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.

OSHA Delays Injury and Illness Log Submission Deadline

On May 17, 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced its intention to delay the July 1, 2017 deadline for electronic submission of injury and illness logs. The delay is due to unavailability of the secure website that OSHA intended to use for the submission of these recordkeeping forms. The announcement was posted on OSHA’s website and e-mailed to certain stakeholders.

As part of the final rule, Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses issued in May 2016, employers had a phased-in compliance deadline for the electronic submission of Form 300A. For 2017, employers with establishments with 250 or more employees and establishments with less than 250 but with 20 or more employees in certain high-risk industries were required to electronically submit their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017.  

 

 

IPC Files Comments on EPA Regulatory Reform

IPC filed comments with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on May 15, highlighting five EPA regulations that should be reformed:

  • Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) reporting requirements for lead
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Hazardous Waste Generator (HWG) Improvements rule
  • RCRA Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) rule issued in 2014
  • RCRA regulations for electroplating sludge sent for recycling
  • TSCA reporting of byproducts sent for recycling

The comments were filed in response to EPA request for input on the implementation of  President Donald Trump’s February 24, 2017 Executive Order 13777 (EO 13777) on Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda.

In addition to filing comments, IPC spoke at three EPA public meetings: On April 25 at the EPA Small Business Ombudsman’s meeting, a May 1 meeting hosted by the EPA Office for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, and a May 9 meeting held by the Office of Land and Emergency Management.

EO 13777 establishes the policy of the United States to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens placed on the American people. Among other things, it requires each agency to create a Regulatory Reform Task Force to evaluate existing regulations and to identify regulations that could be repealed, replaced or modified to make them less burdensome.

U.S. Manufacturing Growth at Odds with Skills Gap

by Sharon Starr, IPC director of market research

As U.S. manufacturing rebounds after decades of decline, the skills gap will worsen and could lead to more off-shoring, unless it is alleviated. Findings on the Skills Gap in U.S. Electronics Manufacturing, published last month by IPC, found that more than three-quarters of the U.S. electronics manufacturers surveyed anticipate the need to increase the size of their workforces in the next year. The study also found that nearly two-thirds of the companies surveyed would be likely to expand their U.S. operations, instead of expanding outside the U.S., if finding qualified workers were not a concern.

 

PCB Technology Trends 2016 Study Now Available

IPC’s PCB Technology Trends 2016 study shows how PCB fabricators and assemblers are meeting today’s technology demands and looks at the changes expected in the coming years that will affect the whole industry. It is a global study based on data from 118 electronics assembly companies and PCB fabricators worldwide. It presents data on the current state (2016) of PCB fabrication and assembly, and the industry’s predictions for the data by 2021.

The data are segmented by five applications: automotive, defense and aerospace, high-end systems, industrial and medical electronics. Topics include:

  • Board properties (thickness, layer count, heat dissipation, tolerances)
  • Miniaturization (line width and spacing, I/O pitch, via diameters, aspect ratios, via structure, etc.)
  • Materials (rigid, flexible, stretchable, metal core, reinforcement, thermal properties, loss characteristics, lead-free, halogen-free, surface finishes, etc.)
  • Special structures (embedding, optical channels, chip packages, etc.)
  • Printed electronics usage (types, processes, applications and use of 3D printing)
  • Trends in traceability, compliance, technical challenges and more.

This 237-page study is available to IPC members for $675 and nonmembers for $1,350 in IPC’s online store.

IPC’s U.S. Skills Gap Study Reveals Skills and Qualifications in Short Supply

In response to mounting concern about the shortage of U.S. workers with skills needed by electronics manufacturers, IPC conducted a “fast-facts” study to learn more about the skills gap as it affects U.S. electronics assembly manufacturers. The results, published within Findings on the Skills Gap in U.S. Electronics Manufacturing, indicate that most companies are having a hard time recruiting qualified production workers, and an even harder time finding qualified engineers and other technical professionals.

The purpose of the study is to reveal specifics about the skills gap that can help IPC and other organizations determine what actions they can take to help build the skill base of the U.S. labor force.

Results include:

  • Among production jobs, general assembler and hand solderer are the most difficult to fill.
  • On the professional side, quality control, process and entry-level electrical engineers have been hardest to find.
  • Insufficient experience is the most common reason that applicants do not qualify for most positions.
  • For many engineering and other technical professional positions, however, the leading reason jobs went unfilled was that there were no applicants at all.
  • Respondents cited many essential skills that are in short supply, but the most commonly cited are soldering for production jobs, and engineers with industry experience, especially in process, test and quality control.
  • 2.5 percent of the responding companies’ engineers and other technical professionals are H-1B visa holders.

The report is available to IPC members for $250 and to non-members for $500.  To purchase the report, visit www.ipc.org/skills-gap-study. For additional information on IPC’s market research services, visit www.ipc.org/industrydata or www.ipc.org/market-research-reports

IMPACT 2017: Electronics Industry Leaders Meet with Members of Congress and Trump Administration on Capitol Hill

IPC places a high priority on making our presence known in the halls of government to educate our government officials on the policies that will strengthen the advanced manufacturing industry. Senior executives from leading electronics manufacturing companies – all members of  IPC – gathered in Washington, D.C. this week for IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2017 to advocate for a pro-growth, pro-advanced-manufacturing policy agenda.

The gathering was especially timely considering President Trump’s recent moves to strengthen U.S. manufacturing, including establishing a new White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, and launching a wave of policy initiatives in the areas of taxes, trade, workforce skills, and regulations.

During the two-and a-half-day event, nearly 30 executives met with members of Congress and leaders of the Trump Administration to share their views on issues including tax reform; federal funding for manufacturing-related research and development programs; environmental policy and conflict minerals regulations.

The electronics executives met with leaders of the Trump Administration including:

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt;
  • Earl Comstock, Director of the Office of Policy and Strategic Planning at the U.S. Department of Commerce, and a senior aide to Secretary Wilbur Ross;
  • Kim Ford, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Education for Career, Technical, and Adult Education,
  • Dr. Robert Irie of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics
  • Alexander Gray, Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director for Defense Industrial Base, White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy;
  • Daris Meeks, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Domestic Policy for Vice President Mike Pence. 

Participants also met with key members of Congress including:

  • Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs;
  • Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD);
  • Senator Todd Young (R-IN); and
  • Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

During IMPACT, IPC also recognized two members of Congress with the IPC Government IMPACT Award. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), and Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), both members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, were honored their bi-partisan leadership in the passage of the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act. In addition to these meetings, IPC arranged meetings for the participants to meet one-on-one with their hometown Congressional representatives.

This is our 5th IMPACT event and it proved to be a great success for both IPC and its members. The presence of our members on Capitol Hill is one of the most effective ways for IPC to continue advocating for policies that will promote continued success in our industry.

To see photos of this year’s event, visit IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2017 Flickr album.

Thanks to all who participated! We look forward to seeing you next year at IMPACT Washington, D.C.  2018.

 

House Financial Services Committee Passes Bill to Repeal Conflict Minerals

Today, the House Financial Services Committee approved the Financial Choice Act (H.R. 10) to repeal and replace the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, including a repeal of the Section 1502 conflict minerals requirements.

IPC appreciates Chairman Hensarling and Subcommittee Chairman Huizenga’s continued focus on the burdens and unintended side-effects of Section 1502. 

Although IPC members are deeply concerned by the human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the measures under Section 1502 of Dodd-Frank have reportedly had questionable success in addressing the situation. We believe that attention to conflict minerals focuses on a symptom instead of the real problem of failed government and lack of security.

IPC members continue to highlight the burden of conflict minerals compliance, most recently raising their concerns during meetings with members of the House and Senate during IPC IMPACT Washington, D.C. held May 1 through May 3, 2017.

Although the bill could be considered on the House floor in the coming weeks, the Senate is not expected to take up the legislation given the united opposition from Democrats.  It is more likely that smaller, more targeted measures could achieve the bipartisan support needed to move forward in the Senate.

IPC Offers Comments at EPA Public Meetings on Regulatory Reform

IPC is commenting on its members’ behalf at three Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) public meetings on regulatory reform.  The meetings are being held to gather input on the implementation of  President Donald Trump’s February 24, 2017 Executive Order 13777 (EO 13777) on Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda.

IPC spoke on April 25 at the EPA Small Business Ombudsman’s meeting regarding two regulations that are particularly burdensome for small businesses: Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) reporting requirements for lead and the recently issued Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Hazardous Waste Generator (HWG) Improvements rule.

Regulatory Affairs Director, Fern Abrams, discusses regulatory reform issues at EPA Small Business Ombudsman’s meeting on April 25.

At the May 1 meeting hosted by the EPA Office for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, IPC again highlighted concerns with the TRI rule, and IPC’s testimony at the upcoming Office of Land and Emergency Management will focus on the RCRA Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) rule issued in 2014, and the RCRA HWG Improvements.

EO 13777 establishes the policy of the United States to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens placed on the American people. Among other things, it requires each agency to create a Regulatory Reform Task Force to evaluate existing regulations and to identify regulations that could be repealed, replaced or modified to make them less burdensome.

IPC will also be filing written comments before the May 15, 2017 deadline.  Members interested in filing comments should visit the EPA docket.