KapStone Paper & Packaging, known for its commitment to effective use of resources, took the proactive steps to grow its own industrial maintenance workforce with the help of planning and advisory experts from Clark College’s Customized Learning – Southwest Washington’s go-to business training and employee development provider.
In the early 2010’s, in anticipation of its future business needs, the leadership team at KapStone, in Longview, WA, took a long look at its then-current industrial maintenance work force.
With a company culture of innovation and continuous improvement, it was obvious that an emerging trend would demand thoughtful consideration.
KapStone, a national industry leader in unbleached paper and corrugated packaging that supplies the Pacific Northwest, identified a future challenge: a lack of qualified, skilled industrial maintenance workers coming up through the labor force to bridge the skills gap when older workers begin retiring a few years down the road.
How, then, would the pulp and paper company mitigate the issue and develop a plan to ensure that a qualified and skilled labor force is available to meet future needs?
Clark’s Customized Learning staff created a special four-year program for KapStone’s proprietary processes that trains current workers through a customized apprenticeship program designed to help employees reach their full potential. ECD’s Customized Learning department developed and delivered a two-year training program at the college and onsite, through practice and hands-on learning that reinforced the classroom lessons, with journeymen in the plant.
Customized Learning worked with KapStone to develop the custom training program for industrial maintenance apprentices – including millwrights, electricians, and pipe fitters, who maintain highly specialized and proprietary equipment. Customized Learning identified the necessary technical skills for KapStone employees a granting access to the college’s state-of-the-art labs for hands-on skill development. Facilities and college expertise enabled Clark to serve Kapstone's needs in ways other training providers could not. As a result, workers that trained in Clark’s Customized Learning program tested at a higher rate of proficiency in certain areas than some existing journeymen.