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34 SMT007 MAGAZINE I NOVEMBER 2023 Gen Z employees definitely bring new skills and expectations to today's workforce. Manu- facturers, take note: You have a generation of employees who are curious about the world, love to keep busy and engaged, and just need a better understanding of why manufacturing is cool. In this roundtable discussion, Dylan Nguyen, a recent high school graduate, and Paige Fiet, a recent university graduate, pro- vide insight into what they're looking for in a career. It's an enlightening discussion. Barry Matties: Paige and Dylan, there are some general stereotypes or perceptions about manufacturing. The pandemic raised awareness that manufacturing matters, but we're still not attracting a younger workforce, unless they're building a Tesla car or a SpaceX rocket. What is your perception of that? Dylan Nguyen: I did FIRST Robotics in high school, and I initially came into it with a CAD specialty. But as I progressed and started run- ning the CNC machining, my focus shied to manufacturing. From my experience, manufacturing is def- initely not the first thing that students think about, even those in a STEM field. It's a niche topic that isn't promoted as much as other fields, like soware or computer-aided design. Only two people on my team were actively in the manufacturing group while the mechanical section comprised the rest of the team. Matties: You've now been introduced to the circuit board industry at IPC APEX EXPO, so what image comes to mind when you think of manufacturing? Nguyen: I immediately think of the inside of a shop—blue collar, lots of physical labor, and very difficult on the body. Feature Interview by the I-Connect007 Editorial Team Inside the Minds of Gen Z

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