Perfect Melting Point

Microsoldering training gets huge stimulus package

Minnesota is BIG into electronics. In 2007, the state totaled $6.2 billion in high-tech exports, a sum that ranked it 9th on the nation’s list of cyberstates. Ireland, Canada and China were our top international trading partners in high-tech products with electromedical equipment, computers and peripherals, and industrial electronics leading the way.

As big as we might be in the electronics fields, we still need highly skilled technicians who can use state-of-the-art microsoldering techniques to build the circuit and system boards that make everything work.

Understanding that need, DCTC has partnered with the Twin Cities Electronics Consortium to deliver advanced microsoldering training to more than 500 workers thanks to an almost $400,000 grant from the Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Minnesota Job Skills Partnership.

The slightest mistake can cause thermal damage to highly sensitive parts, which might spell the difference between life and death.

Larry Raddatz, the DCTC Customized Training coordinator who wrote the original grant proposal, reported that electronics companies are having trouble finding and retaining qualified microsoldering technicians.

“Escalating competition for talent, rapid changeover in new and improved technologies, and increasingly stringent regulatory requirements are all factors that led us to design a training program that will provide our business partners with top-flight soldering technicians now and into the future,” he said.

Comprising four Minnesota-based companies, Ayrshire Electronics, Dimation,Goodrich Corporation and Minnetronix, the Electronics Consortium is benefitting from the only college-level IPC Certification and Soldering Technology program in the U.S.

“Component density and miniaturization oblige soldering technicians to work using a microscope,” Raddatz said. “Printed circuits are applied extensively in medical devices as well as aerospace and military equipment, which means that precision is critical. The slightest mistake can cause thermal damage to highly sensitive parts, which might spell the difference between life and death.”

DCTC’s Customized Training division delivers fast-paced continuing education to employees of companies looking to outpace the swings and shifts in their industries. CT is also perfect for individuals seeking to improve their career options by taking noncredit courses for professional development.

Taught by first-rate professionals, CT programs are tuned to marketplace demands, offering customized courses at the college’s training facilities or onsite at business or company locations.

Joining Together for Success

According to the latest statistics, soldering technicians in the Twin Cities metro area can earn up to $20 an hour. DCTC IPC-Certified Soldering Technology Instructor John Gammel is excited about the unparalleled benefits provided by his program.

“We employ training methodologies and techniques that rapidly accelerate skill development,” Gammel said. “DCTC is unique in that our training also promotes Class 3 high-reliability soldering with tremendous consistency at the highest rates of productivity.”