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24 SMT007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2020 Feature by David Hernandez and Carlos Plaza IPC —ASSOCIATION CONNECTING ELECTRONICS Our commitment at IPC is to help the world build electronics better, and a core compo- nent of that promise is education. In this arti- cle, we will review how IPC certification and workforce training programs work to fulfill the pressing educational needs of the electronics industry. Over the past three decades, IPC standards and certification programs have played a crit- ical role in protecting public safety and pro- moting excellence by ensuring the quality, reli- ability, and consistency of electronic products. In 2019, IPC worked with its global network of certification centers to certify over 108,000 individuals across 200 countries and 21 lan- guages to seven IPC standards. The ubiqui- tous adoption of these programs speaks to the strong partnership forged between IPC and the electronics industry. Just like certification, training has always been an indispensable part of doing business, and rarely has it been more so than the pres- ent. The rapid pace of technological innovation and new ways of working require skills that most potential employees simply do not have. In fact, a recent report by Deloitte [1] revealed that the skills gap—the difference between the skills that employers need and those that are available from workers looking for a job— may leave an estimated 2.4 million U.S.-based manufacturing jobs unfilled between 2018 and 2028. The resulting loss in productivity, reve- nue, and missed opportunities for expansion could cost as much as $2.5 trillion. While the IPC certification programs serve a critical role in ensuring that our workforce is knowledgeable about IPC standards and their requirements, the industry has been clear that these programs are only part of the solution. Throughout 2017 and 2018, IPC interviewed over a thousand industry members across the globe to better understand their training needs. The results of this study, as well as subsequent interviews with both IPC members and non- members, led to the development of the IPC Electronics Workforce Training Initiative. In 2018, IPC signed the Pledge to America and committed to deploying this initiative in com- bination with its certification programs to train one million workers in the electronics industry over a five-year period. IPC Addresses Critical Industry Skills Gaps With Electronics Workforce Training

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