Center of Excellence for Semiconductors & Electronic Manufacturing opens in Vancouver
OLYMPIA, Wash. — A new Center of Excellence for Semiconductors & Electronic Manufacturing just opened in Vancouver, creating a powerful boost for the high-tech industry in southwest Washington. The center will pair industry leaders and colleges to train students for in-demand jobs and create a highly skilled workforce for new and growing businesses.
The new center is operating under the leadership of the Center of Excellence for Aerospace & Advanced Manufacturing at Everett Community College, which recently hired Mohammed Maraee as an associate director to lead the Vancouver effort. Maraee formerly worked for the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center and is earning his doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University.
“We’re grateful legislators recognized the need for a presence in southwest Washington,” said Mary Kaye Bredeson, executive director of the Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing. “This is an exciting opportunity for synergy in a growing industry.”
The state Legislature provided $300,000 in the 2019-21 state budget for the new center at the request of the Southwest Washington High Technology Council (HTC). Made up of representatives of high-tech manufacturing firms, the council’s members together employ more than 4,000 people in Clark County. The council is chaired by Ben Bagherpour, vice president of Site Services & Government Affairs at SEH America in Vancouver and a member of the governor-appointed Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.
“The HTC is pleased to now have a single point of contact that we can reach out to. The associate director will be our point person to understand high-tech manufacturing companies’ workforce and education needs and to work with the K-12 and higher education systems to develop and align programs to meet these needs,” said Bagherpour.
The new Center of Excellence is located at Educational Service District 112 with office space at Clark College. It is one of 11 in Washington state. Created by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, Centers of Excellence serve as statewide liaisons representing the needs and interests of specific industry sectors. Through an ongoing investment, centers are charged with narrowing the gap between employer workforce needs and the colleges’ supply of work-ready graduates. The centers are a critical component of the state’s strategy of sustaining an innovative and vibrant economy.
Washington state has designated the semiconductor industry in southwest Washington as an industry of statewide significance.
Photo: Members of the Southwest Washington High Technology Council (HTC) with Mohammed Maraee (center, with tie), associate director of the Center of Excellence for Aerospace & Advanced Manufacturing. Left of Maraee: Clark College Foundation Chief Executive Officer Lisa Gilbert (navy sweater), Clark College Interim President Sandra Fowler-Hill (in gray suit) and HTC Chairman Ben Bagherpour (light blue shirt). The council sought and received legislative funding to open the Center of Excellence for Semiconductors & Electronic Manufacturing in Vancouver, Washington.