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58 FLEX007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2019 Interview by Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson I-CONNECT007 Barry Matties and Nolan Johnson speak with Brynt Parmeter, Emily McGrath, Clarence Chi, and Mikayla Ridi about the NextFlex pro- gram FlexFactor. This initiative aims to help high school and college students see potential futures in the advanced manufacturing sector and combat common misperceptions young people might have about modern-day manu- facturing. Nolan Johnson: Brynt, tell us about your role at NextFlex and what the company does. Brynt Parmeter: I am the director of workforce development, education, and training for Next- Flex. We are a 501(c)(6) public-private part- nership with nearly 100 members across the U.S., and we've been in existence for three and a half years. Our goal is to advance the technology associated with the manufactur- ing of flexible hybrid electronics in conjunc- tion with our members. We operate under a cooperative agreement with the Department of Defense, and we are working toward becoming a self-sustaining organization. In addition to the 501(c)(6), we run our workforce develop- ment and learning programs under a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and our design and manufacturing services under a C corporation to include fab- rication operations within a 20,000-square-foot cleanroom facility at our headquarters in San Jose, California. Johnson: We could do an entire interview just on NextFlex, but today, could you talk about the vision of the FlexFactor program? Parmeter: Since our start, we have focused on enabling the creation of the talent needed by our industry partners over time. We are very much looking at the problem from the demand side to identify and quantify the knowledge and attributes needed to tackle what is com- monly known as the "skills gap" across the advanced manufacturing and technology sec- tor. We don't have enough young people aware of the sector or the pathways that will lead FlexFactor Program Informs, Inspires, Attracts, and Recruits Talent Emily McGrath, Clarence Chi, Mikayla Ridi, and Brynt Parmeter.

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