What Electropac’s Intern Program Represents

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.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (pcea.net). He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow