MALTA — Pressed by a shortage of job candidates with technical and mechanical skills, GlobalFoundries is offering paid training for new workers at its Fab 8 computer chip factory in Malta.
The company is hoping to hire 100 maintenance technicians and other engineering/technology workers. It will hold interviews at the Hyatt Hotel in Malta from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
Fab 8 Director of Human Resources Jordan Steller said the new program is an entry-level opportunity. Trainees will be paid $15 to $16 an hour during a two-year period of classroom training, hands-on work in production areas and optional college courses.
The ideal candidate will have some mechanical aptitude, skill and experience, such as with auto repair, but needn’t have a technical background in computers or clean-room environments like the ones in which GlobalFoundries manufactures semiconductors.
The announcement might seem at odds with recent events in GlobalFoundries, which in August announced plans to cut its worldwide workforce by a few percentage points. The cutback was more like 12 percent At Fab 8 in Malta, where company officials told state Department of Labor officials that 424 workers would lose their jobs. The company at the same time said it would reduce its much-smaller presence at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany by 21 workers.
Steller said Wednesday that the jobs cut last August were mostly in research and development, and were eliminated in line with the revised strategy GlobalFoundries had just announced, which called for it to stop developing the next generation of smaller microchips.
The positions that the company now seeks to train people to fill are production jobs, and GlobalFoundries has had a steady demand for them, Steller said. There are many employers competing for a finite pool of job candidates with enough military or technical or academic training that they can walk into Fab 8 able to fulfill the necessary functions, he said. So the company decided to begin the Global Technicians Training Program.
“Someone who can hit the ground running is in demand,” he said. “I’d say there is a shortage issue. There’s a lot of [recruiters] that are targeting the same profile.”
This program is specific to Fab 8 in Malta, Steller said, although other GlobalFoundries sites have their own initiatives, such as a recently announced apprenticeship program at the plant near Burlington, Vermont.
“We’re excited to be able to do this,” he added.
When trainees complete the program at Fab 8, they’ll get a pay hike and embark on a career track to potential further advancement in duties and salary, Steller said. He declined to give a pay range, but said it would be competitive within the industry. The last thing GlobalFoundries would want to do, he said, is take the time and expense to train a workforce and then lose it to a competitor that pays more.
It’s physical work, but not physically demanding, Steller said.
Clean-room production workers wear goggles and wrap up in suits that cover nearly their entire bodies, wearing cool clothing underneath so as to not get too warm. It’s a 12-hour shift, but only three or four days a week. There’s a lot of walking but no heavy lifting and no great athleticism required — candidates are given a drug screening but not a medical exam.
GlobalFoundries is calling Saturday’s event an interview event rather than a job fair, as there’s only one employer and candidates will be interviewed on the spot.
Steller said those interested should register in advance at www.GFCareersMalta.com but won’t be turned away if they haven’t. They should bring identification and a copy of their resume to the Hyatt on Saturday.