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18 SMT007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2023 Feature Article by Tara Dunn SMTA Is effective networking a skill or a mindset? I can remember the anxiety I felt around my first few networking events in the electronics industry when my skills weren't as honed as they are now. I wondered, "How will I remem- ber everyone's names? Will I be nervous to approach strangers and start a conversation? What will we talk about?" It was always a highly stressful situation for me, and I bet many of you can relate to this. While I fully believe it helps to develop some skills in these situations—for example, don't cross your arms and frown, or don't stand in the corner with your eyes glued to your phone—I'd like to address a networking mind- set and how that relates to workforce develop- ment and recruitment. Our industry is in a dire position; a very sig- nificant number of jobs will be unfilled over the next few years. So, when looking at our work- force development and recruitment efforts, it's imperative to understand the landscape. We must create interest, engagement, and part- nerships with multiple organizations and with individuals. is is a nationwide challenge that will not be resolved in a silo. We can and should create a network that goes beyond the industry. Networking has tra- ditionally been seen as a way to advance your career, build friendships to collectively solve industry challenges, and to mentor those new to the industry. However, it's even more important that we expand our network to include academia, and state and local govern- Workforce Development and a Networking Mindset

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