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APRIL 2022 I PCB007 MAGAZINE 9 It's certainly a good time to be adding tools to your toolbox of skills. As the Smart fac- tory and Industry 4.0 lead the drive to replace more humans with technology, the need for humans who are trained to manage AI-opti- mized systems will increase exponentially. Much of the soware used to fabricate and assemble PCBs contains AI or machine learn- ing—it just operates in the background, learn- ing as it works. But what's the best way to upskill your employees? Several managers we spoke with said they don't have time to take staff off the shop floor for training sessions. Your best bet is to incentivize employees to continue their education and training on their own time. But how do you make that happen? For fab managers, upskilling is almost your only good option. We're still feeling the effects of the brain drain of the past few years; many who were close to retirement pulled the pin during the pandemic. As 10,000 Americans turn 65 each day over the next 15 years, this is becoming our reality. More shop manag- ers are finding themselves with a lack of sub- ject matter experts in-house, and a tight labor market isn't helping them fill the gaps. So, some managers have adopted the mantra, "If you can't find them, grow them." ey're sending their current staff to be upskilled, whether at conferences, trade shows, or industry training centers. With three or four open positions for every job-seeking engi- neer, training your current workforce to be the best they can be is just good business. In this issue, our contributors discuss the skill sets they see lacking in the fab commu- nity, and some strategies for training and edu- cating employees to fill these gaps. We cover the challenging topic of the skills gaps and upskilling. We will bring insight into some of the common gap areas and methods to fill in those gaps. We started by talking with IPC's David Her- nandez, who outlines some of the organiza- tion's educational plans, including a curricu- Andy Shaughnessy is managing editor of Design007 Magazine and co-managing editor for PCB007 Magazine. He has been covering PCB design for 20 years. He can be reached by clicking here. lum approach that can be tailored to a com- pany's needs. We also asked three Sunstone Circuits managers to share their thoughts on upskilling for tomorrow's fabricators. For his monthly column, IPC President and CEO John Mitchell shares valuable insight into the workforce challenges, and columnist Todd Kolmodin shares tips on how to best optimize your training time. Our new columnist Hannah Nelson explains how students can be better prepared for an internship in this industry, and Edi- tor Nolan Johnson discusses some of the les- sons he learned from Analyzing Performance Problems, a book authored by Robert Mager and Peter Pipe in 1970. Barry Matties brings us interviews with two representatives from the FIRST robotics programs in Oregon and Washington, who share their enthusiasm for the program and the need to attract more stu- dents into STEM careers. We also have col- umns by our regular contributors Christo- pher Bonsell, Steve Williams, and Happy Holden. ere's never been more opportunity than there is today for your employees to become valuable than there is today. But you'll have to support them by giving them time to continue their education, and they'll have to step outside of their com- fort zone to learn about new processes and technologies. Don't forget: You're in this together with your employees, but they have more options than you do. While that may feel like a sober- ing reality, it's about perspective. Taking the opportunity to upskill means everybody wins. PCB007

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