Electronics Industry Pioneer Jim Raby Passes Away

Long-time IPC member, industry leader and founder of STI Electronics Inc., Jim Raby, 82, passed away on Friday, June 16.  

For more than 40 years, Jim worked on industry standards, including IPC-J-STD-001, IPC-A-610 and standards for wire harnesses. He was also involved in research for lead-free solder processes and materials. His seminal paper, “Standardization of Military Specifications,” was the roadmap for reducing some 219 specifications into a single four-document set known as MIL-STD-2000, the precursor to J-STD-001 and IPC-A-610.

He worked on more than a dozen standards and training programs, and chaired or vice-chaired committees on soldering, rework and repair, component mounting, and product assurance. He wrote the curriculum and conducted beta testing for IPC training programs for IPC-J-STD-001, IPC-A-610D, IPC/WHMA-A-620, and IPC-7711/7721A, and received the IPC Presidents Award in 1984.

Jim will be missed by his fellow IPC committee members, staff and his colleagues in the electronics manufacturing industry.

In a statement, the company said, … Although Jim’s passing will leave a huge void in each of our lives, his legacy will live on. His love for family, friends, colleagues and country will remain in our hearts and memories for years to come.”

Funeral Arrangements:

Visitation and funeral to be held at Berryhill Funeral Home, 2305 North Memorial Pkwy, Huntsville, AL, 35810. Visitation will be Monday, June 19, 5-8 PM and the funeral Tuesday, June 20 at 2:00 PM.

STI will be closing at 11 AM Tuesday in honor of Jim and to allow employees to attend the funeral.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the following:

1. Jim D. Raby/STI Scholarship Fund. Checks should be made payable to Calhoun Foundation and mailed to: Calhoun Foundation, Calhoun Community College; P. O. Box 2216, Decatur, AL 35609-2216. Please include a cover letter with the check or donation stating the check is for the Jim D. Raby/STI Scholarship Fund.

2. The Gideon’s International; P.O. Box 2091, Madison, AL 35758 in memory of Jim D. Raby.

3. St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital; P. O. Box 50, Memphis, TN 38101.

4. The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research; P. O. Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5014. Donations also can be made online in memory of Jim at the following link: https://www.michaeljfox.org/get-involved/donation2.php.



Three RoHS Exemption Extensions are Official

Earlier this week, the European Union (EU) officially published three RoHS exemption extensions.  The extensions, collectively known as Pack 7, concern the use of lead and cadmium in reflective and optical glass, and the use of lead in bearing shells and bushes for certain compressors.

IPC was an active member in the cross-industry association that supported these exemption extensions and a number of other exemption extensions, which are still under review by the EU Commission.  Publication of draft delegated acts, for public notice and review, or the remaining pending extension requests, known as Pack 9, is expected this summer or early fall of 2017.

IPC will continue to remain engaged in advocating for its members on RoHS extension requests, including a meeting with DG Environment later this month.

President Donald Trump Launches Workforce Development Week

By Julie Desisto, coordinator, government relations

Earlier this week President Donald Trump announced “Workforce Development Week.” As such, President Trump spent the last four days promoting job creation and even signed executive order expanding apprenticeship programs.

The Trump administration asked federal agencies to recommend new executive actions to promote apprenticeships and remove regulations that could be an obstacle to workforce development. Though Trump’s 2018 budget proposal cuts funding for job training programs by 40 percent, from $2.7 billion to $1.6 billion, the Administration hopes to foster “private-to-private partnerships” on job training through the executive order, Expanding Apprenticeships in America.

“We want to make sure that we have the workforce development programs we need to ensure these jobs are being filled by American workers,” said President Donald J. Trump.

This order would virtually eliminate oversight of government-subsidized apprenticeship programs and shift certification of federally funded apprenticeship programs from the Labor Department to grant recipients. Additionally, the executive order:

• Responds to the desire of third-party groups to create more flexible apprenticeship programs and directs the Department of Labor (DOL) to allow companies, trade associations, and unions to develop their own “industry-recognized apprenticeship” guidelines, which the DOL will review for quality, and then approve.
• Directs the DOL to use available funding to promote apprenticeships, especially in sectors where apprenticeships are not currently widespread.
• Creates a task force that will recommend ways to promote apprenticeships.
• Requires all Federal agencies to review and evaluate the effectiveness of their job training programs, and consider how to best consolidate certain programs for increased accountability.

Concurrently in Congress, a bipartisan Senate bill, The Apprenticeship and Jobs Training Act, was introduced by Susan Collins (R-ME) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA). This bill aims to use tax breaks to kick-start apprenticeship programs.

The legislation would create a $5,000 tax credit based on wages paid by companies that hire individuals enrolled in a federal or state registered apprentice program. The bill also provides a tax credit rate of $3 per hour per individual to employers participating in a multi-employer apprenticeship program. Senior employees nearing retirement can draw from their pensions earlier if they mentor new employees.

IPC will continue to monitor these initiatives. For more information on workforce development policy and resources, contact Julie Desisto, IPC government relations coordinator, at JulieDesisto@ipc.org.




Advancing U.S Manufacturing: A Focus on Federal Investment in R&D Infrastructure

In part two of IPC’s four-part video series, IPC President and CEO John Mitchell discusses how the Trump Administration and Congress could help advance the U.S. manufacturing industry by focusing on federal investment in research and development infrastructure.

DOL Withdraws Troublesome Guidance on Independent Contractor Classification

Last week, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced that the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) was immediately withdrawing guidance published during the Obama administration that related to independent contractor misclassification and joint employment standards.

The guidance described misclassification a “problematic trend” and sought to limit businesses from classifying employees as independent contractors. In the now withdrawn guidance, the USDOL said that the test to determine whether an individual was misclassified should be applied in a “broad” manner, and, once applied, most individuals would be considered employees. While the guidance did not carry the force of law, it was relied upon by USDOL investigators and courts when examining allegations of wrongdoing, and were often cited by plaintiffs’ attorneys to support their demands.

The guidance, issued by former Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, was among the many regulations identified by IPC members as burdensome, hampering businesses, and in need of reform.

EU Corporate Tax Base Proposals — A Great Opportunity to Boost R&D in the Electronics Sector

As 68 nations signed last week an OECD convention to prevent aggressive tax planning, IPC would like to remind the importance of tax incentives to promote R&D in technology intensive industries like the electronics industry. Among its global advocacy priorities, IPC advocates for lower corporate tax rates and incentives that stimulate business investment and innovation across the globe.

In that spirit, we have released today our position paper calling for ambitious tax deductions to support R&D in the framework of the future EU Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB). Given the decline in R&D spending over the past years, IPC calls on EU Member States to seize this opportunity to boost innovation, growth and jobs in Europe. Read IPC’s contribution to the debate.

If you have any questions regarding this issue, please contact me at JohnHasselmann@ipc.org.

IPC Assembly Quality Benchmark Survey Deadline Extended to June 16

The deadline for participation in IPC’s annual Quality Benchmark Survey for Electronics Assembly has been extended to Friday, June 16. This confidential survey is open to OEMs and contract manufacturers that do electronics assembly. Participants who complete the survey will receive a report on the findings at no cost.

The survey is online at  www.ipc.org/2017BenchmarkSurvey in English. The survey in Mandarin Chinese is at IPC 2017年电子组装质量标杆调研.

The study covers the industry’s most important quality measurements, such as yields, defect rates, test and inspection methods, customer returns, supplier performance, certification status and more. Companies use the results to benchmark their operations to world-class quality metrics.

Participants will be asked to enter their IPC company ID number, which is one of many tools IPC uses to protect the confidentiality of participants’ data. Contact IPC at marketresearch@ipc.org if you need your ID number or have any questions.

USTR Seeking Public Comments on NAFTA

On May 18, the Trump Administration formally notified Congress of its intent to commence negotiations with Canada and Mexico with respect to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As stipulated by the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA), this notification triggers a 90-day period before negotiations with Canada and Mexico can begin (no earlier than August 16, 2017).

To assist the Trump Administration with its negotiations, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issued a Federal Register Notice to solicit public comments on NAFTA. IPC plans to draft and submit comments; however, IPC encourages our member companies to submit their own comments as well. The Federal Register Notice comment period will be open through June 12, 2017.

To submit your company’s own comments, please visit www.regulations.gov and search for docket number USTR-2017-0006. (Direct Link: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=USTR_FRDOC_0001-0413). Click the “Comment Now!” button to make your voice heard regarding this important trade policy update.

In addition to soliciting public comments, a public hearing on NAFTA is scheduled for June 27 at the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, D.C.

If you have any questions, please contact Ken Schramko, IPC director of government relations at KenSchramko@ipc.org.

IPC Discusses Workforce Development Issues with U.S. Policymakers

By Julie Desisto, coordinator, government relations

During IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2017, IPC member attendees sat down for a meeting with Kim R. Ford, acting assistant secretary and deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education at the Department of Education. The goal of the meeting was to discuss the chronic shortage of skilled workers, and the obstacles this creates for the electronics manufacturing industry.   

During the meeting, Ford stated that leaders of the Trump Administration, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, were still working their way through the various workforce issues. She emphasized that there is strong interest in working with the Department of Labor and all stakeholders to promote apprenticeship programs, public and private partnerships, and veterans-training programs. Speaking specifically to IPC members, Ford suggested working with state and local governments to integrate training and certification offerings into existing programs, as the Department of Education does not provide curriculum. Thus allowing for education to be specialized for industry needs and increasing worker employability.  

Ford also noted that the Department of Education wishes to focus on “stacking” credentials to help workers move on to the next level of their careers. A Mapping Upward document will be released this summer to encourage more action in this direction. Stackable credential programs help students develop additional skills they need in order to advance on the job by earning additional credentials that further enable them to advance within the workplace, rather than constant retraining for new positions.

In line with this, the Department of Education has four “lines of business” under the heading of Academic Skills, Technical Skills, and Employable Skills:

  1. Correctional institutions
  2. Community colleges
  3. Adult education
  4. Working age population

In order to best take advantage of the information available, there are a number of resources available to assist IPC members and others in the electronics industry. Based on the conversation with Ford, a few of these resources include:

IPC, with its strong foundation of training and certification, is looking at opportunities to work with the relevant federal agencies and local governments to close the skills gap and help fill jobs in the electronics manufacturing industry.

These resources are available to help navigate through some of the workforce development issues currently being faced by our members. For more information on workforce development policy and resources, contact Julie Desisto, IPC government relations coordinator, at JulieDesisto@ipc.org.






IPC President’s Message: How President Trump Could Advance U.S Manufacturing

In part one of IPC’s four-part video series, IPC President and CEO John Mitchell offers a framework for how the Trump Administration and Congress could help advance the U.S. manufacturing industry.