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90 I-CONNECT007 I REAL TIME WITH... IPC APEX EXPO 2020 SHOW & TELL MAGAZINE development courses and providing opportuni- ties to connect with mentors and network with other industry experts ensures a strong future for our industry. In this program, the emerging engineer is not on their own, but are paired up with a mentor. Read what one Emerging Engi- neer Program mentor, Karen McConnell, said in a 2019 interview here. When you're a new college graduate, you have an ideal version of what design really is. You typically do not have manufactur- ing experience—such as how to build, what is needed to build, and how to navigate the requirements of manufacturing, including government requirements, EPA, foreign trade requirements, etc.—all the things that can get a less experienced engineer in trouble. These concerns can be minimized when you have a mentor. When you have a problem and need a reference, you can go to your mentor for resources and connections within your corpo- ration. The same goes for IPC standards and information about committees. Who is the right person to talk to? Without a mentor, it can take at least five years to figure out just how IPC works and have the connections to resolve your issue. IPC mentors are there to guide emerging engineers through the process of learning the ropes, getting on the right path, and advising them along the way. To deepen the reach into our future workforce, the IPC's growing STEM Student Outreach Program introduces high school students to our industry with the help of the emerging engineer participants. At IPC APEX EXPO 2020, approximately 200 STEM students took part in the event. Currently, there are approximately 30 engi- neers enrolled in IPC's Emerging Engineer Pro- gram. That number has more than doubled over the last year. Being enrolled in the pro- gram not only provides the young engineer a great platform to develop skills, network, and grow, but it is also great for the company that employs them, as it will reap the benefits in many ways. Of course, they are making an investment into their employees, and like any investment, there must be an ROI. In this case, they are investing in the training and devel- opment of their engineers. Since this program has specific requirements, it should be a clear measure of success. Jesse Vaughan's Experience Jesse Vaughan of Zentech is enrolled in IPC's Emerging Engineer Program. In this interview, he reflects on his time in the program and how the industry connections he made are already proving to be beneficial. Barry Matties: First, can you tell us what IPC's Emerging Engineer Program is about? Jesse Vaughan: This is the program's sixth year. At its inception, there were three engi- neers. This year, there are approximately 30 in the first-year program. As a participant, we are paired with a mentor. Mine is Kevin Kusiak from Lockheed Martin Space System. We receive a "passport" for the program, and we have to check off certain tasks, such as attending committee meetings or professional development courses. We also have to attend several networking events to meet people, get your name out there, and see like-minded folks in the industry who are on the same path, as Jesse Vaughan

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