The domestic U.S. printed circuit board manufacturing industry severely lacks the introduction of early career engineers, especially women, who want to engage in a needed supply chain for the advancements of electronics that are vital to major market segments like medical, power, automotive, aerospace, and defense. A 2018 report from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Technology Evaluation: U.S. Bare Printed Circuit Board Industry highlighted the growing need to replace the aging workforce. The top future concerns for the PCB supply chain are labor availability and the aging workforce, as shown below.
In addition, hiring and retention are issues experienced by the entire supply chain, as shown in the survey results below.
The biggest question remains: how do we attract and retain “early career” talent to replace the aging workforce? At the same time, we must focus on advancing the innovation of the backbone of the electronics industry – the printed circuit board. We, as an industry, need young millennials to find meaning in the printed circuit board. As we develop solutions for Factory 4.0, autonomous vehicles, defense solutions, and life-saving medical advances, we need to shift the conversation from the aging and struggling industry, to a resurgence of innovation, talent, and growth.
Calumet Electronics is focusing on the future, the innovation, and the strength of electronics to attract young engineers from plating to CAD, through university classes at Michigan Technologicalnological University, IPC Student Chapters, and STEM education in local high schools.