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8 SMT007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2023 Nolan's Notes by Nolan Johnson, I-CONNECT007 Ready to Hire? Staffing issues remain a top concern for electronics manufacturing companies—a rip- ple effect of the pandemic, to be sure. No sooner did supply chain issues soen than we realized nobody wanted to come work for us, and if they did, could we train them quickly enough? erefore, what are today's best practices in on-the-job training? Are local technical schools recognizing the need and meeting the challenge set before them? It reminded me of a conversation I had recently with Johnny Vanderford, director and assistant professor of PCB manufacturing, PCB design, MEMS and microelectronics at Lorain County Community College in Lake- wood, Ohio. Johnny and I have chatted in the past about the school's nation- ally recognized programs 1 , and he's well-spoken on the topic of "education for employability," the new buzzword for what had been termed vocational educa- tion. In this conversation, Johnny again descr ibed the business model at LCCC—his programs b e n e f i t f i n a n c ia l l y w h e n s tu - dents earn degrees and become employed as quickly as possible. Conversely, he suggests some higher- tuition educational institutions might be more motivated by keeping their stu- dents enrolled lon- ger than really needed, giving me the sense that stretching out a degree program is more beneficial to the school than to the students themselves. He repeatedly emphasized "employed" over "educated" or "degreed." Lorain's priorities are different, but quite clear. LCCC's board of advisors for the electronics curriculum, for example, is comprised of local industry repre- sentatives who actively hire from the school's graduate pool and are fully engaged in provid- ing feedback on how to structure curriculum to ensure LCCC students are quickly prepared for employment. So, are schools doing enough regarding today's workforce development needs? is is not a new question, says Jim Flis, a boot camp instructor in the Community Col- lege System of New Hampshire, Nashua. "I have seen this addressed for most of my adult life, in one form or another. Every time there is an advancement in technology or techniques, we encounter a sit- uation where we lack skilled people. As a society, we have been in this predicament for- ever. However, to address the concern for today's new technologies, we need industry to invest in the solution. Without such support and invest- ment, it simply won't hap- pen." Do you agree with Jim's sentiments? Are we in the

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