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20 SMT Magazine • May 2017 GROW YOUR OWN TRAINING PROGRAMS and re-design their HR strategies to recruit, hire and train new employees. In previous years, Lectronics leveraged a strong relationship with the local ITT Techni- cal Institute to identify and recruit candidates with technical schooling and skills. Unfortu- nately, due to government funding shortages, since 2016 ITT Tech has closed over five cam- puses in Michigan. "It's been extremely difficult to find trained technicians for test or hand solder," comment- ed Amie Duffy, HR specialist. "Since ITT Tech closed, it's really impacted our funnel of skilled candidates." While working to establish new relationships with local community colleges, Lectronics' HR strategy for 2017 blends a "grow your own" ap- proach with heavy investment in new hire train- ing and development. Additionally, the HR team actively reaches out to current employees to see if their communities, or alumni associations, might reveal hidden pools of untapped talent. For manufacturing roles, community colleg- es tend to be a better resource than four-year universities for qualified applicants. "Our industry is fast-paced and constantly advancing technology. If you're out of it for two or three years than you're missing a whole lot. People coming out of community college are far more connected to what we need," said Jeff Riedel, Lean Champion. According to Lectronics' HR Manager, Shelly Phelps, the company has a successful program that allows the organization to hire and train employees without previous manufacturing work or skills. If candidates have the basic ed- ucation requirement of an Associate's degree, then the organization will train them for spe- cific openings. For skilled production work, like hand sol- dering, Lectronics relies on a newly developed training program for candidates without any experience. During the interview process, appli- cants are required to provide a skills sample, to see how they perform with a soldering iron or other technical piece of equipment. It's essen- tially a test to see if they're a good fit for the full onboarding and training program. "We've started looking for candidates with transferrable skills. Even if they don't have di- Figure 1: Saline Lectronics' technicians working on a lean assembly flow line.

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