Microelectronics & Nanomanufacturing Certificate Program (MNCP) Empowers Veterans for High-Tech Careers

Southwestern College Microelectronics & Nanomanufacturing Certificate Program students posing with their certificate.
Veterans Resource Coordinator JD White, Cesar Jacobo, Marlon Mendoza, Professor Dmitriy Kalantarov, Hau’oli Kalauli, Noconda LeGrand and Professor Juan Gonzalez-Gonzalez (left to right).

In a remarkable showcase of resilience and determination, veterans participating in the Microelectronics & Nanomanufacturing Certificate (MNCP) program have demonstrated their ability to adapt and thrive in the rapidly advancing field of microelectronics and nanotechnology. This intensive program, aimed at equipping veterans with cutting-edge skills, has not only empowered them for high-tech careers but has also showcased the untapped potential within this talented cohort. Moreover, these graduates are well-positioned to take advantage of the coming explosion of manufacturing jobs in the semiconductor industry catalyzed by the recent passage of the CHIPS and Science Act.

Southwestern College Microelectronics & Nanomanufacturing Certificate Program student, Hau’oli Kalauli headshot.

“The MNCP program provided me with an incredible opportunity to explore a dynamic field and discover new career possibilities,” Hau’oli Kalauli. “It gave me a renewed sense of purpose and allowed me to set a positive example for my keiki (children).”

Southwestern College Microelectronics & Nanofabrication Certificate Program student, Marlon Mendoza headshot.

During their time in the program, the veterans gained valuable skills and knowledge about the latest advances in microelectronics and nanomanufacturing. Reflecting on their experiences, Marlon Mendoza expressed their enthusiasm for the program’s practical approach: “The hands-on labs, such as the microfluids lab, allowed us to delve into the intricate world of applying silicone-based liquids for medical benefits. It ignited a passion within me for the field.”

What sets the MNCP program apart is its commitment to inclusivity and the successful integration of veterans without prior STEM backgrounds. Despite entering the program with diverse skill sets, the veterans rose to the occasion and exceeded expectations.

Southwestern College Microelectronics & Nanofabrication Certificate Program professor, Juan Gonzalez-Gonzalez congratulating his graduating students.

“I am grateful for the mentorship and support provided by dedicated individuals like Dmitriy Kalantarov, and JD White,” shared Professor Juan Gonzalez-Gonzalez. “Their guidance played a crucial role in the success of the students and in ensuring that the vision of this grant project was realized.  “

As a result of their participation in the MNCP program, the veterans have not only gained technical expertise but have also opened doors to promising career opportunities. Companies such as TSMC, TEL, GLOBAL FOUNDRIES, SAMSUNG, and KLA present potential employment prospects offering highly competitive wages and benefits packages.

“I am excited about the future. The MNCP program has equipped me with the skills and knowledge needed to pursue advanced degrees or enter the workforce with confidence,” shared Kalauli. “I feel prepared to make a lasting impact in a high-tech industry.”

The success of the MNCP program stands as a testament to the collaborative efforts of all partners involved. The partnership between the program, Penn State, and UC San Diego has been vital in creating an environment where veterans can thrive and achieve their career aspirations.

“The support and resources provided by Penn State, and UC San Diego has been invaluable in shaping the students’ journeys,” expressed Professor Gonzalez-Gonzalez. “By combining our strengths and skill sets, we have opened a pipeline for the Southwestern College community   to break into great  careers which are also vital for our long-term national security.”

As the MNCP program continues to grow and expand its reach, it remains committed to providing opportunities for veterans to embark on transformative educational journeys. By nurturing talent and facilitating access to emerging technologies, the program aims to shape a future where veterans can leverage their unique skill sets and experiences to make a lasting impact in semiconductor and related industries .

The MNCP program’s graduates, including the remarkable veteran mother of five, stand as beacons of inspiration and exemplify the limitless potential that can be unlocked through educational opportunities and unwavering determination. Their stories serve as a reminder that with the right support and resources, veterans can forge successful careers in cutting-edge industries, contributing to technological advancements and economic growth. Students who are interested in applying for the second cohort of the MNCP can do so by clicking here. For more information about the program, inquiries may be directed to any of the members of the Southwestern College team below.

  • Prof. Juan Gonzalez, Co-PI (jgonzalez3@swccd.edu)
  • Prof. Dmitriy Kalantarov, Program Coordinator (dkalantarov@swccd.edu)
  • JD White, Veteran’s Resource Center Coordinator (jwhite2@swccd.edu)