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18 SMT Magazine • May 2017 by Davina McDonnell SALINE LECTRONICS Introduction With more than 3,000,000 baby boomers re- tiring, or getting ready to do so, the manufac- turing industry is bleeding out—losing talent- ed, skilled, and experienced workers. Without a transfusion of new, even semi-skilled talent, many manufacturing companies are at a loss on how to best recruit the future work force. Saline Lectronics, an electronics manufac- turing services provider in southeastern Michi- gan, like many other manufacturers in the U.S., has struggled with finding the right skilled pro- duction workers to fill open positions. I checked in with several Saline Lectronics employees to find out their take on the state of the situation and included their impressions in this article. The Current Situation According to a study published by Deloitte, and the Manufacturing Institute on the manu- facturing skills gap, "Six out of 10 manufactur- ing positions remain unfilled due to the talent shortage." In other words, the current pool of workers lacks the necessary skills and industry experience to fill the open demand. For years, the younger generations have been discouraged by manufacturing careers. Negative connotations about manufacturing jobs as dirty, repetitive, and boring have plagued the industry for the last 20 years. Manufactur- ing lacks the sex appeal that jobs in tech use to entice potential employees. Ironically, many of the tech companies create products that require some type of manufacturing, either domestical- ly or abroad. In the same manufacturing skills gap study, only 37% of respondents said that they would actively encourage their children to pursue a ca- reer in manufacturing. However, parents who actually work in the manufacturing industry are twice more likely to encourage their children to look into these careers. The people with first- hand experience and an accurate perception of American manufacturing today understand the exponential potential to a varied career in the industry. Due to this great shortage of skilled workers and the lackluster image of the industry, man- ufacturing companies have had to re-evaluate Grow Your Own Training Programs FEATURE

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