WHMA/IPC Provides Online Training Course for Wire Harness Assembly Operators
Responding to industry demand and member feedback, WHMA/IPC created the Wire Harness Assembly for Operators (WHO) course to address the skills gap in the wire harness industry. A recent IPC study on the skills gap in U.S. electronics manufacturing revealed that two-thirds of companies have difficulty finding skilled production workers. The cable and wire harness manufacturing industry is in a comparable situation. Companies cannot expand, innovate, or take advantage of new ideas. Employees cannot grow and learn to become an integral part of their industry.
The Wiring Harness Manufacturer’s Association is dedicated to advancing the cable and wire harness manufacturing industry. Staying true to their main goals, LEAD, EDUCATE, and CONNECT, WHMA/IPC is launching this training course to overcome the challenges posed by the skills gap while simultaneously providing opportunities for employees to build skills and develop their career.
Effectively trained employees help employers:
- Reduce turnover
- Improve customer satisfaction
- Meet and beat production, performance, and profitability goals
- Plan for the future with greater accuracy
The WHO training course will give each participant the ability to identify and use the key tools, materials, and processes that wire harness operators need to reliably assemble quality harnesses. The program is composed of 14 modules. The first seven modules are mandatory and cover subject areas the industry determined are critical for every wire harness operator. The second set of seven modules are optional and include more detailed information about specific job related functions . Students that complete the mandatory modules and at least one of the optional modules earn an IPC certificate that identifies them as a Qualified IPC Wire Harness Operator. These certificates are serialized with a unique ID number that can be utilized for validation and are valid for a two year period.
- Introduction to Wire Harness Assembly
- Engineering Documentation
- Materials and Components
- Tools and Equipment
- Wire Preparation and Processing
- Inspection and Testing
- Crimp Terminations
- Soldered Terminations
- Connector Assembly
- Coaxial Cable
- Labeling, Securing and Covering
- Finished Assembly Installation
The WHO program’s modular structure allows organizations to implement the course to suit their needs. For example, they can opt to have their team members complete all 14 modules or opt to have them complete the first seven and only those optional modules that relate directly to their specific job role. Since each block of seven modules requires an average of 12–16 hours to complete, the maximum duration of the course does not exceed one week.
The IPC Education team worked closely with a volunteer group of industry subject-matter experts to ensure that each topic is aligned with the skills and competencies vital to a wire harness assembly operator. Moreover, each module contains meaningful opportunities for students to actively engage with the content and apply what they learned in real-world contexts. The program’s carefully curated video presentations, detailed illustrations, interactive activities, and practice quizzes are all formulated to make even the most complex topics easy-to-understand and master.
The WHO program is currently in Beta testing, a trial run with representative users who provide valuable feedback on the accuracy and efficacy of the program. “Beta tests allow us to address any issues and ensure that the program meets the needs identified by industry stakeholders before it is released to the wider public,” said Carlos Plaza, Sr. Director of Education Development at IPC. So far, the response has been very positive. One WHMA/IPC member who is beta-testing the course states, “Explanations and examples used in the WHO Program are relative to daily life”.
Other comments from WHMA/IPC members in the beta-version stated, “I really like the safety module that you have added. This is a great thing for employees that are just getting into the wire harness business and I believe that this is very helpful”, “Excellent Content. Great explanations of each block on an assembly drawing, great interaction with students” and “I have been working with wire harnesses for 3.5 years and this video was extremely informative and taught me things I didn’t know. The info is very useful and answered questions I’ve had but couldn’t get answered.”
The WHO program is planned for release in March/April 2021. It will be available 24/7 via the IPC EDGE learning management system in both self-paced and instructor-led formats. Self-paced courses can be completed independently from any device with an internet connection. The instructor-led format allows instructors to stream the course to their students from any connected device. Students in instructor-led courses will also access the IPC EDGE online platform to complete exercises and assessments. In either format, organization instructors may track student progress through the IPC EDGE platform.