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26 PCB007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2020 ence, backed up by guest lectures from practicing industry subject-matter ex- perts as a prototype. With logistics sup- port from the DoD's Industrial Base As- sessment and Sus- tainment Group— Director Adele Rat- cliffe—we are in the early stages of establishing similar 'nodes' around the country. A key tenet of this effort is that local indus- try partners—often the local SMTA chapter act- ing as a hub—is tasked with defining a con- sensus on projected near-term, meaning 1–5 years, staffing needs, whether in design, fab- rication, assembly, packaging, flex-hybrid, or whatever, and working with local post-second- ary educational institutions to develop appro- priate curricula and training tools. Our nation- al group serves as a largely voluntary resource pool to help by providing a rough organization- al template that has been shown to work and having subject-matter experts available to fill 'gaps' in locally available expertise, especially during the startup phase, as well as a forum to exchange ideas and provide mutual support. This program is predicated on the belief that the long-term goal of self-sustainability is more likely to be achieved when each local 'node' understands and defines their consensus on local technical staffing needs first, then build a locally sustainable program to fill that need within the constraints of available resources. A growing nationwide pool of expertise is avail- able to fill in as needed, whether in guest lec- tures or process set-up when a particular bot- tleneck is identified. It is clear that the staffing shortage will not simply take care of itself. This is an inflection point for the industry. Industry leadership— in the form of associations, educational insti- tutions, and forward-thinking manufacturing firms—are not only developing more compre- hensive post-secondary training programs to train the next workforce but also taking the next logical steps to provide some educational standardization as well. To achieve the Million Job Initiative at IPC— not to mention all the other programs and ini- tiatives at SMTA, NextFlex, and others—degree programs will need to provide practical, tech- nical training to back up the outreach and ex- posure programs. It is, after all, one thing to want to join an industry; it is another thing entirely to have the necessary skill set. When manufacturers take the time and interest to build a relationship with the local communi- ty colleges and technical schools and assist the local schools in connecting to the associations, that is when we will see these educational pro- grams truly blossom. Note: For a little insight, turn to page 27 to see just some of the job openings at TTM Tech- nologies. Marc Carter

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