Members of the Great Lakes Chapter of Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA) and the Chicago Public Schools-Education to Careers (CPS-ETC) Program reaffirmed their success and commitment to a program that has brought hands-on knowledge of electronic manufacturing into the classrooms of Chicago students eager for real-world experience and education. SMTA and CPS-ETC leaders held a press conference and spoke of the ongoing success of a program well into its third year that prepares students for their lives beyond the classroom, by combining a rigorous academic program with career and technical education, hands-on training and exposure to the career world. The Great Lakes Chapter of SMTA has worked for the last two and a half years with the CPS-ETC program and the local high tech manufacturing community to align ETC’s electronics manufacturing curriculum with industry standards. Program leaders engaged Institute of Printed Circuits (IPC), the recognized industry standards authority, and made a substantial financial contribution that allowed ETC electronics instructors to become IPC-certified in August 2005. Working in conjunction with Chicago schools, the Great Lakes Chapter developed the Electronic Manufacturing Education Model program. This program is unique at the high school level and is an example of the collaboration that can make schools and business communities more successful. Richard Wierzbicki, the local teacher who worked with the SMTA to implement the program, said, “Our students have responded with enthusiasm to this program and have shown considerable interest in all aspects of the electronics manufacturing industry and skills, from circuit design and software to actual manufacturing processes such as soldering and tests. The practical, real-world experience that this program provides is something they really want.” For more information about the CPS-ETC Electronics Manufacturing Program, visit