SMTA Attends Summit in Support of Industry Workforce Development

Reading time ( words)

SMTA members and staff were among the 50 carefully-selected invitees who participated in the Future Electronics Workforce (F.E.W.) Summit held at Michigan Technological University (MTU) on August 17, 2022. Co-sponsored by Calumet Electronics and Michigan Technological University, and supported by the US Department of Defense (DoD) Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS) program, the summit had the goal of generating and implementing specific actions for each of the major stakeholder groups present that could ease the potentially crippling shortage of replacement technical staff in defense-critical electronics manufacturing.

Paraphrasing keynote speaker Adele Ratcliff (Director, DoD IBAS) comments, one of the most vulnerable aspects of the DoD’s defense industrial base is recruitment/retention of the technical workforce. As an illustration, the Huntsville, AL region Mil/Aero defense industrial base projects one-half million open personnel requisitions over the next 3 years, with only a tiny fraction available through traditional sources. “We must change how we think and act in workforce development if we are to be successful in overcoming this critical national security issue,” said Ratcliff.

A key element of the summit, the “Future Strategies” session (led by Kaye Ortiz, supporting IBAS) generated many potential actions at all stakeholder levels. These were summarized by Ms. Ortiz as:

  1. More collaboration, especially in identifying exemplars, and finding ways to connect needs with solution providers and communicate those options
  2. Connect and communicate the value of the workforce at all levels and career opportunities, and connect and communicate individual workforce partners with the greater mission, rather than “just a job”
  3. Address new ways to provide the IMMEDIATE training need (while longer-term solutions develop.) One tool for this will be “deconstructing” the elements of the “black box” of traditional educational/training methods and approaches

To sustain the work begun at this summit, Ms. Ortiz will guide the formation of a Joint Working Group, formed in part by volunteers from the attendees at this summit.

Marc Carter, president of Aeromarc LLC, commented, “The Electronic Manufacturing Technical Education project (sponsored by IBAS, via Aeromarc LLC), one of the organizers of this summit, in partnership with SMTA, is grateful to all of those industry, DoD, government, and academic participants, especially those who are committing their efforts towards solutions through the Joint Working Group put forward at this event.”

Greg Vance, SMTA Board Member and Principal Engineer, Rockwell Automation, gave a brief presentation on SMTA’s strategic goals. He remarked, “Work force development is a key pillar of the new SMTA five-year strategic plan. In addition to our existing training and conferences; we envision SMTA can be a hub, leveraging our chapter network and industry contacts to help launch and lead collaboration on efforts to develop a qualified, inclusive and technically diverse workforce. This includes creating partnership programs with academia to bridge the gap between school and on-the-job-training, participate in industry efforts to identify, develop and disseminate tools and resources especially for young professionals.”

One such partnership model highlighted and discussed throughout the day is that between co-sponsoring organizations, MTU and Calumet Electronics. On behalf of the US DoD/IBAS, Adele Ratcliff presented an award to Chris Middlebrook, MTU Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, for his commitment to training, education, and industry collaboration.

There are other regions in the country making strides in developing connections through Academia, Industry and Local Government similar to the Michigan Upper Peninsula. Executive Director of SMTA, Tanya Martin, concluded, “Events like the Future Electronics Workforce Summit magnify the importance and benefit of a collaborative approach to addressing these critical workforce issues.”


Suggested Items

Pack Your Bags! We’ve Got Your Trade Show Calendar Here

09/23/2022 | Michelle Te, I-Connect007
It’s officially fall, and that means it's time to start planning your trade show attendance. To help you make decisions about when and where to go, we’ve put together a list of industry trade shows. It has been two long years with no or few in-person trade shows, and we’ve felt it. So, now we’re back in business and ready to hit the road. Do you have a show or conference to add to our list? Let us know!

Thriving Through Greater EMS Collaboration

08/23/2022 | Chris Peters, USPAE
Events of the past two years have clearly demonstrated the value of strong trading relationships. When materials become constrained, as in the recent microchip shortage or any of the pandemic-driven supply chain snafus, the companies that have those materials have a choice to make. Which customers will be put at the front of the line, and which will be placed at the rear? Too often, company executives assume that since they are a large buyer, they automatically will be prioritized when supplies are constrained. Research has shown that this is not always the case, and that assumption can leave a company in a weakened position.

IPC Mexico Continues to Grow

07/20/2022 | Barry Matties and Andy Shaughnessy, I-Connect007
IPC Mexico has been growing for the past few years, and it’s no wonder: Mexico has become a major hub in the world of PCB manufacturing, spurred in part by reshoring as companies pulled work back from China during the pandemic. As the country’s maquiladoras thrived, IPC began expanding the Mexican educational and training operations, and the group recently named Lorena Villanueva as director of IPC Mexico. Andy Shaughnessy and Barry Matties recently spoke with Lorena and IPC Vice President of Education David Hernandez about IPC Mexico’s growth, as well as the office’s plans to provide PCB manufacturers the training resources they need to succeed.

Copyright © 2022 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.