Electropac, one of the oldest printed circuit board fabricators in the US, has established an intern program that is the focus of an NPR story today.
I’ve known Ray Boissoneau and his family for years. Ray’s a realist: the company once was around $40 million per year in sales but now does much less. And, as the article points out, the full-time staff has dwindled from 500 at its peak to 34 today.
That drop tracks with the US domestic PCB manufacturing market, which was once a $10 billion annual business but now is around $3 billion (and probably less, once brokered boards are deducted).
Boissoneau doesn’t see the program as a lifeline, but it does offer an opportunity to bring new folks in the door, little by little, to give them a taste of industrial manufacturing. If the US is going to recover its former glory in the PCB market — and some say it never will — it’s going to have to do it like this: one step at a time.