UWO researchers gather feedback for comprehensive study of Wisconsin paper industry

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Meetings with stakeholders are underway for a comprehensive study on Wisconsin paper industry workforce development. The research, funded by WiSys Ignite! Program, is a collaborative effort between the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Research and Custom Services Center and the Wisconsin Paper Council.

The first stakeholder meeting took place on June 24 at UWO’s Sage Hall. Executives from the region’s paper industry gathered to discuss the workforce, sustainability and innovation issues facing the industry and possible solutions.

Andrew Leavitt

The event began with a welcome from UWO Chancellor Andrew Leavitt, followed by a summary of the project and progress to date by Jeff Sachse, Acting Director of CCT, and Stacey Johnson, Vice- president of forestry, transportation and labor relations for the Wisconsin Paper Council.

The stakeholder group also took part in a facilitated conversation regarding their challenges and ideas in the paper industry. Important ideas and comments from the first stakeholder meeting will be included in a final report in the fall.

“The first stakeholder session confirmed much of our research regarding the importance of engaging students and raising awareness of sustainability opportunities and efforts across the industry,” said Sachse.

Two more stakeholder meetings will take place this summer: August 31 at MidState Technical College in Steven’s Point; and September 14 held at Packaging Corporation of America in Tomahawk.

“Our next two listening sessions will take us to other industry hubs and learn about the unique challenges facing businesses and our education partners in central and northern Wisconsin. This is all the more important as we know that the paper industry needs to speak with a statewide voice, ”said Sasche.

In addition to stakeholder meetings, the research project also involves collecting data from the paper industry on workforce challenges. Wisconsin paper industry and supply chain companies are encouraged to complete the survey at http://uwo.sh/wpc-survey.

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