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Domtar Encourages Young Professionals to Seek Manufacturing Jobs

Categories: Industry Insights
Domtar leaders encourage young professionals to look for manufacturing jobs in our industry

The annual celebration of Manufacturing Day in October has heightened importance this year as companies look to fill thousands of manufacturing jobs.

In our industry, a number of Domtar leaders joined peers from across the United States at TAPPICon, the Technical Association of the Pulp & Paper Industry’s annual conference and trade show. A central theme for this year’s event was the importance of attracting, developing and retaining young professionals in manufacturing jobs.

Nekoosa Mill Manager Kurt Mehlberg and Plymouth Mill Fiberline Superintendent John Edwards took part in an opening-day session at the event to offer their perspectives on ensuring a steady pipeline of emerging leaders in manufacturing.

How Can Leaders Help Young Professionals Succeed?

“In my experience, the best way to help a young professional grow and succeed starts with pairing them with good leadership who can mentor and get them invested in the organization’s success,” Mehlberg says.

According to a July 2020 survey conducted by TAPPI, interesting and meaningful work and long-term growth are among the top things young professionals look for in manufacturing job opportunities. That includes giving entry-level employees meaningful assignments such as roles on project teams so they can feel good about the work they accomplish. Employees feel most engaged when they’re contributing and the work they’re doing makes an impact.

There are many ways to grow and make a difference at Domtar, Mehlberg says. “If you’re a high performer at a mill, there will surely be opportunities for you to grow in our mills or even in a corporate position supporting the mill system.”

How Can Young Professionals Position Themselves for Success?

To succeed in a wide range of manufacturing jobs, workers should make themselves more visible. Volunteer for projects or extra assignments, and share your long-term career goals.

Rick McAtee, senior vice president of human resources, says communication between employees and leaders is a key component of our talent acquisition and retention strategy.

“We want our people to feel engaged and linked to the business,” he says. “We’re always evaluating our organization to ensure we have the right people in the right roles to help them grow and succeed. To do that, we rely on frequent input and feedback from leaders and employees at all levels.”

Look for Manufacturing Jobs

The TAPPI conference comes on the heels of the Oct. 1 observance of MFG Day — NAM’s annual opportunity to inspire the next generation about modern manufacturing jobs. Over the next decade, 4 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled in the United States, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.

Since 2012, Manufacturing Day has helped students discover financially rewarding job opportunities by giving the future workforce the tools they need to kickstart their career.

If you’re a hands-on learner who likes being part of a team without having to work at a desk, a manufacturing job might be perfect for you. Experience in manufacturing looks great on a resume, and the opportunities for long-term growth are plentiful.

“At Domtar, the complexity of our mill network offers a wide range of opportunities that can set entry-level employees up for long-term success,” Mehlberg says. “Knowing they are playing an important role in creating products people use every day while also having a direct impact on Domtar’s bottom line success is a big point of pride for our employees.”