Surface Mount Electronics Assembly Training for Veterans took place at Rochester Institute of Technology this summer where 20 local veterans, displaced workers and spouses of veterans gained skills and career options in the electronics industry.
“The three-week training at RIT was a perfect bridge, because we have people who are displaced and need current skills to meet the demand in local manufacturing,” said Rita Thomas, one of the trainees who spent several years in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and later in Heidelberg, Germany. She served as a satellite communications operator and then as a site supervisor for the USAREUR Secure Communications Network.
When she returned stateside, she continued serving the military as a civilian contractor and she and her husband raised their two young children. Thomas used her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s in history to become certified to teach secondary education in the public schools. Eventually, she’d homeschool her son and daughter.
Participants like Thomas were local residents ages 20-60 and all recruited by Rochester’s Veterans Outreach Center, the local nonprofit Rochester Works! and the New York State Department of Labor. Funding came from DOL’s Consolidated Funding Application for Workforce Development.
Over several weeks, the students spent full days learning about electronic component technology, printed circuit board development and production, soldering techniques as well as quality control and operator training. Industry vocabulary and trends were also covered.
Once foundational work was completed, hands-on, technical training begins, and Tracy Clancy Vecchiolli, a master IPC trainer, prepares students to become certified in specific electronic assembly and production processes required by companies. She conducts two standards courses established by IPC — the Association Connecting Electronics Industry, formerly known as the Institute of Printed Circuits.
RIT provides numerous academic support services and workforce training programs for local veterans from its recognition as a Yellow Ribbon and Veterans Benefits partner to its most recent program, Upward Bound.
Visit to read more about Rita Thomas.
Contact Michelle Cometa at (585) 475-4954 or for more information.