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May 2017 • SMT Magazine 11 help our industry expand. Respondents' com- ments included the following: there is no pool of experienced operators; there is difficulty finding seasoned engineers; and there are chal- lenges to finding the right people that fit. And our industry is definitely looking to hire new employees right now—reflecting a bullish outlook for the PCB design, fab and assembly industries. According to our survey results, 55% of the respondents are looking to hire this year. The bulk of the new hires is in technical and op- erational areas such as line operators and pro- cess engineers. Most companies are also look- ing to fill their sales and customer support po- sitions. Hiring is expected to occur during the first half of the year. But then again, this scenario points back to the fact that there is a gap between the needs of our industry and the availability of talent. So the question is, how do we address the is- sues of hiring, training, and of course retain- ing talent? This month's issue of SMT Magazine features articles, case studies and interviews that will tell you how companies such as Indium, MC Assembly, Saline Lectronics, TeligentEMS, Tra- monto Circuits, and Blackfox Training Institute are addressing the issue regarding finding the right talent. You'll learn how they are closely collaborating with educational institutions to make sure there are students who are pursuing careers in manufacturing, and that graduates entering the workforce are capable and quali - fied for their manufacturing jobs. We'll also see how their internship, apprenticeship and on- boarding programs will help train, nurture, and eventually grow their new recruits to become valued members of their companies. While my career took a different turn (for which I have no regrets whatsoever), it would have helped me during my studies to have had programs or initiatives involving the indus- try designed to equipped us with the specif- ic skillsets companies were looking for, to help new graduates better compete with the rest of the workforce. Of course, on-the-job training is one those programs, but industry and aca- demia shouldn't stop at that. There should be more opportunities for learning that involve re- al-world manufacturing scenarios to empower students—the future engineers—with the capa- bilities and mindset needed for the technology manufacturing industry, as well as helping de- velop in them a culture aimed at making them a better fit for a manufacturing career. I hope you enjoy this month's issue of SMT Magazine. Next month, we will focus on the latest technology developments happening in the test and inspection front, and how these new advanced systems are helping increase yields. SMT Stephen Las Marias is managing editor of SMT Magazine. He has been a technology editor for more than 12 years covering electronics, components, and industrial automation systems. FINDING, NURTURING, AND GROWING THE RIGHT TALENT Figure 2: Positions to be filled. Most companies are looking to fill technical and operational positions. (SOURCE: I-Connect007 Research)

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