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Manufacturing Day Highlights Career Training

Categories: Industry Insights
career training
Pictured: Domtar gives $100,000 to help fund the Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Technology and Apprenticeship Center at Mid-State Technical College in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

Manufacturing Day shines a spotlight on career opportunities for creators of all kinds and the manufacturing education programs that can help them succeed. This annual event, sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturing, brings attention to career training and job openings for young people considering a future in manufacturing.

One example at Domtar is the work our Nekoosa Mill does with Mid-State Technical College to offer students career training in a variety of areas.

Earlier this year, Domtar made a $100,000 donation to help fund the school’s Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Technology and Apprenticeship Center in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

The new 50,000 square-foot facility is planned to open in late 2023 or early 2024. It is expected to provide career training to more than 1,500 people per year. The center will offer advanced programming to traditional technical college students and high school students, incumbent worker training, and new equipment and technology advancement demonstrations.

“Domtar is proud to invest in our current and future workforce alongside Mid-State Technical College,” says Mill Manager Jason McCauley. “Building skills for 21st-century manufacturing will help our company, our industry and our communities thrive well into the future. We are excited to see how this high-level career training will expand opportunities for students and current workers across our region.”

“Domtar’s generous contribution to the Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Technology and Apprenticeship Center project is the perfect example of community-serving organizations collaborating to secure the vitality of central Wisconsin today and well into the future,” says Bobbi Damrow, AMETA Center campaign manager and Mid-State’s vice president of workforce development and community relations. “This project will serve to provide education and training for a number of high-demand occupations, creating a strong pipeline of relevant, skilled talent with opportunities for excellent, family-sustaining careers in the area.”

Several Mid-State students today are offered multi-year apprenticeships at our Nekoosa Mill following career training. After that, they have an opportunity to be hired full-time.

“Many of our current maintenance apprentices have received either the Automation and Instrumentation degree or the Industrial Mechanical Technician degree,” says Tom Hintz, a maintenance planner at the mill. “The apprenticeship program helps them apply what is taught in the classroom and solidifies the skills necessary to be successful in their trades.”

Hintz says it’s valuable to apprentices to be exposed to a wide variety of equipment throughout the mill and to learn from experienced tradesmen.

Andrew Melvin, a journeyman millwright at Nekoosa, recently completed the apprenticeship program from Mid-State and worked as a summer intern at the mill, where he received valuable career training. He says learning on the job has given him more confidence and everyday skills.

“Troubleshooting and being resourceful with challenging tasks throughout the workday has been interesting,” he says. “It’s been helpful to learn that not knowing everything is normal, but knowing where to find the answer is valuable.”

Melvin says he would like to work in trades for the next few years and then move into a related career that utilizes his skills.

Domtar is proud to support young people in their pursuit of manufacturing careers and related career training. Here are a few other events and programs our facilities are sponsoring during this month’s focus on manufacturing:

  • Nekoosa is hosting two groups of the North Central Wisconsin Heavy Metal Bus Tour on Oct. 5, which provides eighth-grade students from across central and northern Wisconsin firsthand experience with manufacturing facilities.
  • Our Rock Hill (S.C) converting facility is hosting students from the Applied Technology Center, which serves high school students interested in careers in trades, for a tour and lunch on Oct. 12.
  • Our EAM facility in Jesup, Georgia is hosting a work-based learning class from Wayne County High School on Oct. 13.
  • The Johnsonburg Mill in Pennsylvania will host a group of 15 students from a local high school on Oct. 26.
  • Our Hawesville Mill is hosting more than 100 ninth-graders from Hancock County High School on Oct. 27 to see the woodyard and paper machine and hear from an electrician, mechanic, supervisor and engineer.