Foundations of the Future: IPC Education Foundation Lessons Learned

charlene-gunter-du-plessis.jpgLooking back on our second year, the IPC Education Foundation (IPCEF) takes pride in how we how we adjusted our engagement initiatives during the pandemic. We couldn’t rely on our original strategy of hosting and attending a range of in-person activities and events. So, we shifted our focus and launched a variety of digital and virtual engagement activities to share information about the electronics manufacturing industry with students, teachers, and anyone else interested in this potential career path.

The Foundation held 10 informative webinars covering a wide range of industry-specific topics, and conducted 28 interviews with IPC student members, IPC Emerging Engineers, industry representatives, and IPC leadership to share knowledge about career paths into the industry; this led to blog posts, articles, and social media campaigns. The Foundation successfully reached more than 110,000 individuals and engaged with more than 5,500 individuals through these activities.

But even though we reached a lot of potential talent, we also realized that these online mediums led to several challenges. COVID fatigue is real: Students receive an overwhelming amount of online content from their classes, organizations, and extracurriculars. There is a lot of information out there and students need to be extremely selective on what to attend or register for. My colleague, program manager Aaron Birney, reached out to our student members and the general consensus was that the students desire in-person sessions and would welcome time away from their computer or laptop screens. Student members also shared that they would be more likely to attend virtual events if it would directly impact their personal career journeys.

That was the reason behind the IPC APEX EXPO Career Panel for 2021. It was important to find a group of panelists that has extensive knowledge about the industry from well-known and notable companies. IPC President and CEO John Mitchell led the discussion and was joined by the following industry representatives: Joe O’Neil, CEO, Green Circuits; Sarah Czaplewski, reliability engineer, IBM; Brittney Nelson, product engineer, Cisco; Christina Trussell, production engineer, Blue Origin; Daniel Heitner, process engineer, Summit Interconnect; Paige Fiet, engineering intern, Calumet Electronics; and Jie Fu, design for manufacturing engineering manager, Apple.

The virtual event kicked off with two presentations aimed at informing students and educators of the entire electronics manufacturing industry, and subsequently pique their interests in the emerging technologies. Two IPC Hall of Fame Award winners accomplished this objective: Steve Pudles, CEO, Zentech Manufacturing, shared an overview of the electronics manufacturing industry, and David Hillman, Engineering Fellow, Collins Aerospace, presented, “The Future of the Industry.” Following this, the career panelists shared their personal career journeys, then answered questions from the attendees. The event concluded with a raffle and prizes for a handful of students and educators.

An estimated 624 individuals attended the Career Panel and the feedback we received has been positive. Ninety-four percent of the attendees indicated that they were satisfied with the event and 96% revealed that the information shared was helpful in assisting students with their career journeys. Some additional feedback included:

  • “The event was great as we were able to hear from industry leaders with a wide range of experience!”
  • “Awesome presentations and panel discussion.”
  • “The panelists’ career journey was impactful for students. I would like more emphasis on preparing high school students for STEM-related careers.”

Another valuable lesson the Foundation learned is how important it is to share afterward the information, content, and the discussions of these online events. Recording the panel or webinars has been invaluable for sharing this information to those who cannot attend a live event. We created our own YouTube channel to house past webinars and events for anyone who couldn’t attend—even allowing some educators to replay parts for a class or assign specific videos as supplements to coursework.

Therefore, the lessons learned from our engagement initiatives are:

  • Share valuable industry content
  • Host an event during a favorable time, making it easy for students and teachers to attend
  • Get participation from high profile companies
  • Identify knowledgeable speakers, panelists, or participants
  • Record the session to share afterward
  • Always be willing to receive feedback

For more information about the IPC Education Foundation, please reach out to Charlene Gunter du Plessis, senior director of the IPC Education Foundation at charlenegunter@ipc.org.

This column originally appeared in the May 2021 issue of PCB007 Magazine.

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2021

Foundations of the Future: IPC Education Foundation Lessons Learned

06-22-2021

Looking back on our second year, the IPC Education Foundation (IPCEF) takes pride in how we how we adjusted our engagement initiatives during the pandemic. We couldn’t rely on our original strategy of hosting and attending a range of in-person activities and events.

View Story

Foundations of the Future: Emerging Engineers Benefit from Mentorship

04-21-2021

The IPC Emerging Engineer Program just graduated its first members in 2020, finishing up the first batch of the 3-year program. While the Emerging Engineer Program was traditionally created for early-career professionals, IPC and the IPC Education Foundation decided to reserve slots for five qualified student candidates to earn a spot in the professional development and mentorship program.

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Foundations of the Future: Introducing Students to a Career in Electronics

03-24-2021

In place of the annual STEM Event that the IPC Education Foundation hosts as part of the IPC APEX EXPO, the foundation held the Build Your Future Career Panel. In the last few years, the IPC Education Foundation has enjoyed hosting Career & Technical Education (CTE) students onsite at the IPC APEX EXPO for an entire day of exposure to the industry and hands-on learning. While we weren’t able to host students in person this year, we hosted a virtual event that introduced hundreds of students and has the potential to reach thousands more thanks to the digital recording.

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Foundations of the Future: IPC Education Foundation Update and Looking Ahead

02-09-2021

The IPC Education Foundation (IPCEF) takes pride in their accomplishments in their second year. The Foundation focused on a variety of digital/virtual exposure and engagement activities to share information about the electronics manufacturing industry.

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Foundations of the Future: Scholarships, Awards and Student Opportunities

01-06-2021

There was no better way to end 2020 than by making a positive impact in deserving students and educators’ lives. We can help students to invest in their future and reward the accomplishments of those who are hardworking and dedicated. Scholarships are hugely important, especially when helping students avoid and alleviate college debt as well as professional growth opportunities.

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2020

Foundations of the Future: IPC Student Chapters Gear Up for Competitions

12-02-2020

As colleges and universities continue to adapt to remote and virtual learning, the IPC Education Foundation has also adapted to support its IPC student members and 38 IPC student chapters across the U.S. With the increase in distance learning, Aaron Birney describes how the IPCEF has had to adapt its initiatives for student chapters.

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Foundations of the Future: Inspirational Career Paths—Meet Tayler and Olivia

11-04-2020

It is refreshing to connect with young professionals who are passionate about the industry and true ambassadors to IPC. Charlene Gunter du Plessis connected with Tayler Swanson, an engineering team member at Digital Instruments Inc., and Olivia Lim, a manufacturing engineer at Kimball Electronics, to discuss their studies, professional career journeys, and exciting opportunities in the electronics manufacturing industry.

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Foundations of the Future: The Semi-Virtual Landscape of College for IPC Student Chapter Members

10-14-2020

Universities faced tough decisions moving into fall semesters and quarters, and now most students are back on campus for a semi-virtual collegiate experience that significantly affects their courses and extracurriculars. Aaron Birney shares thoughts and experiences in classrooms and campuses across the U.S. from IPC student members and an IPC student chapter advisor and professor.

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Foundations of the Future: Making the Most of IPCEF’s Webinar Series

09-02-2020

Webinars are great communication tools, and the possibilities are endless. Charlene Gunter du Plessis and Corey Lynn share updates on the IPC Education Foundation's webinar series, as well as upcoming topics.

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Foundations of the Future: Interview With Michael Carano on Mentorship

08-12-2020

In every industry, mentorship enriches and enhances career development. Charlene Gunter du Plessis connects with Michael Carano to hear about his views on mentorship, as well as his experience as a mentor with the IPC Emerging Engineer Program.

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Foundations of the Future: Student Representative on the IPC Board of Directors

07-01-2020

Charlene Gunter du Plessis describes how IPC’s Board of Directors recently added a full voting board seat to an IPC Student Member, including introducing the student liaison and sharing an interview with Dr. John Mitchell and Shane Whiteside.

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Foundations of the Future: Scholarships, Leadership Roles, and Career Aspirations

06-03-2020

Scholarships are hugely important, especially when helping students avoid and alleviate college debt. Charlene Gunter du Plessis highlights some of the 2019 IPCEF scholarship winners, as well as a book on the topic written by Dr. John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO.

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Foundations of the Future: Online Resources Offer Opportunities for Professional Growth

04-29-2020

At a time where 42 states have stay-at-home orders, and thousands of school districts are transitioning to a remote learning environment, online resources are essential. Charlene Gunter du Plessis recaps some of the ways to learn about the electronics manufacturing industry online.

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Foundations of the Future: The Substantial Growth of IPC Student Chapters

04-01-2020

The IPC Education Foundation launched the IPC Student Chapter Program in February 2019, with the formal announcement at IPC APEX EXPO. The program aims to connect students in relevant two-year, four-year, and graduate programs to the electronics industry and IPC member companies. Aaron Birney provides an update on the substantial growth of IPC Student Chapters over the past year.

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Foundations of the Future: STEM Student Outreach Program at IPC APEX EXPO 2020

03-04-2020

When we hold an event, there is nothing more rewarding than words like these from Diego, Mount Miguel High School: “I learned many valuable pieces of information related to engineering careers. My favorite topic to learn about was PCBs. I enjoyed participating in the hands-on activities, such as breadboarding and soldering. Overall, I had a wonderful time at the event!” Charlene Gunter du Plessis shares the success of the IPC STEM Student Outreach Program, as well as other updates from IPC APEX EXPO 2020.

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