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92 The PCB Magazine • July 2017 The skills gap is a chronic problem in the manufacturing sector. Most manufacturing companies have a hard time aligning the tal- ent needed to run their businesses with the tal- ent that is available to work locally. And as new innovations emerge, new skills requirements emerge as well. A new report [1] from the National Acade- mies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine cites employer surveys and numerous industry and government reports in reaching the con- clusion that the nation has an inadequate sup- ply of skilled technical workers to achieve its competitiveness and economic growth objec- tives. In our sector, according to a 2015 study [2] by the Manufacturing Institute, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs are expected to become available in the United States over the next decade as current workers retire and the economy grows. Unfortunately, the skills gap is expected to leave 2 million of these jobs unfilled. As an association that represents thousands of member facilities across the electronics in- dustry supply chain, we decided to survey [3] our U.S. members [EMS companies] to gain insight into how the skills gap affects them. The results indicate that most of our member companies have trouble finding applicants with the neces- sary experience and technical skills. Three Ways to Close the Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing ONE WORLD, ONE INDUSTRY by John Mitchell IPC —ASSOCIATION CONNECTING ELECTRONICS INDUSTRIES

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