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38 SMT Magazine • May 2017 It is not a secret that U.S. manufacturers have a difficult time filling open positions. It has been reported for several years and the top- ic comes up frequently. There are many opin- ions why this is so. The main topic reported is that manufacturers cannot find workers with the necessary skills to fill the openings. If we look specifically at the PCB assembly industry, the rhetoric is similar. There are more openings than people to fill them. The discussions re- veal that lower wages, lack of skills, and sometimes the reported low un- employment rate in the United States is part of the problem. L a r g e r companies, it seems, have an easier time fill- ing positions than smaller companies be- cause of their ability to pay higher wages; however, they suffer the same difficulties with lack of skills and loyalty. It was reported in a book titled "Men Without Work," by Nicholas Eb- erstadt, that 8–10 million working-age (25–54) U.S. males have disappeared from the workforce and many, if not most, have given up looking for work. That may be a factor. What- ever the reason, employers find it challenging to fill open positions, which makes it difficult to grow and keep up with their customer's de- mands. Business owners, however, are accus- tomed to challenges and need to find ways to adjust to the current employment situation. Does anybody want to work in manufacturing anymore? There have been articles written that suggest that people don't choose manufacturing as a ca- reer anymore because of the pressure to go to college and get a "real" job. High schools across the U.S. have stopped offering shop classes that exposed our younger generations to voca- tions that are chal- lenging, skillful, lu- crative and ful- filling. Instead their interest lies in what per- centage of stu- dents are ac- cepted to colleges or universities. This stig- ma, that manufactur- ing is not good enough to make a career of, or glamorous enough to tell your neighbors about may have some effect on the current situation. Then there are those that think that the U.S. cannot compete with the cheap labor of Mexico or China. Whatever the reasons, there are fewer young adults interested in manufacturing than there were 20 years ago. Never mind the fact that everything we use during our daily lives has been manufactured in one way or another. FEATURE by John Talbot TRAMONTO CIRCUITS

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