In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Corrugated Packaging Foundation (ICPF) has taken its ongoing Student /Executive Dialogue Dinner Series to a virtual platform. The first ICPF virtual dialogue dinner was conducted on December 16, 2020, when more than 35 students from 10 universities across the country — with education and interest in packaging engineering & production, sales, packaging design, graphic design, chemical engineering, supply chain management and related fields — participated. The students were joined by corrugated packaging executives from five ICPF corporate partners that included Green Bay Packaging, Hood Container Corporation, Packaging Corporation of America (PCA), Pratt Industries and WestRock.
ICPF’s dialogue dinners are directed towards enabling top students, who already have interest in corrugated packaging, to learn more about the industry and its operations. Many of the participating students in each of the eight past years were recruited for internships and full time positions through the company contacts they made during the dialogues and through referral to ICPF’s Career Portal. For those ICPF Corporate Partners that have not posted 2021 openings, it’s not too late. Over 100 additional student and upcoming graduate resumes are posted on the portal, as well.
ICPF’s Virtual Student/Executive Dialogue Dinner series is one of several new programs initiated by ICPF to expand its outreach during COVID-19. In early 2020, ICPF worked with colleges and universities to assist them in utilizing ICPF’s online corrugated packaging curricula as campuses around the country adjusted to set up distance learning capability. Additionally, ICPF reached out to Arden and Esko to develop the capability for students to access design software remotely. Licensing previously required students to utilize Impact and Artios software directly from the computers located in the design labs on each campus.
This past summer, ICPF established a student advisory board that meets up to twice a month. The student advisors have provided valued input on the establishment of the virtual dialogue dinners and plans for converting ICPF’s annual Teleconference on the Business of Corrugated Packaging & Displays Careers to a virtual format later this quarter. Over 500 students from 20 campuses have participated in the teleconference annually.
The student advisory board has also been helpful in this year’s expansion of ICPF’s program to identify and recruit ICPF student representatives on each university campus. Members assisted in ICPF’s launch of a new industry mentoring program for students who are seeking internships and full time positions due to the earlier reduction in the industry’s 2020 openings because of COVID-19.
Most recently, ICPF’s new student program manager intern worked to identify available 2020 – 2021 scholarships for packaging students whose families may have been financially impacted by COVID-19. This work prompted several scholarship programs to provide additional funding to reopen or extend application deadlines.
Visit www.careersincorrugated.org for more information on these and other ICPF programs.