ICPF to Invest More Heavily in Education
Education is one of the keys to attracting talent to the corrugated packaging industry. For years, the International Corrugated Packaging Foundation (ICPF) has worked with colleges and universities to advance student and faculty knowledge of the corrugated packaging industry.
I’ve been working in the new year to cement this foundation pillar by reaching out to our university contacts. I’m hoping to nurture current relationships and partnerships and get feedback on how to strengthen our industry’s messaging to students. I’ve provided information on current programs offered by ICPF including the online corrugated curricula which teaches students about our industry, the career portal which is a great resource for internships/jobs in the industry, and our newly active social media accounts on LinkedIn and Instagram.
ICPF is also still working to place equipment, software and other resources at these institutions to produce the best education possible for students interested in careers in our industry. Just recently, ICPF helped the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Packaging Engineering Program acquire a Kongsberg X24 prototyping table. The table will help add many hands-on learning opportunities for UF/IFAS Packaging Engineering students.
While these efforts are important, expansion is key to making a difference when it comes to industry recruitment. That’s why ICPF will focus over the coming years to improve industry education at two-year colleges and trade schools, high schools and even at the middle school level.
Many of you have already started on your own – connecting with young adults, introducing them to our industry and encouraging them to pursue careers with us.
This past November, Innovative Fiber and Independence Corrugated hosted a group of fifteen aspiring high school engineers. They took the students on tours of both facilities, provided lunch and sponsored a competition for the group to design and construct a boat out of corrugated that needed to float in a swimming pool. Watch a video of the competition here. It was so successful that the school has asked for it to be a yearly event for the students.
Another great example is the work being done by current AICC Chairwoman Jana Harris. Her passion is education and she’s active with her local university, The University of Texas at Arlington, both as a member of the advisory board and volunteer for competitions. She is also starting a partnership with a local high school STEM program and has included ICPF in all these discussions.
Through the work of Jana, Innovative Fiber, Independence Corrugated and others like them, ICPF can create recruitment templates and case studies to be available for use by all industry companies. ICPF can also provide additional resources like videos, fact sheets and testimonials to aid in conversations and promote a unified message about the many benefits and opportunities associated with choosing a career in corrugated packaging.
ICPF will continue to keep you updated on our expanded education efforts. Please reach out if we can assist you.