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40 SMT007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2018 Matties: When you say mentor- ing opportunities, can you talk more about that? Buscemi: When we talk with col- lege students, one of the most important things they ask us for beyond courses is connections to the industry. We will have thou- sands of people at this event. We're figuring out how we can start to build our mentoring pro- gram and use IPC APEX EXPO as the launching point. Wheth- er it's an open Q&A where we have some of our industry members present and talk to the students, or we do one-on-one "speed dating," we're in the process of build- ing that program and welcome participation from our IPC industry members. We believe that 2019 and 2020 will be even better. Matties: Last year was the inaugural STEM event with high school students. What feed- back did you receive from students? Buscemi: We received great feedback. They were all very excited to be there. In fact, we gave a scholarship to one of the schools, awarding $1,000 to Canyon Crest Academy and Preuss School to help fund STEM pro - grams. We plan on repeating that this year. The students were really excited about the opportunity to get on the floor, and they were really impressed with what they saw. We took them through the booths of Panasonic and Nordson, and many of our members stepped up to the plate and took the time to have these students tour their booths. They loved it. The students enjoyed the opportunity to see this equipment and get a first-hand view of what was happening. Matties: If you look at the climate today, we know how difficult it is to keep our supply of talent in the labor pool; I think it's the most vital resource we have. Buscemi: According to Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, it is estimated that in 2025, two million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled due to the skills gap. We need to fill those jobs and have a technically competent, skilled, knowledgeable work- force to do that. There are many things we need to do to attract the next generations of workers to our industry, and our efforts must start at an even younger level. That is why we are start- ing in high school because we know that's the feeder point, but reaching fur- ther down into junior high school will proba- bly be the next thing on our horizon. We are also reaching out to local community colleg- es and universities to provide technical train- ing and scholarships for students interested in pursuing a career in manufacturing, and con- necting students with IPC industry members locally. Matties: In the educational system, we see that not every child goes to a university. Some go to vocational schools, but not every high school has that available. It seems like this is a great opportunity to take some of those kids that may otherwise not have exposure into this industry and introduce them into a career path. Buscemi: Absolutely. We talk about the three Ps: perception, preparedness, and pathways. It's a misconception that college is the only game in town, and I think we're cultural- ly moving away from that mindset. Not only is it not the only game in town, but there are many different pathways, and these students need to be exposed to that. For example, part of our strategy is to work closely with career technical education (CTE) programs at the high school level across the country. With over eight million students in CTE programs and a fair number of them studying electronics, it's a chance to shine a light on the possibilities Colette Buscemi

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