In a recent IPC global survey, we found that while the skills gap may vary depending on the job role and geographic location surveyed, many companies in our industry are struggling to find the talent they need, and the problem is expected to continue over the next decade.
Sixty-four percent of companies reported difficulty finding skilled production workers, and 71% indicated similar trouble hiring qualified engineers. Respondents also noted a low level of satisfaction with training options, a willingness to utilize online training, and a need for training options for different roles in the company. The IPC survey follows a joint Deloitte Consulting LLP and the Manufacturing Institute survey reporting that 74% of industry executives noted a significant skill deficit in their skilled production workers, ranging from operators to technicians. With this feedback in hand, IPC is working hard to provide solutions to these workforce education challenges.
For example, IPC’s online learning management system, IPC EDGE, is designed to provide training and testing services via the internet for a global audience. Launched in 2016, IPC EDGE hosts a variety of learning opportunities including white papers, webinars, IPC standards, skills development resources, and IPC certification courses, as well as access to an extensive library of educational content globally.
One of the first programs to be released on our new platform was the six-week online Electronics Program Manager training and certification program. The classroom version of this course launched in 2003, but with member feedback, we updated and streamlined the course, which was relaunched within IPC EDGE in Q3 2018.
The revised program will be offered in two different models: a traditional classroom course, which will be help periodically at select locations, and an online training program that can be completed remotely. The online program will run for six weeks, with fixed start and end dates, instructor lectures, group discussions, role-playing exercises, team projects, and peer-learning opportunities.
In addition to revising the EDGE platform, IPC formed the Jobs Task Analysis (JTA) Committee, a group of industry experts who are tasked with defining a competency model for the electronics industry. The JTA Committee will examine various job roles to determine what knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) are required to meet the needs of the current and future workforce and will construct accurate and valid job descriptions.
Through IPC EDGE, we will work toward providing training for each job role and offering a variety of educational opportunities for every individual to gain the competencies needed to take the next step in their career.
We welcome your input and involvement in addressing the workforce needs of our industry. Please consider joining our JTA Committee to help us identify and define job roles and provide feedback to the various subgroups that will branch out from the main committee. By participating in the committee, you will help us to ensure that the content we are creating is designed to meet specific industry needs.
For further information on the JTA Committee, please contact David Hernandez, IPC senior director of learning and professional development, at DavidHernandez@ipc.org.
1. The Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing.