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May 2017 • The PCB Magazine 15 who actually helped students deter- mine what to do with their life, not just what to do in college. Second, I also place blame with the parents! We have been seeing the "participation trophy" generation entering the workforce for a while now, and the results are not pret- ty. Parents who push kids into col- lege to earn a degree that there is little market for are part of the prob- lem. Encouraging their kids to stay at home far longer than ever before are enabling the entitlement syndrome that has created the situation we are in relating to the next genera - tion of manufacturing craftsmen and women. Taking five, six, or even seven years to graduate with a four-year degree is now the norm. I could write an entire book on how the participation trophy philosophy is leaving our kids ill-prepared for not only work, but life. Sor- ry kids, but life is not fair, never has been, and never will be. Our children have lost the abil- ity to handle failure and learn from their mis- takes—invaluable life lessons. A recent Fox poll of current university students really highlights this point. When asked "What age do you con- sider yourself an 'adult'?" The overwhelming response was 30! Wow. When we original board rats were growing up, the answer was 18, and we couldn't wait to get out on our own. Not Just Our Industry's Problem I good friend of mine, Tom, is president of a sheet metal fabrication company. He tells me that the hardest position to fill is for welders. Welding is a physically demanding, dirty job that requires lots of specialized training and cer- tification. He has to fight with local competition for the finite number of good welders because no one is coming out of high school getting into apprenticeships. Same story for machinists, elec- tricians, plumbers and machine operators. So, what do we do? Fortunately, not all young people embrace this mindset, but we must change how, and where, we look for this talent. You can learn an aw- ful lot about people through social media before you hire them. If you really listen, the folks that may not be the right candidate for you from a work ethic standpoint will usually let you know that through their social media accounts. Shining examples do exist, if you look hard enough. Speaking as a totally biased proud dad, I do have some personal experience in this arena. My daughter was a four- year elite athlete and finished college in four years with honors, got a great job and bought a house at age 25. My son spent four years in the U.S. Coast Guard and is now about to become a police officer. Both would be considered millennials and both are not shy about calling out slackers, no matter what gen - eration. Another shining example is Davina McDon- nell, director of marketing at Saline Lectronics Inc. Davina is publishing a great series of arti- cles with I-Connect007 titled "Millennials in Manufacturing" that is spotlighting the amazing work being done by millennials at her company. So… there is hope! It's up to us to cultivate the next genera- tion of board rats. Get involved with your lo- cal school districts and campaign for change. Let them know about the jobs that are available in the real world, and the skill set needed from their students to do those jobs. Be vocal about the fact that college is not the only choice, that the trades and skilled general factory work are just as honorable as college. Offer internships for high school graduates and work with lo- cal technical colleges and universities to do the same. I had a great interview with IPC President Dr. John Mitchell a few months ago, and John discussed some exciting new programs they are launching to train people in the skill set need- ed to work in the PCB manufacturing industry. As usual, it's up to us to ensure the sustain- ability of our industry. PCB Steve Williams is the president of The Right Approach Consulting LLC. To read past columns, or to contact Williams, click here. FINDING THE NEXT GENERATION OF BOARD RATS

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