The CHIPS for Virginia Summit commenced at Northrop Grumman's headquarters on July 18th. During the event, Governor Glenn Youngkin and U.S. Senator Mark Warner participated in the signing of a memorandum of understanding, officially launching the Virginia Alliance for Semiconductor Technology (VAST). Virginia introduced this initiative in April to cultivate a semiconductor industry workforce pipeline and attract semiconductor manufacturing projects to the state, leveraging the momentum generated by the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022.

Under the leadership of Virginia Tech and in collaboration with the University of Virginia, George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Norfolk State University, and Northern Virginia Community College, VAST will be funded by a $3.3 million grant from the state's GO Virginia economic development initiative.

VAST aims to establish three 10-week Fast Track to Semiconductor Careers certificate programs, namely Chip Fabrication and Nano Characterization, Semiconductor Packaging and Characterization, and Semiconductor Equipment Maintenance and Repair. The initiative plans to enroll approximately 300 students each year, with preferences given to veterans and underserved communities. The programs are scheduled to commence in spring 2024. Over the course of the two-year grant period, VAST intends to train 600 adult learners, award 550 certificates, and create up to 100 internships.

By partnering with VAST, Virginia's colleges and universities will develop a skilled workforce that can revitalize domestic chip manufacturing. Governor Glenn Youngkin expressed his commitment to fostering innovation by emphasizing the importance of talent.

According to Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) President and CEO Jason El Koubi, strong university partnerships, strategic programs, and an ongoing talent pipeline are crucial for attracting talent in this industry. He believes that VAST will be a distinct and compelling asset that can be showcased as Virginia continues to actively pursue this dynamic and expanding sector.