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SAM-TAP Program Launched to Support State Efforts to Develop Strategic Talent Pipelines

Updated: Jan 8

Initiative expands support to states to broaden access to high-value careers, support employers in establishing Registered Apprenticeship Programs, and limit the need to spend state taxpayer funds by leveraging existing federal dollars.


January 4, 2024


Media Contact: Stephanie Frederick


HANOVER, MD – Today the National Institute for Innovation and Technology—the nation’s leader in the semiconductor talent pipeline development and U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) national Intermediary responsible for establishing and expanding Registered Apprenticeships (RAs) throughout semiconductor and nanotechnology-related industry supply chains—launched the national Semiconductor and Advanced Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship Program (SAM-TAP).


The Institute’s SAM-TAP initiative is designed to build the nation’s ecosystem of talent needed to support the semiconductor industry and broader advanced manufacturing. Through SAM-TAP, and in collaboration with state apprenticeship offices and commerce departments, the Institute will provide states, employers, and training providers Intermediary services free of charge to develop innovative, competency-based Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAPs). As part of the program, the Institute’s subject matter experts will work with community colleges and training providers to establish the Required Technical Instruction (RTI) to support the programs.

“The Institute is the only organization in the nation with the experience and high-level subject matter expertise required to effectively establish RAs designed for the semiconductor industry. To meet the demand for microchips and related materials, the White House has said the country will need 90,000 to 100,000 more semiconductor technicians. As the leaders in building talent pipelines in this space, we know how critical it is for us to partner at the state level to support government agencies, employers, and educational institutions in their efforts to establish RAPs and develop a skilled workforce that’s ready to meet that growing demand,” said Martha Ponge, the Institute’s Director of National Apprenticeships and former mechanical engineer, who will be leading the program.


Through SAM-TAP, the Institute will provide full Intermediary services at no cost to state agencies, employers, and training providers, and when necessary, can provide individual, group, or national apprenticeship program sponsorship. The ability for people to “learn while they earn” is key in providing gateways to high-value careers for individuals without degrees in what is a strategically important industry. Importantly, the Institute can work with state agencies and other state Intermediaries and organizations under contract by states that are aligned with the services provided under SAM-TAP. By doing so, the Institute will facilitate the process to ensure services are blended when employers, individuals and training providers are referred to the Institute for program development.


Under SAM-TAP, existing non-registered programs can be transitioned into Registered Programs, allowing existing efforts to be seamlessly integrated so employers and individuals can realize the full benefits of federally recognized Registered Apprenticeships. In addition, the Institute can provide funding to help employers and training providers establish scalable, sustainable programs, as well as provide wrap-around services to help lower barriers to individual participation. This funding is provided each year to program participants on a first-come, first-served basis.

Through the initiative, the Institute will also work with states, K-12 education systems, and Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs to ensure curriculum is aligned with industry requirements, creating a career and education pathway through the U.S. public education system. Curriculum alignment, skills assessments/gap analysis, career and education mapping, and connections to Registered Apprenticeship opportunities are facilitated through the Institute’s National Talent Hub. The development of the Hub was supported by the National Science Foundation Career and Technological Education program (NSF-ATE) and the USDOL Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and is designed to help facilitate state and place-based economic development.


“The Institute is responsible for a national strategy to build the talent pipeline to support strategic industry sectors – those important to national security and global competitiveness. As we look at how to build the semiconductor talent pipeline, there are some considerations that are addressed in our strategy. First, because of the limited number of actual jobs in the semiconductor industry and the fact that the industry is cyclical in nature, we need to build a broad base of talent that has the foundational, transferrable skills required in advanced manufacturing and tech careers in general,” said Mike Russo, President and CEO of the Institute.


“Secondly, we need to ensure the K-12 system has a strong-skills based component and is connected to gateway positions, enabling entry into high-value careers through technician roles and the ability to “ladder up”, and third, we need to attract individuals who may not otherwise be able to - or be inclined to - participate by providing the opportunity to ‘learn while they earn.’ Under SAM-TAP, we are extending our services directly to states, leveraging federally funded initiatives and supporting the effort with the required technical assistance, facilitation, programs, and infrastructure, at no cost to state taxpayers,” said Russo.

Since work began under the USDOL contract in 2022, the Institute has engaged 79 employers to establish programs in 17 states and has over 4,500 apprentices committed to its Growing Apprenticeships in Nanotechnology and Semiconductors (GAINS) program. The Institute established the first semiconductor-specific RAs in the nation under GAINS, which are designed to better fit the requirements of today’s tech-based careers and advanced manufacturing, easing administrative burden and providing opportunities to scale for employers with multiple sites and other job occupations.


State representatives and semiconductor supply chain employers are encouraged to reach out to the Institute directly to learn how to participate in the program.


For more information, contact Stephanie Frederick, the Institute’s Manager of Outreach, Engagement, and Communications, at or visit  


About the National Institute for Innovation and Technology


The Institute is a 501(c)(3) with a mission to identify roadblocks to innovation in strategic industry sectors, those important to the U.S. national security and global competitiveness, and ensure they are eliminated. The Institute is responsible for a national strategy to support the development of the talent pipeline required for the Semiconductor Industry, including Advanced Manufacturing and the tech sector. The Institute’s National Talent Pipeline Development Initiative represents a comprehensive, nationally integrated approach that enables broader participation by promoting skills-based learning and hiring, connecting the public education system, returning service members and their families and adults from other occupations to related technician and engineering careers. For more information about the Institute, visit



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