After months of working with legislators in the United States to ensure our industry is well represented, I am pleased to say that we have been successful in our efforts—particularly concerning defense electronics and workforce education. The work of industry and IPC members cannot be understated. By telling real-life stories to legislators, you provided valuable input on how their constituents are affected by what happens in the electronics manufacturing industry.
Regarding defense electronics, the U.S. president recently signed legislation that will bring long-term focus to military electronics—specifically Section 845 of the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which calls on the Secretary of Defense to prepare a report on the health of the U.S. defense electronics industrial base. The report must include a plan to formalize the long-term resourcing and mission of the Executive Agent, the principal Defense Department entity charged with assuring the security and availability of printed circuit and interconnect technologies for defense electronics.
IPC continues to provide industry data and opportunities for U.S. legislators to hear directly from our members.
In workforce education, the U.S. Congress sent legislation to the president that will strengthen workforce education training efforts. The President signed the Perkins Strengthening Career and Technical Education (CTE) for the 21st Century Act. This was another issue that benefited from our member company executives explaining to leaders in Congress and the Administration how the skills gap is constraining the growth of their companies, and in some cases, their long-term viability. I was also happy to sign a letter to the leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee urging them to complete their work on the bill. Because the Perkins CTE Act is now signed, it assures me that our industry has support as we work to train and certify the future workforce.
These victories in North America will set the stage for the work we are doing globally as we continue our international outreach. In November, we will rely on our European members to provide input to legislators as we support our industry at IMPACT Europe in Brussels.
We couldn’t do any of this work without you, and I’d like to take this time to thank you for your support. I look forward to continuing our advocacy efforts around the globe. By working together to support our industry in the face of numerous legislative and political changes, we can continue to keep the electronics manufacturing industry at the top of the individuals’ minds who are making decisions that affect the work we do every day.
If you have any questions or comments on IPC advocacy efforts, please contact me or Chris Mitchell, IPC’s vice president of global government relations.
John Mitchell is president and CEO of IPC—Association Connecting Electronics Industries.