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116 I-CONNECT007 I REAL TIME WITH... IPC APEX EXPO 2020 SHOW & TELL MAGAZINE facturing sphere, leveraging the flexibility of smaller businesses to make changes attractive to potential employees as well as cooperation with IPC and other talent development pro- grams. John Mitchell updated the group on the IPC Education Foundation (IPCEF) and work- force initiatives to build and support workforce needs. The group welcomed Andy Marris of MRA, who discussed motivating and engaging an existing workforce to create a competitive advantage. Economic and Policy Impacts Shawn DuBravac provided an economic assessment and outlook, projecting slowing but continued growth even amidst global eco- nomic and geopolitical volatility. Chris Mitch- ell, IPC's vice president of global government relations, updated the group on trade-related issues with an emphasis on USMCA and the tariff war with China. On USMCA, he high- lighted the collaborative role that IPC played in pressing Congress for legislative action. Congress passed the implementation legis- lation in December and January, and now attention turns to Canada, where the parlia- ment expected to approve the deal by the end of March. Chris Mitchell also welcomed the pause in the U.S.-China trade war but warned that the phase one deal does little to provide relief to the industry and that a phase two deal is not expected before next year. Matt Turpin, former Zentech CEO and current advisor to IPC, offered participants an update on IPC's successful efforts to secure appro- priations for lead-free electronics research and previewed steps that IPC will be taking to strengthen its relationship with key Depart- ment of Defense (DoD) offices that focus on reliable and trusted electronics. Roger Smith, representative of the Executive Agent to the DoD, spoke on military spending expectations, an expanding concern for electronics assembly by the Executive Agent, and allocation plan for the $5M in funding secured by IPC for lead- free electronics. Cybersecurity Certification Changes Impact Future Bids on DoD Contracts Roger Smith also contextualized other top- ics of the day, like skilled workforce shortage impacts on the DoD and expectations sur- rounding the transition from NIST 800-171 to Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). With the latest version of CMMC just having been confirmed on January 31, the group received up-to-the-minute information on compliance details from Ken Michael, pres- ident of Dox Electronics, including the nature of 20 new practices. Michael's key advice was to maintain compliance with NIST 800-171 to be ready for level 3 of CMMC and be ready to seek CMMC certification as soon as that path becomes available to bid on any new DoD con- tracts. The participants challenged IPC on being more ahead of the issue and questioned how IPC would accommodate the CMMC in its programs. Randy Cherry, director of IPC Vali- dation Services, addressed these questions, providing an overview of the IPC Trusted Sup- plier Program and speaking to related updates being planned on by the committee for IPC- 1791: Trusted Electronic Designer, Fabricator, and Assembler Requirement. Technology and Process Best Practices The EMS Steering Committee is continu- ally on the search for industry peers who have unique or proven approaches to solving process or business challenges. This year, the

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