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Just Like Being There: APEX 2018 & the STEM Workforce of the Future

Little is more important to the electronics manufacturing industry and its supply chain than training the workforce of the future. Skill shortages threaten to slow innovation, research, and development efforts, as well as put industries and regions at risk. According to government statistics, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workers command higher wages, earning 29% more than their non-STEM counterparts in 2015. It is clearly not salary that is discouraging students from selecting STEM topics and careers 

IPC CEO & President, John Mitchell dedicated his keynote at the APEX Expo on Wednesday morning to the topic.  The next day, students from two colleges in the San Diego area arrived at the event where they learned to make a computer from household objects and met with many of the exhibitors who see STEM projects as imperative to their continued success. Electronics manufacturing and its supply chain has much to offer in terms of career opportunities.

As an industry, we are attempting to train a recruit a workforce for jobs that may not even exist yet. For example, there are now more than six million application developers worldwide, many of them educated in a time when apps didn’t exist, let alone a career developing them. The same is true of data scientists working in supply chain, robotic engineers working in automation, AI programmer working in machine learning, or materials scientists working in the rapidly growing 3D printing or additive manufacturing industry.

I was joined on a panel to discuss STEM and the role IPC and other associations play in promoting the right relationship with academia by three women from IPC who have been central to their strategy and its deployment: Nancy Jaster, manager of Design Programs; Alicia Balonek, senior director Tradeshows & Events; and Andrea Pinc, meetings & events coordinator. We all sat down to explore the program at APEX. We tried to figure out what is happening now and what can be done beyond.

Filmed on location at the SCOOPstudio with sponsorship from Aegis Software, Cogiscan, Fuji America, Jabil, KIC, Koh Young and Radius Innovation.

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