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102 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2019 The age gap in the electronics industry is something we discuss at nearly all of our in- dustry trade events. We have been talking about this for a few years, and it is now be- coming a reality. A significant portion of our PCB designers and most experienced engineers are reaching retirement age and will be exit- ing the industry in the next 3–5 years. Mean- while, collectively, there has not been enough done to help train the younger talent we have and to recruit emerging engineers to our in- dustry. Currently, several programs are being launched and supported by industry associa- tions to help bridge this gap. I had the opportunity to talk to an engineer- ing student interning at a PCB fabricator for her second summer and asked her how she be- came interested in PCB technology. Her honest answer was that she was not aware of poten- tial career opportunities in the electronics in- dustry until she saw an ad posted at her col- lege. One of the primary reasons she applied was that the opportunity would allow her to stay in the area for the summer. Since then, she has developed a broad knowledge of the industry and is planning to stay in electronics after graduation. She will certainly be an asset wherever she lands. Trying to target engineering students at the post-secondary level, SMTA is piloting a pro- gram this fall, aiming to call attention to the potential career paths in the electronics field and mentoring opportunities. I had the op- portunity to sit down with Tamara Shephard, membership engagement manager at SMTA, to learn a little more. Tara Dunn: Hi, Tamara. Thanks for taking a few minutes to talk about this new program. Be- fore we dig into that, for those that are not fa- miliar, can you provide a little background on what SMTA is? Tamara Shephard: Thank you, Tara. SMTA is an international association for electronics engi- neering and manufacturing professionals. We offer exclusive access to local, regional, do- mestic, and global communities of experts as SMTA Pilot Program for Emerging Engineers Flex Talk by Tara Dunn, OMNI PCB Tamara Shephard

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