Part of the reason I’ve been a little lax on my posting is that I’ve had a heavy travel schedule that included teaching segments of the IPC EMS Program Management Certification course as well as co-organizing a session at SMTAI on conflict minerals with Mike Buetow from Circuits Assembly.
My October Circuits Assembly column looks at ways to build a unified program management team and ensure that all program managers understand how best to do their jobs. Program management is truly the most difficult job in EMS and anything that reduces the learning curves of new program managers will generally save your company money.
IPC has announced dates for the Essential of EMS Program Management course in 2014. I teach the first day of this course. The course is tentatively scheduled for March 27-29, 2014 at IPC Apex Expo and then again Sept. 17-19 in Bannockburn, IL.
This two-day session along with online learning, a Leadership course and an exam are part of IPC’s EMS Program Management Certification program. Last year, IPC also began scheduling on-site courses for companies who preferred to hold it on a specific date in their facility.
For more information, visit IPC’s EMS Program Management Certification program overview page.
While I believe some of the talk of skills shortages is political hype from some employers not wanting to pay market competitive salaries, there is no question that many kids today don’t see a career in manufacturing as an exciting option. My column in Circuits Assembly this month discusses this issue and ways to help grow the available workforce and infrastructure necessary to support returned growth in the manufacturing sector.
Scottish author and reformer Samuel Smiles once said, “the spirit of self-help is the root of all genuine growth in the individual.” I strongly believe that and in my August Circuits Assembly column discuss the model the late Olin King used at SCI Systems, Inc. to foster a culture of opportunity for those willing to put in the extra hours to take advantage of those benefits.
While there is room for debate on King’s management style, I suspect that if back in the 80s entrepreneurs at more large manufacturing concerns had worked as closely with their local and state resources as King did, we might have better trained workforces, education systems that worked and a lot less government bureaucracy tied to job creation. The tuition refund program described in the column would be impossible for any company to afford now that universities have grown into bloated bureaucracies more worried about achieving academic or athletic bragging rights than educating students at an affordable cost. Similarly, many public job creation initiatives require companies to spend inordinate amounts of time on paperwork for relatively minor cost offsets, have multiple approval cycles that create unworkable lead-time or worse offer funding that unexpectedly runs out.
That said, I recognize that some EMS companies still find ways to offer employee benefits for self-improvement, in spite of the industry’s slim margins. I periodically write columns that highlight that point and given the fact that “outsourcing” is now a political wedge issue, will likely focus on the contributions EMS companies make to their local communities in column in the near future. So, if your company has a benefit program designed to increase worker skills (whether job-related or just for pure self-improvement), feel free to drop me an email or comment on this post. I’ll get back to you to discuss it in more detail before I write that column.