I’m sitting here, flipping through memories of 2021 like it was a Rolodex, sorting through the highlights, lowlights, and Aha! moments to share with you in this  3D InCites Yearbook editorial. And then I realize I’m dating myself, because how many people under the age of 35 know what a Rolodex is? But the analogy to Hubspot or some other CRM — that’s customer relationship management, for you old-timers — doesn’t give the same mental picture so I’m sticking with it.

Why do I care if someone under the age of 35 understands my reference? Because believe it or not, one of my Aha! moments of 2021 was discovering, by the power of Google Analytics, that the largest segment of our readers (42%) falls between the ages of 18 and 34. And almost 38% falls between the ages of 35-54. In fact, only 20% of our readership is older than 55.

This is a pretty big deal. Because as more of the semiconductor industry workforce approaches retirement age, the talent shortage is worsening. It’s more important than ever to reach a young audience – one that might consider a future in microelectronics and semiconductor manufacturing if they knew how interesting and exciting it is.

That’s one reason we started the 3D InCites Podcast – to meet our audience through a medium that they use often. Who listens to podcasts? According to Edison Research’s Infinite Dial Report, 49% of monthly U.S. podcast listeners are aged between 18-34, 40% between 35 and 54 years old, and 22% are aged over 55. Just look at how those numbers line up with ours!

We’ve also dedicated this Yearbook issue to inspiring young engineers to pursue careers in the semiconductor industry. In our Cover Story, Looking Ahead to Inspire the Innovators of the Future, I speak with Lena Nicolaides, Sr. VP, and GM at KLA, about the company’s efforts in recruiting, retaining, and sustaining talent. KLA’s initiatives extend from within the company itself, to the surrounding communities, reaching children as early as kindergarten age. We also invited interns at our member companies to submit essays on their internship experience, in the hope of inspiring others to join this exciting industry. Their stories begin here.

Getting back to in-person events was a major highlight of 2021. Steffen Kröhnert represented 3D InCites at SEMI Europe’s Packaging Technology Seminar and SEMICON Europa. I attended both the IMAPS International Symposium and SEMICON West and brought our podcast recording equipment along to capture all the conversations we’ve been missing over the past two years. You’ll find photos here.

Both SEMI and IMAPS recognize the importance of reaching a younger audience. We’re working with these industry organizations to help spread the word about the importance of sustainable semiconductor manufacturing and diversity equity and inclusion (DEI). We partnered with SEMI to be the Official Podcast of SEMICON West 2021, and plan to expand that relationship in 2022.

One of our first big moments of 2022 is becoming Official Industry Partners with the International Microelectronics Society (IMAPS). We’ve always had media trades, but as we recognize the synergies between our two organizations, we decided to formalize the relationship.

Our first order of business was integrating the 3D InCites Awards and DEI fundraising more definitively into the IMAPS Device Packaging Conference agenda. Beth Keser, president of IMAPS, served as one of the technology judges and will help present the awards. Our Mural Fundraiser is happening again, and we’re also hosting the first-ever Hike for DEI, sponsored by KLA. 100% of the proceeds from the mural and hike benefit the 3D InCites DEI Fund, established in 2021 to help tech start-ups owned by women and underrepresented minorities grow and thrive.

It goes without saying that the lowlight of 2021 was the emergence of the Omicron variant. Just when it looked like things were getting back to normal, there it was to remind us that COVID is something that we’re going to be dealing with for some time to come. But don’t let it get you down. Despite it, our industry is on an upward trajectory and we’ve all had a pretty good year. Remember that, and try to stay safe, everybody!

Francoise von Trapp

They call me the “Queen of 3D” because I have been following the course of…

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