One World, One Industry: Back to School with IPC EDGE 2.0

IPC spent the summer gearing up for our new education and certification platforms, and we’re pleased to announce that IPC EDGE 2.0 is ready for all certification users. I talked with David Hernandez, senior director of learning and professional development, and Kris Roberson, director of certification programs, to talk about what’s new in education and certification.

John Mitchell: How has IPC EDGE 2.0 been improved for learners?

Dave Hernandez: We improved the platform by incorporating feedback and feature requests we received from our first quarter beta-testing. As a result, we’ve made substantial upgrades and additions to the new platform, such as simplifying the registration process, transitioning to a distributed cloud architecture, and making the entire process easier and more streamlined for our learners and instructors.

Mitchell: Has the transition to IPC EDGE 2.0 been successful?

Kris Roberson: Transitioning all our certification users was a challenge, but we provided six online webinars, recordings of webinars, a printable users guide, and an FAQ. The extensive training we offered helped ease the transition to IPC EDGE 2.0. While we received many requests for help in the first week, help requests are decreasing daily.

Mitchell: How has this platform made training and the certification process more efficient and effective?

Hernandez: The new IPC EDGE 2.0 system is a vast improvement over the old system in functionality, clarity of communication, flexibility for online content delivery, and the print exams, when required. For example, students can navigate through exams easily, jump to specific questions, and flag questions to return to later. Additionally, the system requires that students verify their answers before submitting the exam for grading. IPC EDGE 2.0 also introduced new privacy controls. Even in certification classes, students’ accounts are private, limiting access to their personal information and certifications. This aligns our programs with the ISO 17024 (international standard for certification programs that certify individuals), as well as the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) requirements.

Mitchell: We understand that IPC now handles the system. Has it made a significant difference to have full control of training and testing, and if so, why?

Roberson: The most significant change with developing our own system is that we transitioned from a platform using a single server to a distributed cloud architecture. This has improved the performance for users globally, which also adds significant stability and scalability to the platform.

Hernandez: Bringing the management of the system in-house has reduced our response time to any issues significantly. With the legacy system, if there was a programming or system issue, we had to contact our internal point-of-contact. Then that person would evaluate the problem and contact the website management. The website managers would process the issue as is their protocol for customers. In some cases, we had hours or days until resolution.

Mitchell: One of the first programs on the revised platform was the Certified Electronics Program Manager (CEPM). Can you tell us a little about that program?

Hernandez: The CEPM is a redevelopment of the EMS Program Manager certification program that was expanded to meet the needs of both EMS companies and OEMs. The scope of the program was expanded to accommodate a wide range of students and transitioned from an in-person class to a live online seminar.

An industry expert in the field teaches the new program over a six-week period. Students can attend lectures via a webinar or watch a recorded video at their leisure. After the training is completed, the individual will contact an approved IPC proctoring site to schedule and take the online exam. A list of proctoring sites will be available in the coming weeks.

The new CEPM course is a win for everyone, especially students. Individuals can take the courses from anywhere in the world at their own pace. Through the online delivery, IPC was also able to reduce the cost of the course and pass the savings on to the end user. This, combined with the elimination of travel costs, should make the program much more affordable to the industry.

Mitchell: IPC EDGE 2.0 is one of the many ways to address the skills gap affecting the industry. How is this working so far?

Roberson: It’s still a little early to tell. Over the next several months, we will be releasing new online training programs and transitioning existing programs from IPC EDGE 1.0 to 2.0. Many of the new programs that are completing development are targeted at specific areas of the industry where gaps exist between the skills the industry needs and the skills of our workforce.

Hernandez: We hope that by providing targeted, engaging, convenient, and efficient online training, we will see a measurable impact. The release of the new platform is just the beginning. The fun part is still ahead. Stay tuned.

Mitchell: Thank you for your time.

Roberson: Certainly.

Hernandez: Thank you.

John Mitchell is president and CEO of IPC—Association Connecting Electronics Industries.

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2018

One World, One Industry: Back to School with IPC EDGE 2.0

11-05-2018

IPC spent the summer gearing up for new education and certification platforms, and has announced that IPC EDGE 2.0 is ready for all certification users. John Mitchell talked with David Hernandez, senior director of learning and professional development, and Kris Roberson, director of certification programs, to talk about what’s new in education and certification.

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One World, One Industry: Meet Nicolas Robin, IPC’s New Senior Director in Europe

11-02-2018

In May, IPC Europe welcomed new Senior Director Nicolas Robin. Based in Brussels, Nicolas will represent IPC and the electronics manufacturing industry in Europe. I recently sat down with Nicolas for a one-to-one conversation to get to know him better and introduce him to fellow electronics industry members.

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One World, One Industry: Automotive Electronics—Past / Present / Future

08-17-2018

As electronics play an increasingly important role in automotive manufacturing, tremendous change and great progress have been made worldwide. We are at the crossroads of incredible technological advancements, and it’s been exhilarating to watch. I am eager to see what happens next.

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IMPACT 2018: We Need Your Voice in Washington, D.C.!

07-23-2018

It’s that time of year again: IPC’s IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2018 is on the horizon. As a global, industry-driven organization, IPC exists to help its member companies innovate, compete, and succeed in the electronics industry.

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IPC Addresses Skills Gap

07-04-2018

A recent IPC global survey found that while the skills gap may vary depending on the job role and geographic location surveyed, many companies in the industry are struggling to find the talent they need, and the problem is expected to continue over the next decade.

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One World, One Industry: IPC’s Job Task Analysis Committee Needs Your Expertise and Experience to Address the Skills Gap

06-25-2018

IPC is investing in the future by supporting our members’ workforce and training needs to meet the demands of a continually changing and advancing industry. With the creation of our Job Task Analysis Committee (JTA), we are collaborating with a group of industry subject matter experts tasked with the responsibility of defining a competency model for the electronics industry.

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One World, One Industry: Meet IPC’s Vice President of Global Government Relations, Chris Mitchell

05-29-2018

In this new role, Chris will work closely with IPC’s Government Relations Steering Committee and its government relations team based in Washington, D.C. Chris will represent IPC and the electronics manufacturing industry before key policymakers globally and identify issues and other opportunities where IPC can demonstrate its leadership in government relations and public policy.

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One World, One Industry: Skilled Talent—Can We Meet Rising Demand?

04-02-2018

In 2018, the U.S. GDP is expected to continue its rise, while unemployment rates are expected to drop further. Experts agree that the global economy is also showing signs of strengthening.

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One World, One Industry: Electronics Industry Advocacy More Important than Ever

02-23-2018

From the Americas to Europe, Asia and beyond, the future of the electronics manufacturing industry is shaped in many ways by government policies. This will be true like never before in 2018, as legislators and regulators the world over are eyeing policy decisions on issues such as technology research and development, taxes, workforce skills, and the environment.

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2017

One World, One Industry: Connecting the Dots Between Manufacturing and Community

11-24-2017

Across the United States, the first Friday in October represents the annual celebration of Manufacturing Day. On this date, manufacturers and supporters come together to celebrate the longevity and success of our industry. Since 2012, Manufacturing Day has served as a chance to learn about the businesses that thrive in our communities and contribute greatly to the economy.

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One World, One Industry: Pursuing New Solutions to the Electronics Sectors’ Skills Gap

11-15-2017

In a recent survey of our U.S. member companies[1], most said they have a hard time finding local talent to run their businesses. Respondents cited many essential skills that are in short supply, but the most common ones are soldering for production jobs, and engineers with industry experience, especially in process, test, and quality control. Making matters even more challenging, as new innovations emerge, new skills requirements emerge as well.

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One World, One Industry: The Future of Electronics in the Automotive Industry

09-15-2017

Automotive electronics is not a new topic. While there is a trend for both performance and luxury electronics, many of the recent conversations tend to focus on self-driving/autonomous vehicles. While the technology is exciting, it is just the tip of the iceberg.

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One World, One Industry: India Makes Manufacturing Gains to Participate in a Global Economy

08-18-2017

The manufacturing industry is truly a global one. While the past few decades have seen the rise of manufacturing in China and countries throughout Europe and South America, the last 10 years have been marked by significant progress in India. While the greater Asian area has flourished, India has been hampered by many factors including a struggling infrastructure.

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One World, One Industry: Three Ways to Close the Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing

07-12-2017

The skills gap is a chronic problem in the manufacturing sector. Most manufacturing companies have a hard time aligning the talent needed to run their businesses with the talent that is available to work locally. And as new innovations emerge, new skills requirements emerge as well.

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One World, One Industry: Having an Impact from the Shop Floor to the Halls of Government

07-07-2017

When you have concerns about government regulations and policies that impact your business, what can you do? Among several options, a direct approach is one of the best: Reach out to your elected officials and share your concerns. The odds are good that they will be responsive and look into ways of helping out a hometown business.

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China—A Critical Partner for Trade

06-09-2017

Count me among those business leaders who thought the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was on the right track last year and would have brought significant benefits to all nations, including the United States. Before President Trump withdrew the United States from the TPP trade negotiations, I had argued it would have unified the world’s most dynamic economic region—bringing together developed and developing countries that collectively represent 825 million consumers and 40% of the world’s economic output.

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One World, One Industry: 100 Days In—President Trump and a Better Manufacturing Policy

04-19-2017

To truly increase the number of American manufacturing jobs, President Trump should support increased investment in research and development for advanced manufacturing, promote and fund STEM education in primary and secondary schools, and build stronger apprenticeship programs. It is this type of investment—in human capital and technology—that will truly help make American manufacturing great again.

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One World, One Industry: IPC’s Global Policy Framework for 2017—Smart Advocacy for the Industry

04-10-2017

As President Trump was being sworn in several weeks ago, and as the new Congress was getting down to work, IPC released its Global Policy Framework for 2017. As we work to represent more than 3,800 member facilities across the electronics industry’s global supply chain, IPC will adhere to this framework to guide our policy work in the coming months. All of our advocacy efforts are aimed at fostering an environment in which electronics manufacturers and their suppliers can thrive and grow.

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One World, One Industry: Emerging Technology, Training for the Future, and the Next Industrial Revolution

02-13-2017

Technology isn’t just a tangible entity. It moves beyond what we can see, feel, and touch. It is ideas and theories. It includes philosophy and risks. In a way, technology itself is like the stock market. Different industries hedge their bets on emerging trends. These trends develop into useful products that change our world.

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2016

One World, One Industry: Strengthening Your Value Proposition to Boost Organization Success

12-16-2016

John Mitchell's new column's title says it all: One World, One Industry. In the coming columns, the IPC president will be covering issues affecting the entire global electronics industry supply chain with specific expertise on global standards, education, advocacy and solutions.

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One World, One Industry: Six Leadership Lessons from 20 Years in the Electronics Industry

11-07-2016

The orchestra conductor is an apt metaphor for the successful leader. Effective leadership often boils down to the ability to inspire others (the symphony) to their best work, while keeping and driving the overall vision of the organization (the musical score).

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One World, One Industry: Voting — A Civic Duty and Industry Opportunity

10-17-2016

On Tuesday, November 8, more than 240 million people in the United States will have the opportunity to go to the polls and vote, make their voices heard in government, and influence the direction of public policy for years to come. Much of the world is closely watching with interest in this major U.S. election.

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