Micron’s expansion could boost STEM funding to Idaho schools

The Micron Foundation plans to boost contributions to STEM programs throughout the state as a result of Micron’s $15 billion Boise expansion, the company announced Sept. 1. The foundation’s goal is to remove barriers for underserved students and create opportunities for young Idahoans to work in the semiconductor field.

The exact amount of additional STEM funding has not yet been determined, according to Micron Foundation Executive Director Dee Mooney, but it will follow the company’s commitment to expanding access to the engineering pipeline.

Since it formed in 1999, the foundation has distributed nearly $100 million to STEM programs in Idaho, including robotics camps, science competitions, job shadow programs and rural education initiatives. At least $2 million has gone to local education foundations to support school districts, through the organization’s employee matching gifts and grant programs.

Chip Camp, a foundation-funded annual summer camp, teaches 8th and 9th graders about the engineering behind memory chips and semiconductors.

This summer, the Micron Foundation worked with the Wilder School District to transport students to the camp, an example of its commitment to expanding access to STEM for underserved students, which include female, Black, Hispanic and rural students, said Mooney. The foundation determines this by looking at college engineering enrollments.

Access to foundation funding is by invitation only, said Mooney, but organizations like the Idaho STEM Action Center partner with the foundation to make money available to school districts and nonprofits for projects that fit Micron’s mission.

“We’re incredibly excited to continue partnering with the Micron Foundation to expand STEM programming that we are already doing…and work closely together to make sure that we’re serving as many students as possible in the state,” said Idaho STEM Action Center Executive Director Kaitlyn Maguire.

Mooney said the foundation’s ultimate goal is to prepare students for the workforce.

“We would love them to work at Micron, but if they aren’t able to, we feel that we are going to be setting them up for the future.”

Sadie Dittenber

Sadie Dittenber

Reporter Sadie Dittenber focuses on K-12 policy and politics. She is a College of Idaho graduate, born and raised in the Treasure Valley. You can follow Sadie on Twitter @sadiedittenber and send her news tips at [email protected].

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