U. session for students in Washington state. 

SEMI High Tech U is an industry-driven math- and science-based career exploration program produced and presented by the non-profit SEMI Foundation in partnership with co-sponsors Underwriters Laboratories, the Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council (SWWDC), WorkSystems Inc., the SEMI Pacific Northwest Steering Committee and Clark College, the program’s higher-learning partner. The program is funded in part by a Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) grant administered by Worksystems, Inc.

Students from Battle Ground, Hockinson, Prairie, and Washougal High Schools will participate in this program. The curriculum includes hands-on experiments that introduce electronics and semiconductor-manufacturing concepts and explain microchip logic, as well as sessions on educational pathways and career planning.

The sessions will be held at the Camas Underwriters Laboratories facility, 2600 NW Lake Rd., Camas, and Clark College, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver. The initiative is part of the region’s larger workforce development strategy to engage more youth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and careers.


About SEMI High Tech U.


Semiconductors and electronics are driving many things today, including the technology that will help save the planet from global warming; technology that enables crime-solving forensics; technology behind cars of the future, like the Silicon Valley-born Tesla; and technology that tracks, and someday hopefully, will help save everything from our ocean’s fish populations to the arctic polar bear.  Add to this list the iPhone and every other handheld device and video game that kids know and love, and you’ve got a compelling platform for capturing the imagination of students and getting them excited about the possibilities of careers in high tech.

That’s where SEMI High Tech U comes in.

“The SEMI Foundation is committed to continuously developing and presenting High Tech U learning modules that are engaging, exciting, fun, and relevant—relevant to both students and our SEMI member companies and other industry sponsors,” says SEMI Foundation vice president Lisa Anderson.  “High Tech U channels this excitement by incorporating learning modules that introduce students to leading-edge technologies that are being driven by the semiconductor industry—technologies such as nanotechnology, MEMS and solar.”

Since SEMI High Tech U began in 2001, 86 programs have been delivered to 2362 students and 476 teachers in the United States, Austria, France, Japan and Singapore.

Supporting high-tech demand – today and for the future

In addition to Underwriters Laboratories, Clark County Washington is home to over 340 high-technology companies that employ over 8,000 workers. Among these are: Hewlett-Packard, Linear Technology, Sharp Microelectronics of the Americas, Sharp Laboratories, nLight Photonics, SEH America, and WaferTech. Vancouver is the port of entry for Vestas and Siemens wind energy firms continuing the spirit of innovation and technology. 

In Cowlitz County, the demand for science, math and engineering skills is accompanying the reinvention of such industries as paper making, glass package manufacturing and environmental/nutricutical/pharmaceutical analysis.  These technology based firms employ thousands of workers at such companies as Columbia Analytical Systems, Cameron Family Glass Packaging and Weyerhaeuser. 

And, despite the current economic downturn, the industry stands to benefit from a larger pool of local engineering and technology graduates in the future.  SEMI High Tech U aims to ensure that Southwest Washington area high school students will be part of tomorrow’s high-tech workforce by energizing and exciting them about math and science, and high tech careers.

“This is exactly the kind of hands-on, real world engagement you need to ignite that spark about STEM careers.  So many people don’t comprehend how math and science are used in the work world and, as a result, their interest in math and science rarely moves past the required courses in school.  We see this as an opportunity to build the pipeline of STEM workers for our local area employers,” said Lisa Nisenfeld, SWWDC executive director.

“Our success as a global product safety certification organization depends on the work of hundreds of dedicated engineers, scientists and other high tech professionals working in a broad cross section of industries,” says Ralph Parker, vice president of Operations and North American Industrial Sector Leader for Underwriters Laboratories (UL). “Supporting SEMI High Tech U complements our 115-year Public Safety Mission.  It’s great to get the opportunity to help ensure that young people here in Southwest Washington are introduced to math and science-based career possibilities. We are always looking for the best and brightest in math and sciences to be part of Underwriters Laboratories.”  

“Clark College is committed to provide opportunities for students,” said Clark College President Robert K. Knight.  “High Tech U. is a great example.  We know that math and science are important to the future of our region – and our country.  We’re excited about this opportunity for students to visit our main campus and get a sense of the exciting programs that we offer and learn what the college experience can be like.” 

Knight noted that the Washington State Legislature has approved funding for the design of a new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) building which will be built at the corner of Fort Vancouver Way and Fourth Plain Blvd.


About Our Partners


Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is an independent product safety certification organization that has been testing products and writing Standards for Safety for over a century. UL evaluates more than 19,000 types of products, components, materials and systems annually with 20 billion UL Marks appearing on 72,000 manufacturers' products each year. UL's worldwide family of companies and network of service providers includes 64 laboratory, testing and certification facilities serving customers in 98 countries. For more information, visit:

Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council (SWWDC) provides leadership and resources to increase economic development by providing a trained and productive workforce in Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties.  Led by a diverse board of representatives from business, labor, community-based organizations and government agencies, the SWWDC responds to the unique needs of SW Washington. For more information, visit

SEMI is the global industry association serving the manufacturing supply chains for the microelectronic, display and photovoltaic industries. SEMI member companies are the engine of the future, enabling smarter, faster and more economical products that improve our lives. Since 1970, SEMI has been committed to helping members grow more profitably, create new markets and meet common industry challenges. SEMI maintains offices in Austin, Beijing, Brussels, Hsinchu, Moscow, San Jose, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit

Founded in 1933 and currently celebrating its 75th anniversary, Clark College is the second largest community and technical college in Washington State. Each quarter, Clark College welcomes more than 12,500 students who are taking classes in over 100 programs to earn certificates and associate degrees.   In addition to the main campus in Vancouver’s Central Park, programs are offered at Clark College at Town Plaza and Clark College at WSU Vancouver.  This fall, Clark College at Columbia Tech Center will open its doors – The Next Step for the next 75 years.  Information about Clark College is available at



EDITOR’S NOTE:  The best visual opportunities for SEMI High Tech U are as follows:


Tuesday, May 12 -- Underwriters Laboratories (UL), 2600 NW Lake Rd., Camas


  • 11 a.m.- 1:00 p.m. — VIP Welcome Session.  Students will be greeted by executives from Underwriters Laboratories, Clark College, SEMI Foundation, High Tech U staff, participating students, and community leaders.

  • 11:25 a.m.-12:30 p.m.Hacky Sack Catapult: The air is filled with hacky sacks as students learn how medieval technology relates to modern day chip making in a math and statistics exercise called “Statapul.t”

  • 4:30-5:00 p.m. — Human Calculator: Using a “feet on” exercise, as in the game “Twister,” students try not to get tangled up as they simulate electron microprocessor flow.


Wednesday, May 13 -- Clark College, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver

  • 10-11:30 a.m. — Energy In, Light Out: Students learn about solar technology.
  • Noon-1:00 p.m. & 1:45-3 p.m. — Electronics/Circuit Design; “Scratch” Computer Programming; Civil/Mechanical Engineering: Students roll up their sleeves and get hands-on experience.


Thursday, May 14 -- Underwriters Laboratories (UL), 2600 NW Lake Rd., Camas

  • 10:40 a.m.-12:10 p.m. —UL Facility Tour

  • 3:00-4:00 p.m. — Mock Job Interviews: Students learn how to interview for a job and then practice their skills in a one-on-one mock job interview.

  • 4:45-5:15 p.m. — Graduation and Awarding of Scholarships: Family and friends gather as students receive graduation certificates, and $1,000 scholarships are awarded to two students.



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