White House, U.S. SBA Praising IPC and Member Companies for Efforts to Boost the Skilled Workforce

July 25, 2019 – The Trump administration is praising IPC – Association Connecting Electronics Industries® and several of its member companies for their efforts to expand the skilled workforce.  

On Thursday afternoon, an IPC group will take part in a White House event marking the first anniversary of President Trump’s Executive Order to develop a national strategy to expand the skilled workforce. The event will take stock of the progress made under that executive order and the related Pledge to America’s Workers, which called on private sector companies to step up their workforce upskilling efforts.

IPC responded to the President’s challenge by reviewing its education programs and seeking ways to grow and innovate. As a result, IPC last October joined in the pledge and made a commitment to create 1 million new skilled workforce opportunities over five years. Since then, IPC has made unprecedented, multi-million-dollar investments in its already-extensive educational programs, including trainings and valuable certifications for adult workers; new university chapters and electronics courses; new curricula and outreach aimed at students in middle and high school; and establishing the IPC Education Foundation, which prepares students for rewarding careers by supplying learning opportunities focused on electronics manufacturing and improving the perception of manufacturing as a stable and well-paid sector.

In recognition of the industry’s efforts, employees and executives from four IPC member companies were invited to attend Thursday’s White House event: Calumet Electronics of Calumet, Mich.; STI Electronics of Madison, Ala.; TTM Technologies of Santa Ana, Cal.; and Zentech Manufacturing  of Baltimore, Md.  

Audra Thurston, a 23-year-old employee of Calumet Electronics who will be at the White House event and is one of the youngest engineers in the industry, says, “The average age in the U.S. printed circuit board industry is 50 years old. So, I’m proud to work for a company that recognizes the need to recruit and retain younger engineers, including women, to help us stay on the cutting edge.” In the months since Calumet joined in the President’s pledge, Audra has attended a class on printed circuit board manufacturing at Michigan Technological University where IPC, with the help of Calumet, has formed a student chapter with more than 20 students. She also is working as part of a team that is developing an advanced microelectronics capability that would help it compete more aggressively in markets around the world.

Adds David Raby, president and CEO, STI Electronics, “As an IPC-member company, STI is proud to support IPC and the Trump Administration in the effort to expand training and career opportunities for American students and workers. We are determined to close the skills gap by providing technical training that will keep our industry competitive.”

On Tuesday, Chris Pilkerton, Acting Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), visited the Calumet factory in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula region, and he took part in a roundtable discussion at Michigan Tech on workforce issues that affect the U.S. electronics industrial base. Participants including Colette Buscemi, senior director of IPC education programs, and Chris Mitchell, vice president, IPC global government relations, discussed what must be done by business, government, and other organizations to provide the right kinds of educational opportunities at all levels, from K-12 through college and career.

“IPC applauds the Trump administration for bringing together the public and private sectors to help today's workers thrive in the modern workforce,” says IPC President and CEO John Mitchell. “The national dialogue between the White House and the business sector has accelerated workforce readiness efforts, with more and more employers, workers, universities, and others getting involved. For our part, IPC is taking a holistic approach to cultivating skilled workers at all levels, from K-12 through college and career. Our education and credentialing programs are already creating opportunities for approximately 100,000 adults every year, and we are continuing to expand our efforts.”

More resources are available: The White House event will be live-streamed on the White House website. IPC can offer interviews, photos, and more background on these events and topics. Information is available on the websites of IPC (for adult education programs) and the IPC Educational Foundation (for programs aimed at grades K-12).

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