January 11, 2016

International Paper Company and Century College have been awarded a $346,717 grant to “think inside the box” and develop a unique training program that delivers high-tech manufacturing and work skills training for employees.

The Minnesota Jobs Skills Partnership (MJSP) has awarded $346,717 to International Paper to work with Century College on innovative technical and skills training for their employees. The program is called Thinking Inside the Corrugated Box and it will provide a targeted job-skills training program for existing International Paper Company employees. The project will not only address the current industry-wide shortage of highly-skilled manufacturing workers but also enable International Paper to remain a competitive market force and to thrive as a significant regional employer in coming years.

Century College’s President Patrick Opatz says, “We are pleased to have this opportunity to work directly with International Paper to provide innovative and high-tech workforce training for existing employees.” Opatz also stated, “In addition, it enables Century College to continue to build its curriculum to address future educational needs for the manufacturing industry.”

International Paper (IP) is a global leader in packaging and paper production with manufacturing operations in North America, Europe, Latin America, Russia, Asia, and North Africa. The Thinking Inside the Corrugated Box program will train employees at four of the seven IP facilities in Minnesota including Arden Hills, White Bear Lake, Fridley and Minneapolis. The grant will provide training for maintenance technicians, machine operators and supervisors to increase their knowledge and skills in operating, maintaining, and troubleshooting the high-tech equipment involved in today’s industrial-packaging production processes.

The grant was awarded in November 2015 and the project will continue through October 2017. A total of 297 International Paper Company employees will benefit from this training partnership.

The Minnesota Jobs Skills Partnership program works strategically with businesses and educational institutions to train or retrain workers, expand work opportunities, and keep high-quality jobs in the state.