During its annual STEM Outreach program event at IPC APEX EXPO, IPC introduced the new IPC Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that will help students and the emerging workforce acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the electronics industry. The IPC Education Foundation focuses on strengthening and shaping the next generation of workers by preparing the talent pipeline, engaging the emerging workforce, improving the perception of the industry, and offering scholarships to deserving students.
The IPC Education Foundation is one of many investments IPC is making in electronics and training programs to address the skills gap in manufacturing. Members of IPC employ millions of individuals worldwide and are highly dependent on workers with technical skills. The Foundation will sponsor STEM programs closely related to the industry and develop global electronics-focused curricula accompanying industry recognized credentials such as certification and badge programs to engage high school and post-secondary students. The Foundation is currently developing curriculum and credentialing pilot programs oriented to high school students and Career Technical Education instructors for release later in 2019.
As part of the IPC Education Foundation, IPC is working with industry leaders to establish and fund an internationally recognized academic scholarship program. Scholarships will go to students interested in careers offered by the electronics industry and professional development grants will be awarded to teachers who support STEM education.
One of the Foundation’s major initiatives is the formation and expansion of a network of IPC Student Chapters at Universities and Community Colleges. Foundation staff are engaged in talks with several universities and have received commitments from the following schools to establish IPC Student Chapters, including Auburn, North Carolina State, Sacramento State, Central Carolina Community College, Gwinnett Technical College, and Michigan Technical University. IPC-member companies are also getting involved -- Calumet Electronics is underwriting the student membership fees at Michigan Tech University and Weller Apex Tool Group is supporting students at North Carolina State and Central Carolina.
“These IPC Student Chapters create opportunities for IPC members to connect with prospective job candidates and get them interested in our industry. IPC members can share information with students on the latest processes and how they were developed. Member sites can host plant tours, offer internships, and give students an inside look at the industry,” said Colette Buscemi, senior director of IPC education programs. “IPC Student Chapter members get the opportunity to connect their coursework with real-world applications, expand their professional network, and apply for scholarships and internships.”
Adds John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO, “Our mission is to introduce students to careers in our industry, and to prepare them with skills that will give them a boost as they enter the job market. We have begun our fundraising efforts and are actively seeking IPC members to take a lead role. Our goal is to award thousands of dollars in scholarships in 2019 and provide students with an understanding of the sophistication of today’s smart manufacturing environments and opportunities available for an emerging workforce with the proper skills.”
For more information on the IPC Education Foundation, contact Colette Buscemi at ColetteBuscemi@ipc.org or visit www.ipcef.org.
Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to the magazine.